The Cologne district of Ehrenfeld is changing: creative workshops and small designer stores are reviving once bleak corners, Germany’s largest mosque awaits its opening, brownfield sites such as the industrial area of the Helios site are being repurposed. How do the young people see their neighbourhood? What do they expect and hope for? In the media project My Ehrenfeld – Our Future, they turned their ideas into short films. Guided by the Cologne film-maker Anna Ditges and other film professionals, six groups of Ehrenfeld’s young people aged between 14 and 18 have generated six short films – from the idea to planning, production preparation, shooting and editing to the six finished mini films.
“Much of the film’s considerable charm comes from the maker’s idea of including even the most beautiful glitches and the most irritating bickering during the workshops, the stalling and the stuttering, scooters driving through the frame and overly loud birdsong during the shoot – and lots of discussions.” Kölnische Rundschau
BOOK | DIRECTION | MONTAGE | PRODUCTION
Ora et labora – The Pöppelmann Enterprise
Mid-market enterprises are classed as a guarantor of stability and future. The companies themselves, however, are not traded on the stock exchange, are not present in the media and keep their business practices within their small circle of insiders.
Ora et labora – The Pöppelmann Enterprise portraits one of Germany’s many mid-market companies. Simultaneously representative and personal, the film tells the story of the Pöppelmann enterprise, marked by successes and setbacks: of the tireless commitment of the founding family during the ‘economic miracle’ years and their faith in god that still determines everyday life in the company today.
Holy water on plastic injection moulding machines, panaceas from god’s pharmacy, fasting cures, and the Lord’s Prayer for the executives … Ora et labora – The Pöppelmann Enterprise is an unusual documentary film about an unusual family business. In vivid images and conversations, Anna Ditges reveals insights into the everyday life and self-perception of the people who have committed themselves to the Catholic Pöppelmann enterprise. And it is clear: the founding family has paid a high price for the success of the company.
Enterprise portrait | 2011 | 62 min | punktfilm Anna Ditges
“Ora et labora never comes across as ingratiating […] Instead, that wonder of the first encounter permeates the film.”
Konstantin Adamopoulos, art journalist
BOOK | DIRECTION | CAMERA | SOUND | MONTAGE | PRODUCTION
I want you - Meeting Hide Domin
I want you - Meeting Hide Domin is a personal and direct documentary film about the life and work of the poetess Hilde Domin – shot by a film-maker almost 70 years her junior: Anna Ditges and her camera accompanied the Grande Dame of German post-war literature during the last two years of her long and eventful life.
A young film-maker discovers Hilde Domin’s lyric poetry and decides to get in touch with the celebrated poetess. In doing so, she encounters an alert, highly unconventional 95-year-old in her apartment full of books, roses and memories – with a life story that mirrors the last century. Hilde Domin, born in 1909, talks openly about her turbulent life: of her childhood in Cologne, of 22 long years spent in exile, her return to Germany and her late career as a writer. For the first time, she speaks in front of the camera about Erwin, the great love of her life, and about her loneliness in old age. Themes, that the film-maker’s unique view captures in expressive images. Anna Ditges, born in 1978, regularly visited Hilde Domin and accompanied the elderly lady in daily life, on her travels and through her memories – for almost two years until the death of Hilde Domin in February 2006. I want you is an intimate and moving film which, in its concentration on the essential, is as precise and straightforward as Hilde Domin’s poetry.
Documentary film | 2007 | 95 min | punktfilm Anna Ditges | WDR | SWR | 3sat | rbb | Film Kino Text Filmverleih | Filmstiftung NRW
“The film is the last important document about the poetess. One comes out of the cinema completely captivated and heads straight for the nearest bookshop.”
BOOK | DIRECTION | CAMERA | SOUND
My Story – Six contemporary witnesses of the Second World War
The writer Annemie was impressed by the Nazi propaganda of her childhood and is still ashamed today of how thoughtlessly and naïvely she believed what was mediated. Günter was a victim of “Arian” discrimination when his mother married a Jewish tax official and developed an antipathy to National Socialism while living with his stepfather. Ewald was a miner in heart and soul, but the mines have closed, and he has been retired since 1985. Christa lost her parents in the war, spent five years of her young life in a labour camp and still suffers today from the traumas of her youth. At the age of 18, Roman was deported to a labour camp from what is now Poland, and subsequently dragged to a concentration camp. Alfons was drafted into the war at the same age and describes experiences such as the Battle of Monte Cassino as the saddest, bitterest, and most senseless thing that ever happened to him.
