About the film

  • The Idea
  • The film-maker and producers
  • The Interviewpartner
  • 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


    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