Documentary Film
85 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marcie K. Jost, Peter Zorn, Mark Michel
Mark Michel
Ines Thomsen
Andreas Baltschun, Mark Michel, Ed van Megen
Anne Löper
Mark Michel, Veronika Raila
Christian Schunke
What does it mean to be a prisoner of your own body and invisible? “Sandgirl” takes us into the unique world of experiences and life of Veronika Raila, a young autistic girl, hypersensitive and seriously disabled from birth. Raila knows what it feels like not to be seen as a person. As a child she was diagnosed with an IQ of 0. Only her parents refused to believe this. Today Raila publishes prose and poems, studies literature and theology. Together with director Mark Michel she reviews her own life in this film. The combination of her writings and thoughts with delicately filmed everyday observation, poetic nature shots and artist Anne Löper’s fleeting but powerful sand animations coalesce into an essay about freedom and perception.

“Sandgirl”, however, is more than the sequel to the award winning short film “Veronika” which Michel made about Raila in 2011. This time Veronika is not just a protagonist but a creative partner whose trenchant texts carry the film and who frequently makes detailed suggestions about how to illustrate her interior world. In a profound but sometimes also eminently funny dialogue with Mark Michel she finally becomes the tour guide of her own universe of sand, music and words.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann

Nominated for ver.di Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness, Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, DEFA Sponsoring Prize