THE KINGS SURRENDER
Awards: Filmkunstpreis Sachsen-Anhalt (Best Feature Film), Narrative Feature Jury Award at the Austin Film Festival, MFG-Star at FernsehfilmFestival Baden-Baden, Bayerischer Filmpreis for DOP Christian Stangassinger
Festivals (selection): Filmfest Munich, Filmkunsttage Sachsen-Anhalt, Filmkunstmesse Leipzig, FernsehfilmFestival Baden-Baden, Torino Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, KINO! Festival of German Films in NYC, Berlin & Beyond Film Festival in San Francisco
Writer/Director: Philipp Leinemann
Co-produced by: ZDF/ARTE
On a grey, anonymous, housing estate, a SWAT team moves in. Highly trained professionals, this should be routine. But it turns out otherwise: an officer is shot and the perpetrator escapes. For team leaders Kevin (36) and Mendes (38), it's a new highpoint in the ever increasing violence they have been facing in recent years. Worse, they have an 'enemy' within their own ranks: the interior ministry is planning to cut several units in cost-saving measures. This latest fiasco means Kevin, Mendes and their colleagues are now under special obeservation: perform or pack up! Things then go from worse to worst when, duing the investigation, two colleagues from Mendes' unit are shot dead and a service weapon disappears. It is Vladec (13) who finds the missing weapon, by chance. Not only young, he's a regular victim of the bigger boys on the estate and a secret admirer of Thorsten (27), who enjoys a 'mentor' role amongst his friends. Vladec's secret dream is to replace Thorsten's best friend, Ioannis (25). Vladec espies his opportunity and, stealing money from his father's supermarket, pins the blame on Ioannis. The police investigating the robbery find the missing gun in Ioannis' locker, hidden there by Vladec. Mendes' team pick up Ioannis before the official investigation has concluded. Panic stricken, he jumps into a river. The team, believing he's drowned, hush it up. But the first doubts appear and whilst Mendes puts his unit's survival above all else, Kevin is shocked at his recklessness. The cracks widen. Meanwhile Thorstens' clique is looking for their friend, suspecting a couple of rival youths are to blame. Just like the SEK unit, the clique begins to spin out of control. As mutual suspicions grow and fly as to who killed Ioannis, the estate threatens to explode. Just when Kevin discovers Ioannis is innocent, the latter reappears and a race against time begins...