A film about death, dying and transience
A co-production by DARUM and WUK performing arts
A 2020 | 4K DCP | Colour | 5.1 Surround | 99 Minutes
SPECIAL CORONA AWARD 2020
© Roman Mintert
EXIT: OPEN (Original title: AUSGANG: OFFEN) is a first-person danse macabre documenting true stories and individual perspectives on dying, death and transience: filmed during the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown at an abandoned office complex in Vienna, Austria.
For no other concept in the world are there as many euphemisms as for the concept of “death”: instinctively, people avoid death, they try to make it invisible and push the dead to the edges of perception. However, ignorance creates fear. But how should we face the inevitable reality of death? The Covid-19 Coronavirus came into our world and all of a sudden death was everywhere. But many people were and are reluctant to talk about their own future death or mourning experiences even though death has become a constant topic in the news, in everyday small talk, in the entertainment industry, or even in everyone’s personal decision making processes. So it's here and not here at the same time.
EXIT: OPEN initiated at a time before the first Covid-19 case was even discovered: The concept for a live 1:1 performative installation was born in 2019, when death was still something many people ignored or repressed. We wanted to make a project that would completely focus on the topic of death, without a dramatic hook or side story, just pure and simple death and dying. At an abandoned office complex in Vienna, Austria audience members would individually go through one room to the next and come into contact with a real person speaking about their experience with death, dying or transience.
When the lockdown started it was clear that the 1:1 performative installation could not take place as planned but more than ever we felt that the concept’s face-to-face confrontation with death needed to find a wider audience so we adapted AUSGANG: OFFEN / EXIT: OPEN into documentary film and shot it in the middle of the lockdown April 2020 following all governmental restrictions. The camera’s eye has taken the position of the audience member allowing for an intimacy and closeness with each of film’s diverse “witnesses of death”, like a doctor, an undertaker, a son, a big sister, a terminally ill woman and other people who share their own personal encounters with death and thoughts on dying.
An Online-only Preview Screening took place mid-May 2020 on the websites of nachtrkritik.de, our coproducer WUK performing arts and the Austrian Cultural Forum Bucharest.
EXIT: OPEN celebrated its World Premiere at the 54th Hof International FIlm Festival in Hof, Germany on October 23rd, 2020.
Nominated for the 2020 NESTROY Special Corona Award.
No current dates
"'Ausgang: Offen' ist ein großartiger Tabubruch [...]. Auf Grundlage zahlreicher Gespräche mit reaniminierten Personen, unheilbar Kranken, Sterbenden, Anghörigen und solchen, die beruflich mit Sterbenden und Toten zu tun haben, - und die zum Großteil als sie selbst auftreten -, holen Halper, Andreß und Krösche das tief in den Seelen Vergrabene hervor ins Bewusstsein."
Duration: 99 minutes
Cast & Creatives:
A project by DARUM Artistic direction and film production (alphabetical) Laura Andreß, Victoria Halper, Kai Krösche Performance Ruth Biller, Franz Hammerbacher, Jasmin Kreuzer, Robert N., Georg Parlow, Caroline S., Emma Wiederhold, Brigitte Zolles, Dr. Sophie Zwölfer with Laura Andreß und Victoria Halper Camera and lighting Ali Andress Set Desing Johannes Weckl (head), Sophie Linhart Film editing, in-film videos and color correction Victoria Halper Music and Sound Design Kai Krösche Interviews Laura Andreß with Victoria Halper & Kai Krösche Screenplay Kai Krösche with Laura Andreß & Victoria Halper Production Managers ProSiBe (Siglind Güttler, Bernhard Werschnak) Lighting Kai Krösche, Johannes Weckl Press Patrizia Büchele Assistance to the artistic director (Performance) Verena Rumplmair English Subtitles James Watson & Victoria Halper Idea (Performance) Kai Krösche Idea (Film Adaptation) Victoria Halper Marketing cooperation Victoria Horvat, Armin Kirchner, Bernd Seiser Volunteers (Performance) Lara Cortellini, Isabel Dettinger Photo "Worms" Roman Mintert
Funded by the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna and the Federal Chancellery for Art and Culture.
With the friendly support from Bluedrift KG.
Many thanks to the Bestattung Himmelblau, Irmgard Hubauer (Stadtraum am Kempelenpark), Robert Illek (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien), Martin Kerschbaum, Schauspielhaus Wien, Szene Waldviertel, the Wiener Linien and Michael Zerz.
DCP 4K / 2K Flat
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope)
Sound Format: 5.1 Surround
Frame Rate: 50 fps
Camera: Panasonic GH5s
Colour Format: colour
Subtitles: English, German for the hearing impaired
Genre: Hybrid Documentary/Feature (Performance Film)
Filming Location: Vienna, Austria
Shooting Schedule / Completion Date: Mid-April 2020, June 25th 2020
Press & Reviews (in German)
Split - International Festival of New Film
Gauting/Seefeld - Five Seas Film Festival
Hof - Internationale Hofer Filmtage (Online Screening)
LA - Experimental Forum (Honorable Mention)
Hof - Internationale Hofer Filmtage Germany (World Premiere)