Brief synopsis

Tel Aviv in 2017. Over 400,000 inhabitants and an estimated more than 30,000 African refugees live in the second largest city of Israel.The refugee wave to Israel, which peaked in 2010 and 2011, is still affecting the state today. Many refugees escaped from Eritrea and the cruelties of the military dictatorship. Others flew from Sudan and the long-lasting civil war in Darfur. Most of them flew on their own or with family members through the Sinai desert, however all of them left behind their previous life. The Israeli government is not accepting them as refugees but treats them as illegal immigrants/infiltrators. The approach to send the refugees to third countries at all costs has raised great concerns amongst human rights organizations. Affected by this decisions are also Samia, Sana, Kubrom and Precious the protagonists of this documentary. By their nature, their talent, their demeanor they seem so grounded that you tend to forget the things they have to deal with. Problems and fears we never had to even think about. In our teenage years, we were fighting with our parents whether we could go to a concert or not, etc. In their case, heteronomy means whether they can live in freedom or not. In which country will they live? Will they have the opportunity to work or even study? Those kind of questions they have to deal with, every day. In "through the desert“ we accompany and document the daily life of these four. Our interest is set on the years of youth, as resignation and hope are close to each other in such erratic times. Their traumatic past and experiences of loss versus their inner hope for a chance of a better and self-determined future. Thus, we focus on their daily life despite their refugee status and in particular their wishes, dreams und goals. In which moments, if in music, sports, meeting friends or other activities, do they escape and find some solace as well as balance to their harsh realities.


Digital film compositorLennart Oberscheidt
ColoristDavid Seul
Director of photographyHannah Schwaiger
Director of photographyJacqueline Hochmuth
DirectorJacqueline Hochmuth
DirectorHannah Schwaiger
EditorMatthias Kulow
EditorFatmir Dolci
ComposerMatthias Kulow
Sound mastering engineerFabian Livrée
Sound designerKlaus Willig
Sound designerFabian Livrée
Sound designerMatthias Kulow

Production companies

FH Fachhochschule Dortmund [de]


Award winnerYearAwardCategory 
Hannah Schwaiger2018Best Short DocumentaryBest Short DocumentaryWinner
Jacqueline Hochmuth2019Best Short DocumentaryBest Short DocumentaryWinner


2019GermanyFilmfest Münster
2019USAFear no Film
2019DenmarkAnnual Aarhus Film Festival