Back to IndieWire

Oscar Watch: When We Leave (Die Fremde)

Oscar Watch: When We Leave (Die Fremde)

This past summer I spent in Berlin and was invited to the first screening of When We Leave (Die Fremde), Germany’s submission for Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language film. I was welcomed to the screening by a tall young man who turned out to be American but had come to Berlin on a Fulbright Scholarship and stayed to enter the film business there. We became friendly and he asked my advice about going to UCLA film school where he had applied. I strongly suggested he go if accepted, telling him he would have such an advantage over others because he already had the international perspective so needed in film today. Not only is he here in at UCLA today and writing a blog about his student experiences (, but he has written about When We Leave (Die Fremde) for me. Olive is releasing it in theatres in L.A. and N.Y. January 28th, just in time for Oscar season. Enjoy!

Watch the trailer here..

Facebook page is here.

When We Leave
By guest blogger Jason Kohl

I began work on When We Leave as a post-production intern in Berlin in the spring of 2009. What I saw when I watched the film for the first time was a powerful work with striking performances I hadn’t seen in a German film since Matthias Glasner’s “The Free Will” in 2007.

When We Leave (German Title: Die Fremde) is the story of Umay, a young Turkish woman who flees her abusive husband in Istanbul. She takes her young son with her to stay with her traditional Turkish family in Berlin. Her arrival sparks a conflict between her need for independence and her family’s conservatism, building to a shocking and tragic climax.

Feo Aladag, a first time writer/director, was coming to the end of a five-year period that involved the writing, financing and production of the film when I came aboard the film.

We had just received a rejection from a major festival and were unsure where the film would move forward. During this time the majority of my work on the film centered around polishing the subtitles and working on marketing strategy.

Just as the film began to make serious headway with festivals I was pulled away by a surprise acceptance into UCLA’s MFA Directing program and left Berlin in August.

Six months later Indiewire reported that When We Leave had won the Tribeca film festival. There was Feo on the homepage with Robert DeNiro. The film has continued to receive international recognition and awards at multiple festivals, until this fall it became Germany’s Oscar submission.

When We Leave has found amazing legs for a German art-house picture. Most recently it won the European Parliament’s LUX prize for films that “go to the heart of the European public debate.”


WHEN WE LEAVE (DIE FREMDE) selected to represent Germany in the race for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

A jury of independent experts was appointed by German Films to select the German entry for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film. Under the chairmanship of Steffen Kuchenreuther they have decided upon the film WHEN WE LEAVE (DIE FREMDE) by Feo Aladag.

The jury on its decision: “WHEN WE LEAVE is an extraordinarily well written, atmospherically precise and moving film with outstanding acting performances. The film deals in a highly dramatic and subtle way with the struggle of a young German-Turkish mother for her self-determination in two value systems.”

Feo Aladag on the jury decision: “It is an incredibly great honor that our film has been chosen by the German selection committee. My goal had always been to make a universal film which can reach people and touch them across ethnic, cultural and linguistic barriers. I now await the next round with great anticipation and very much hope that WHEN WE LEAVE will also resonate with members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.”

Farhad Arshad, President of Olive Films said – “We are thrilled that this film is Germany’s official selection. We felt strongly about this title from the very beginning, and we look forward to introducing this magnificent film to the US audiences”.

German Films North American Representative Oliver Mahrdt: “It’s a great honor to represent a film that has already garnered such critical acclaim in the USA, winning this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and being invited to a multitude of US festivals.”

The next showings for WHEN WE LEAVE are:

Hamptons International Film Festival (
10/09, 3:45 PM East Hampton
10/10, 5:45 PM Southampton

Mill Valley Film Festival, (
10/16, 5:45 PM SEQUOIA
10/17, 1:30 PM RAFAEL

German Currents, Los Angeles
10/24, 2:00 PM AERO, Santa Monica

Berlin & Beyond, San Francisco
10/24, 7 PM CASTRO

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival

33nd Starz Denver Film Festival

The production by Independent Artists Filmproduktion/Berlin, in co-production with WDR/Cologne, RBB/Potsdam Babelsberg and ARTE/Strasbourg (producers: Feo Aladag, Züli Aladag) was released in German cinemas on 15 March 2010 by Delphi Filmverleih.

To date, WHEN WE LEAVE (DIE FREMDE) has been invited to 35 international film festivals and received multiple prizes for “Best Film,” including the Tribeca Filmfestival in New York. The film had its world premiere at this year’s Berlinale. Moreover, WHEN WE LEAVE won the “Film Award in Bronze” for the “Best Feature Film” as well as “Best Lead Actress” for Sibel Kekilli at the German Film Awards. The nomination of WHEN WE LEAVE as one of the three candidates for the PRIX LUX (Film Prize of the European Parliament) and its pre-selection for the European Film Award is ample evidence of broad international interest.

Olive Films acquired the US rights from Telepool at the film market in Toronto. The US theatrical release is planned for February 2011.

WHEN WE LEAVE was funded by the German Federal Film Board (FFA), Der Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (BKM), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB), Filmstiftung NRW and Kuratorium junger deutscher Film.

On 25 January 2011, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will announce which five films have been nominated from all of the national entries to go forward into the final lineup to compete for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.The official Academy Awards ceremony will be held on 27 February 2011.

Please direct all enquiries to Oliver Mahrdt, mahrdt AT
Oliver Mahrdt
Hanns Wolters International Inc.
U.S.- Representative of German Films / USA & Canada
501 Fifth Avenue, #2112A, New York, NY 10017
Tel (212) 714 – 0100 or Fax (212) 643-1412 cell (917)495 5887

Publicist for Olive Films: Sasha Berman, sashaberman AT

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Uncategorized and tagged , , ,