Estonian premiere

The Teachers' Lounge

Local title
Õpetajate tuba
Original title
Das Lehrerzimmer
İlker Çatak
23rd Youth and Children's Film Festival, 27th Black Nights Film Festival
Best of Festivals, Children's Rights Programme
children, school bullying, site-specific

When Carla Nowak, a dedicated sports and math teacher, starts her first job at a high school, she stands out for her idealism. When a series of thefts occur at the school and one of her students is suspected, she decides to investigate the matter on her own. Carla tries to mediate between outraged parents, opinionated colleagues, and aggressive students, but is relentlessly confronted with the rigid structures of the school system. The more desperately she tries to do everything right, the more the young teacher threatens to break.

This gripping drama about conformity, racism, and rebellion – Germany’s entry into the Oscars – is an incisive look at the rapidly shifting power dynamics and complex search for truth in contemporary society.

Age recommendation: 12+

İlker Çatak
İlker Çatak, Johannes Duncker
Leonie Benesch, Michael Klammer, Rafael Stachoviak, Anne-Kathrin Gummich, Eva Löbau, Kathrin Wehlisch, Sarah Bauerett, Leo Stettnisch, Oscar Zickur, Antonia Luise Krämer, Elsa Krieger, Vincent Stachowiak, Can Rodenbostel, Padmé Hamdemir, Lisa Marie Trense
Ingo Fliess
Judith Kaufmann
Production designer
Zazie Knepper
Gesa Jäger
Marvin Miller
Kirsten Kunhardt
If... Productions Film
World sales
Sony Pictures Classics
Estonian, English
Other festivals
Busan, Berlin, Toronto
İlker Çatak

İlker Çatak (1984) was born in Berlin and, as the son of Turkish immigrants, moved to Istanbul at the age of twelve, where he completed his high school diploma together with co-writer Johannes Duncker at the German School there. İlker Çatak then returned to Germany and worked for four years on German and international cinema productions.

Starting in 2005, the filmmaker already attracted attention with his first short film works such as "When Namibia Was a City..." (directed in collaboration with Johannes Duncker), before earning his bachelor’s degree in film and television directing in 2009. He then completed a master’s degree in directing at the Hamburg Media School. During this time, he made the short films "Old School" and "Where We Are", among others. With the latter, İlker Çatak won the short film competition of the Max Ophüls Festival in 2014 and received a nomination for the Student Academy Award. One year later, the talented director convinced the juries with his graduation film "Fidelity". İlker Çatak was not only awarded the Max Ophüls Prize and the First Steps Award for Best Short Film - he received the prestigious Student Oscar® in Gold for Best Foreign Short Film.

In 2017, Çatak made his first feature film, "Once Upon a Time... Indianerland," the adaptation of the award-winning novel for young people by Nils Mohl. This was followed in 2019 by "I Was, I Am, I Will Be," his second feature film work. Ingo Fliess was responsible for the production. The film premiered in 2019 at the Filmfest München and was awarded two prizes there, and in early 2020, already nominated several times for the German Film Award, won the Lola in Bronze in the category Best Film. In 2021, the filmmaker adapted Finn-Ole Heinrich’s successful novel "Stambul Garden" and directed his first TV series episode: "Borowski und der gute Mensch" in "Crime Scene" ("Tatort"). As for "Stambul Garden" as well as for "Borowski und der gute Mensch," Çatak worked with award-winning cinematographer Judith Kaufmann.

Valik/Selected: Ayda (2008), Namibya sehir iken... (2010), Old School (2013), Zeitraum (2014), Where We Are (2014), Fidelity (2014), Once Upon a Time... Indianerland (2017), I Was, I Am, I Will Be (2019), Stambul Garden (2021), Das Lehrerzimmer (The Teachers' Lounge, 2023)

Goethe Instituut


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