Documentary series | 2006 | 6 pieces, each 15 min | punktfilm Anna Ditges | Phoenix | WDR
“With six, 15-minute witness interviews from the series My Story, Anna Ditges draws a moving picture of the terrors of the Second World War. Out of the fragments emerges a shared quintessence: an appeal for peace.”
BOOK | DIRECTION | MONTAGE
I am German just like you – A German-Russian family picture
“There is much beauty for my eyes here in Germany”, says Lilia, who left her soul and career behind in Russia. Together with her family, she tries to rediscover in Germany the old homeland she always dreamed of. Two generations between the fronts of the war and three after – the wheel of history continues to turn. The documentary film I am German just like you navigates through the past and present of four women, tells of dreams and everyday life of an extended family whose otherness accompanies them through their various stations in life to present-day Germany.
I am German just like you is Anna Ditges’ final thesis film. It was broadcast in 2003 on WDR. The supervising professors were Horst Königstein and Dietrich Leder. Rita Schwarze was the dramaturgical advisor.
Documentary film | 2002 | 45 min | Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
“With her final thesis film, among others, at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, the young colleague has documented the narrative power she is capable of realising in this remarkable debut.”
Prof. Dr. Horst Königstein
BOOK | DIRECTION | MONTAGE
The dream of the five-storey house – Four women in Honduras
The documentary film The dream of the five-storey house – Four women in Honduras
illuminates women from four different generations, thematising their daily life, their problems, and their dreams. The Mosquitia, the nature reserve where the Tawahka settled, stretches across Honduras and Nicaragua. Officially, it stands under state protection. Nevertheless, the indigenous population is becoming ever more dependent on large landowners and travelling traders. The resulting flux in their traditional way of life leads to a shift in values and standards. The dream of the five-storey house shows how differently the old and young women of Río Patuca deal with the change in their society and how contrarily they value the social and infrastructural change.
Documentary film | 2001 | 60 min | Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
“In this project, one can see Anna Ditges’ talent for observation – here of a foreign way of living – as well as her production energy in carrying out such a project in a foreign country with few resources.”
Prof. Dietrich Leder, KHM Köln
The goal of punktfilm Anna Ditges is to create content-relevant and artistically independent films for television and cinema. At the centre stand cultural, social and political themes which are told personally and authentically by means of individual fates.
Productions by punktfilm Anna Ditges:
When I began shooting my film about Hilde Domin, my budget was practically zero. I therefore decided to do my own camera work and founded my own production company, punktfilm Anna Ditges. I bought an old Opel Kadett for a thousand euros and regularly drove up the Graimbergweg in Heidelberg with the engine smoking. A friend had told me that I could fill the coolant tank with tap water if necessary … Hilde and I went for many happy drives in the white, rusty Opel, which served me faithfully for five years, despite poor care. When I had to accompany it to the scrap yard, I started to cry - even though I had found it so ugly in the beginning. It was the time gone by that Hilde and I had spent in it, and the freedom it had given us, that made me love it.
Das kleine Fernsehspiel ZDF | DEFA | DFFF | 3sat | FFA | Film Kino Text Filmverleih | Film- und Medienstiftung NRW | Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln | Kulturamt der Stadt Köln | LVR | Montag Stiftung | Phoenix | rbb | RheinEnergieStiftung Kultur | Schwarz-Weiss Filmverleih | SWR | WDR
Anna Ditges is a screenplay writer, director and producer. She lives in Cologne. She is a member of the Filmbüro NW and the Verband Deutscher Drehbuchautoren.
2020-2021 Anna Ditges develops her feature film debut Under my skin – the fluid light of the divinity in the context of the mentoring programme Into the Wild. In addition, she hones her directing and performance management skills under Mark Travis in Los Angeles and takes part in his Director’s Lab, a sixteen-week international study programme for selected directors*
2018-2019 Anna Ditges completes the one-year Drehbuchwerkstatt München at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen.
2002-2017 Anna Ditges creates documentaries as an author-producer. I Want You – Meeting Hilde Domin is her multi-award-winning cinematic debut from 2008 which she directs and is also the cinematographer, editor and producer. The documentary film is shown at numerous international film festivals and is viewed by over 33,000 visitors in German arthouse cinemas. In 2015, the second cinema documentary film follows: Who owns the city – Citizens in action is also successful at international festivals, generating a great deal of social debate on the subject of democracy and codetermination.
2009 Anna Ditges receives a stipendiary for a two-month screenplay study course at the New York Film Academy.
2008 Anna Ditges furthers her studies as a producer at the Mediengründerzentrum NRW.
2002 Anna Ditges completes her studies (film/television direction) at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne with a degree in “Audio-visual Media”.
New Talent Award