About the film

The Idea

When it finally became clear that we, the KinderRÄchTsZÄnker (a group of young people campaigning for children's rights) were going to undertake the costly task of organising IDEC 2005, we got an exciting idea. It occurred to us that this conference would offer a good and what is more extremely rare opportunity to tell the German public in documentary format about the worldwide alternatives to the current national school routine.

We were able to start from the fact that several hundred people from all over the world, experts in the area of "democratic education", were going to meet in Berlin in the summer of 2005. R Kahl's film, "Hothouses of the future", had aroused much interest at the end of 2003 and we were already busy producing the documentary film, "Pretty Cool System", which has since been issued, so we became more confident that a film like "Democratic Schools" would attract wide attention.

However, we still had to decide what we actually wanted to achieve with a film like this. It soon became obvious to us that our target audience should not be those who were already experts in the politics of education. The idea emerged that we should produce a film that would try to show, as factually and objectively as possible, what unites these schools that assemble once a year under the visionary banner of democracy.

After a long process of selection we decided to have this project produced by the award-winning film-maker, Jan Gabbert. The fact that the costs for this are to be assumed by the National Ministry for Education and Research also gives us good reason to hope that this film will appeal to a wide public.

The film-maker and producer

Jan Gabbert

Jan Gabbert makes films, organises festivals and lives in Potsdam. In 2004 he won the documentary prize at the 46th Northern Film Festival in Lübeck with the film he made for his final diploma, "Rotweinrock und Lammfellmantel" (52 min, Doc). Up until 2004 he studied European Media Science at the University of Potsdam, the Potsdam FH and the Konrad Wolf HFF. Since 2004 he has organised and managed the EMERGE AND SEE festival of short films which has regular presentations in London, Berlin and Budapest. Since 2005 he has been studying for a master's degree in Arts and Media Administration at the Berlin FU.

Further information at www.jan-gabbert.de

Ellen Stein

At present Ellen Stein is living and working in Potsdam as a freelance designer. Her main work is in illustration and animation. In 2004 she rounded off her study in communication design at the Potsdam FH with a folio of work called "Cosmonaut meets astronaut meets taikonaut" Animation films from this folio have already been shown at many festivals, for example in Germany, France, Great Britain and Hungary. Some of her work in illustration will be shown at an exhibition to be held shortly in Czestochowa, Poland.

Further information at www.buchstabenschubser.de

Executive Producer

Clementina Hegewisch, Nextfilm
Further information www.nextfilm.de

Produced by

Mike Weimann, K.R.Ä.T.Z.Ä., Netzwerk Spiel/Kultur Prenzlauer Berg e.V.
Further information www.kraetzae.de www.netzwerkspielkultur.de

Director of Photography

Miriam Tröscher

Animation und Title Design

Ellen Stein
Further information www.buchstabenschubser.de

Location Sound, Sound Editing and Music

Uwe Bossenz

Sound Design Animation and Re-Recording Mixer

Jacob Ilgner

Colour Matching

Nico Roicke

Interview partners

Kim Edwards

English Student Secondary Association UK

Claudia Freeman

Ex-student Sands School UK

Jostein Strømmen

Nyskolen i Oslo Norway

Mikel Matisoo

Sudbury Valley School USA

Or Levi

Ex-student Democratic School of K’far Sava Israel

Zoë Readhead

Principal Summerhill School UK

Ella Wagner

Student SchülerInnenschule Austria

Matt Matthew

Student Sands School UK

Althea Allen

Student Village School USA

Meghan Carrico

Staff Windsor House School Canada

Uwe Hartung

Staff Sudbury-Schule Halle-Leipzig e.V. Germany

Maíra Landulpho Alves Lopes

Staff Escola Internacional Lumiar Brasil

David Gribble

Founder Sands School UK

Gail Thomas

Professor Soka University of America

Martin Roberts

Staff Sands School UK

Dr. Gerhard Huhn

Management consultant and Expert for applied Brain Research Germany

Michael Sappir

Student Jerusalem Democratic School Israel

Anjo Snijders

Staff De Ruimte Netherlands