Depth of field

Directors: Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet / 14:30 min. / 2017 / German (ST: English) / Germany


With its image axis repeatedly tilting and tipping out of frame, DEPTH OF FIELD examines three places in the German city of Nuremberg haunted by and struggling against the memory of racist murders committed there by a far-right terrorist group between 2000 and 2005.

Script / Directing / Sound / Montage / Production: Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet
Director of Photography: Jenny Lou Ziegel

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A flower stand, a tailor shop, a snack car: three places in the German city of Nuremberg that became crime scenes when the “National Socialist Underground” (NSU), a far-right terrorist group, murdered three independent business owners with migrant backgrounds between 2000 and 2005. These three places struggle with memory and shock, as they become the windows into a city whose axis repeatedly tilts and tips out of frame.

The camera, using a tripod head with a 360 degree pan and tilt range, orbits as it observes the abysmal depth of these racially motivated crimes, contextualizing the scenes of the crimes in terms of their surroundings, and showing how they are used and re-used today. The off-screen commentary describes ordinary scenes and encounters, interweaving them with compressed fragments of information from racist media coverage and murder investigations. These investigations were without exception directed against the victims themselves and their family members, ignoring hints and statements by the witnesses suggesting white and presumably racist perpetrators. The investigating authorities began to face criticism only after it was confirmed that the NSU had committed at least ten murders and three bombing attacks in seven German cities between 1998 and 2011. The circumstances of these crimes still remain unresolved.

The film traces the shocks of these attacks by examining the places as witnesses in their own right.

Script / Directing / Sound / Montage Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet
Director of Photography Jenny Lou Ziegel
Narrator Göksen Güntel
Color Correction/Mastering Sebas Voice Recording / Sound-Mix wave-line Berlin
Translation Melanie Brazzell
Producer Mareike Bernien & Alex Gerbaulet
A commission by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin

Length 14:30 mins
Format DCP and ProRes file (German/Turkish with English subtitles), 16:9, color, stereo

Alex Gerbaulet / gerbaulet(at)
Mareike Bernien / mareikebernien(at)

Mareike Bernien lives in Berlin and works as an artist between performative film, sound and text. Her works take a media-archaeological approach to scrutinise the ideological certainties of representation, their material-technological requirements and historical continuities. Her latest films include: DEPTH OF FIELD (2016/17) together with Alex Gerbaulet; RAINBOW`S GRAVITY (2014), RED SHE SAID (2011) both together with Kerstin Schroedinger. She is currently teaching theory and practice of visual communications at the Kunsthochschule Kassel, Germany.

Alex Gerbaulet, * 1977, artist, filmmaker and curator, based in Berlin.
Between 2000 and 2007 she studied Philosophy, Media Science and Fine Arts in Braunschweig (Germany) and Vienna. In 2008 she was awarded a scholarship from the Hans-Böckler-Foundation, in 2011 she was selected for Berlinale Talent Campus DOK Station, in 2012 she received a scholarship from the Mayor of Berlin (program for women artists) and in 2014 a grant from Art- und Culture-Foundation Stade (Germany).

Between 2006 and 2011 she was a member of the Selection Committee of the Documentary Film- and Video-Festival in Kassel (Germany); 2012 and 2013 member of the Selection Committee of the European Media Art Festival (EMAF) in Osnabrück (Germany).

From 2007-2011 she was staff member at the University of Arts in Braunschweig, 2012-2014 she tought at the University of Arts in Kassel. 2017 she was a mentor in the Short Film Station of Berlinale Talents. Since 2014 she works as a producer with Pong Film GmbH in Berlin.

For her artwork the notion of documentarism gives an important impact. She has made several video-art projects among them BY LAND (2002), DATTERODE (2006), TATTOOED PRISONERS (2007) and ALREADY AFTERNOON (2009) in the art context. SCHICHT (SHIFT, 2015) was her first film specially for the cinema space. It was shown worldwide at festivals and received many awards a.o. the prize for the best contribution to the German Competition at the International Short Film Fest Oberhausen (2015), the First Film Award at FID Marseille (2015), the German Film Critics Award (2015) and Best Female Director at the Vienna Independent Shorts Festival (2016).

Her recent short film “Depth of Field” is her first collaboration with artist and filmmaker Mareike Bernien. It premiered as an installation at the festival “The Aesthetics of Resistance – Peter Weiss 100” at HAU Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin.

– nominated for the ‘Golden Key’ prize / DOK Fest Kassel, GER
– awarded with the 2nd film prize of the Münzenberg Forum Berlin, GER
– awarded with the Max-Bresele-Memory-Award of the International Short Film Week Regensburg, GER
awarded with the ‘Action Gender’ prize of the blicke Filmfest Bochum, GER

FESTIVALS (selection)
– International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany
– International Short Film Festival Hamburg, Germany
– Moscow International Experimental Film Fes<val, Russia
– ARKIPEL Jakarta International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Indonesia
– Belo Horizonte Interna – interfilm Festival Berlin, Germany
– FILMMAKER Festival Internazionale di Cinema Milano
– VIS – Vienna Shorts Festival, Austria
– European Media Art Film Festival Osnabrück, Germany