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Marija, a young Ukrainian woman, earns her living as a hotel maid in Dortmund, but dreams of owning her own hair salon. She puts money aside each month, but when she is fired without notice, her dream seems out of reach. Without work and under financial pressure, she finds herself forced to look for other opportunities. Her body, her social relationships and her own feelings take a secondary importance to her goal.

Michael Koch's feature film debut is the portrait of a young woman who lives on the periphery of our production and consumer-oriented society, but does not accept the ascribed role of the victim. Demanding, determined and uncompromising, she fights to live a freer, self-determined life.

Michael Koch was born in 1982 in Lucerne/Switzerland. He studied at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and also worked as an actor. During this time he made the following short films: WIR SIND DIR TREU (WE ARE THE FAITHFUL, 2005), BECKENRAND (2006) and POLAR (2008). All three films were very successful at international festivals and won numerous awards. POLAR received a Special Mention at the Berlin International Film Festival, the German Camera Award, as well as the German Short Film Award 2009. After his studies he worked as a director for the theater Kaserne Basel. Michael Koch celebrates the world premiere of his feature film debut MARIJA (2016) in the International Competition at the 69th Locarno Film Festival.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2016
Director Michael Koch
Screenplay Michael Koch, Juliane Großheim
Cinematography Bernhard Keller
Cast Margarita Breitkreiz, Georg Friedrich, Sahin Eryilmaz, Olga Dinnikova
Producers Christoph Friedel, Claudia Steffen
Co-Producers Christof Neracher, Tom Spieß
Production Company Pandora Film Produktion, in co-production with Hugofilm Productions, Little Shark Entertainment/Cologne, in cooperation with WDR, ARTE, SRF/Zurich
Length 100 min
Format DCP, color, 1:1.85
Original Version
 German, Russian
Subtitled Versions English, French
Sound Technology 5.1
Festivals Locarno 2016 (International Competition), Toronto 2016, Valladolid 2016, Göteborg 2017, Angers 2017, Bengaluru 2017, Cairo 2017
Awards Ecumenical Prize (Special Mention) & Environment is Quality of Life Prize Locarno 2016, Mademoiselle Ladubay Award to Margarita Breitkreiz & Jean Carmet Award to Georg Friedrich Angers 2017
With backing from BKM, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, German Federal Film Board, German Federal Film Fund, MEDIA, Bundesamt für Kultur (EDI), Zürcher Filmstiftung, Fachausschuss Audiovision und Multimedia BS/BL
German Distributor Real Fiction Filmverleih/Cologne

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