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THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE is on the Oscar® shortlist


The German Film THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE  by Ilker Çatak (if... Productions Film) is on the shortlist of the last 15 films for the 96th Oscars® in the Best International Feature Film category. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced its decision today, Thursday, December 21, 2023, with the German entry joining 14 other films on the shortlist.

In addition, the following co-productions are among the selection:

Finland: FALLEN LEAVES by Aki Kaurismäki (FI/DE, Pandora Film)
Denmark: THE PROMISED LAND by Nikolaj Arcel (DK/DE/SE, Zentropa International Berlin)
Tunisia: FOUR DAUGHTERS by Kaouther Ben Hania (FR/TN/SA/DE, Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion)


On January 23, 2024, the Academy will reveal which five of the 15 films on the shortlist will be going forward to take part in the competition for the Oscar® in this category. A total of 88 countries submitted their approved films to the race.

In August this year, an independent, nine-member jury selected THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE  from 13 films submitted as the German entry for the Oscar® category Best International Feature Film. German Films is not represented on the selection committee and does not decide on the composition of the committee; this is the responsibility of the associations represented on the committee.


About the film:
The drama THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE centres on Carla Nowak (Leonie Benesch), a young and dedicated sports and math teacher who starts her first job full of idealism. But then there are a series of thefts at her school.

When a Turkish student is accused of thieving, Carla decides to get to the bottom of the matter, but she faces an insoluble dilemma: the prime suspect, the school’s secretary, is the mother of her most talented pupil, Oskar. The forces Carla has unleashed slide out of control to the point where Oskar contacts the school newspaper to publicize his mother’s point of view – which then sparks a heated debate about truth and justice. Carla tries to mediate between outraged parents, opinionated colleagues, and aggressive students, but is mercilessly confronted in the process by the structures of the school system. The more she tries desperately to do everything right, the more the young teacher is on the verge of breaking apart.

THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE  is an electrifying work about the microcosm of a school as a mirror of our society. The film celebrated its world premiere at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival 2023 in the Panorama section, generating both national and international attention.

In addition, THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE  has been shown at numerous major international film festivals, including Telluride, Toronto, Busan, Ghent, Chicago, Vancouver, and Tallinn.

The film has also won several awards, including five at the German Film Awards with the Lola in Gold for Best Feature Film, as well as the Europa Cinemas Label at the Berlinale for Best European Film in the Panorama section and the CICAE Arthouse Cinema Award. Ilker Çatak and Johannes Duncker were nominated for the screenplay for THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE  at the European Film Awards. Leonie Benesch also received a nomination for her leading role as teacher Carla Nowak.

THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE  was produced by if...Productions Film in co-production with ZDF and ARTE and supported by BKM, MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein as well as the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) and the German Federal Film Board (FFA).

The film was released in German cinemas on May 4, 2023 by Alamode Filmdistribution and had posted around 260,000 admissions. In the USA, Sony Pictures Classics will start the nationwide theatrical release on December 25, 2023.

In addition, THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE  was sold to all territories worldwide, with the exception of Southeast Asia, by the sales company Be for Films.

Ilker Çatak has already had experience of winning at the Oscars®: his graduation film SADAKAT (FIDELITY) from the Hamburg Media School won the Student Academy Award in Gold for "Best Foreign Film" in 2015.


The German co-production FOUR DAUGHTERS von Kaouther Ben Hania (FR/TN/SA/DE, Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion) is also competing in the Best Documentary category.


The 96th Oscar® awards ceremony will be held on March 10, 2024, at the Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood.
Further information about the Oscars® can be found here.


Nicole Kaufmann (Head of Regional Desk USA & UK)
Angela Sonntag (Head of Press & Public Relations)