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Losers and Winners

Losers and Winners
Scene from "Losers and Winners" (photo © filmproduktion loekenfranke)

In the center of the Ruhr Area, one of Germany’s key industrial regions, the famous “heartbeat of steel” has gone silent. A few years after the hypermodern coke plant at Kaiserstuhl, built at a cost of 650 million Euro, was shut down, 400 Chinese workers start breaking it down into manageable parts to ship them back to their homeland: disassembly in the West – reassembly in the Far East. Where up to 800 people used to work, the last 30 German employees are now supervising the so-called Shutdown Department. Communication between the two groups is difficult. Highly motivated people from a low-wage country come face-to-face with financially better-off workers in an industrialized nation who are now suddenly bereft of future prospects. For 18 months, filmmakers Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken watched as a gigantic industrial site was dismantled, documenting the stories that accompanied its disappearance: The working tools favored by the Germans are rules for safety and environmental protection - just the things the newcomers like to ignore. While the Chinese work 60-hours a week far away from home and family, the “old foreigners” are hardly present at the site for more than eight hours at a time. Two worlds collide. Who is ultimately the winner and who the loser when a whole region of Germany experiences first-hand the impact of globalization, while in the Middle Empire new visions come and go with each passing day?
Genre Environment/Ecology, Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2006
Directors Michael Loeken, Ulrike Franke
Screenplay Ulrike Franke, Michael Loeken
Cinematography Michael Loeken, Ruediger Spott
Guido Krajewski
Maceij Sledziecki
Producers Michael Loeken, Ulrike Franke
Production Company filmproduktion loekenfranke/Cologne, in co-production with WDR, ARTE, Goethe-Institut/Munich
Runtime 96 min
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Leipzig 2006, Duisburg 2006, Luenen 2006, Worldfest Houston 2007, Hot Docs Toronto 2007, It's All True Sao Paulo 2007, Chicago Documentary Festival 2007, One World Prague 2007, Vancouver 2007, DOCNZ 2007, Watch Docs Warsaw 2008, Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival 2008, SIEFF Nuoro 2008
Awards Special Mention Sao Paulo 2007, Chicago Doc Grand Prix 2007, Best International Feature Documentary Hot Docs Toronto 2007, Gold Remi Houston 2007, Best Film SIEFF Nuoro 2008
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
German Distributor filmproduktion loekenfranke/Cologne

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