Teenager Hannah (Flora Li Thiemann) and Timotheus (Serafin Mishiev) grow up in a strict evangelical family. Hannah in particular lives out her faith with passion and a strong commitment to the free church. She has also taken a vow of chastity, which rules out any physical intimacy before marriage. But things get complicated when she falls in love with the new boy next door, Max (Michelangelo Fortuzzi). And her brother Timotheus develops romantic feelings for his best friend Jonas (Lennox Halm). Deeply convinced that his homosexuality is against God's will, he fights against his "impure" thoughts and decides to be "cured" of his homosexual feelings at a so-called "counselling seminar". And so the siblings find themselves at a crossroads and increasingly clash with their parents and the community. The family's values and expectations clash more and more with the siblings' feelings.
The idea for "GOTTESKINDER" arose from the initial assumption that a story about evangelical Christians would not work in Germany. Frauke Lodders explains: "I didn't realise that there are also a significant number of evangelical Christians here and that they are not primarily an American phenomenon." During her intensive research, she realised that behind the modern and inviting exterior of many evangelical free churches lies a strictly conservative world with strict patriarchal rules. The director describes her fascination and dismay at this discovery: "Nevertheless, these free churches are extremely successful, with membership numbers rising rapidly, especially among young people." To ensure the authenticity of the film, Frauke Lodders invested a year in intensive research. She took part in events organised by various free churches, made contact with so-called therapists who carry out conversion therapy and delved deep into the world of evangelicals.
This fascinating and revealing journey now comes to an end with the premiere of GOTTESKINDER at the Max Ophüls Film Festival. For more than four decades, the Max Ophüls Prize Film Festival has been dedicated to presenting and supporting up-and-coming talent in German-language film. With its clear focus on works by new artists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg, it has established itself as the leading festival for up-and-coming film talent in the German-speaking world.
The Max Ophüls Festival will take place in Saarbrücken in 2024 from 22 to 28 January. Further information about the festival and the film can be found at: www.ffmop.de and GOTTESKINDER | Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis (ffmop.de)