Two suitcases, a schoolbag, a cuddly toy – that’s all Nelly Senff and her son Alexej take with them to start their new life, as they escape East Berlin for the freedom they hope to find in the West. Wanting a fresh start after her Russian boyfriend and Alexej’s father died, Nelly finds herself staying longer in a refugee center than she had hoped for. The CIA and West German security service have a lot of questions for her and Nelly starts to wonder if she’ll ever be able to start her new life.
With his third feature film WEST, German director Christian Schwochow (36) delivers yet another carefully calibrated drama with an award-winning female lead, after his previous feature CRACKS IN THE SHELL (2011) won a Germany industry award, the Lola for Best Supporting Actress. For WEST lead actress Jördis Triebel (Nelly) won the FIPRESCI award in Montreal for Best Actress, as well as this year’s Lola for Best Actress.
WEST resonates personally with Christian, who wrote the screenplay with his mother and regular screenwriting partner Heide, as both tapped into their memories of moving from East to West Germany just a week before the Fall of the Wall. Distributor Main Street Films releases WEST in New York on November 7, two days before the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov 9. Director Christian Schwochow is available for phone, Skype and email interviews.