The short film Querdenker (Lateral Thinkers) looks at our modern social-media society as well as at lateral thinkers in society and how they are perceived. In a world that lives in an entrenched portrait mode, the young Mo defies these societal standards and films his videos in landscape or “lateral” orientation. One day in a park, three boys who, like Mo, are making a live stream, but in portrait mode, notice his unusual camera position and confront him about his alternative perspective. After they repeatedly demand that the lateral thinker hold his camera “properly,” which Mo refuses to do, Max, one of the three, decides to get rough—and he is joined in this by his friend Andreas. Only Julian, who complies with Max’s demand that he should film the proceedings, is a bit uncertain and keeps a low profile. But for fear of not being part of the group, he also contributes a few crude comments. The situation escalates and ultimately takes a violent turn: Mo lies motionless on the ground, and the three culprits, fearing the consequences for their actions, flee. The complete scene, however, finds its way onto the Internet in the two active live streams, and within only a few hours the videos have gone viral. The brutal episode also comes to the attention of a well-known news network, which decides to report on it in order to encourage society to reflect on the incident. The report is seen by a large number of people, including the three culprits, who watch the news show that evening with their parents. While Max, along with his father, seems almost proud of what he and his friends did, and Andreas, as well, exhibits absolutely no compassion, Julian slowly but surely realizes that something horrible had happened that day …
Project Credits / Acknowledgements
HTBLVA-Graz Ortweinschule: Franz Leopold Schmelzer, Johannes Steger
With support from: ITEC Tontechnik, Verkehrsverbund Steiermark “Verbund Linie”
Max Wolfmajer (b. 2002), Clemens Pfeiffer (b. 2003), Gergely Varecza (b. 2001), Nora Puntigam (b. 2003), and Mirjam Fladenhofer (b. 2002) are five students who met at Ortweinschule Graz and decided to join forces to make the film Querdenker. It is the first project these students have realized in this configuration. Over the years, all five have developed their various interests in the area of filmmaking and thus complement each other well as a team. Despite their different areas of interest, they share a common passion: film.
A story about a conflict between youths in a park develops into a parable about attitudes and changes in attitudes, about intolerance and narrow-mindedness, and about how little would be necessary to achieve more awareness: merely more freedom in thought. The filmmakers skillfully play with the medium of smartphone video and the different image formats. The scenes have a casually improvised feel without coming off as amateurish. Mirjam Fladenhofer, Nora Puntigam, Gergely Varecza, Clemens Pfeiffer, and Max Wolfmajer lend a universality and depth to the disturbing topicality of the story.