7000 Kilometer Heimweh - Ein Jahr in China

Germany 2008, Documentary, 60' | Director Arne Birkenstock | Screenplay Arne Birkenstock, Jürgen Kura | DoP Mark Motzko, Volker Noack | Editor Volker Gehrke | Sound Ed Hoffmann | Production Fruitmarket Kultur und Medien, WDR

They are 7,000 kilometres from home. In a country with completely different cultural rules. They do not speak the language, let alone read it. The towns are gigantic and chaotic, the landscape is both startlingly beautiful and dangerous. Every meal is also a challenge. The country: China. And the trip will last a year.
The Middle Kingdom has only recently opened itself to exchange students from Germany. This four-part documentary series accompanies four 16-year-olds as they spend a year in China, during which they lived in Chinese host families and visited Chinese schools.
Franziska Aurnhammer and Avid Avini from Bavaria, and Henning Weineck and Christian Peckart from North Rhine-Westphalia documented their experiences with their own video cameras. Franziska and Henning spent a year in Shanghai, Christian lived in the Cantonese capital Guangzhou - famed for its exotic cuisine - and Avid spent a year in a rail worker's family in the thriving provincial capital Wuhu.


ARNE BIRKENSTOCK was born in 1967. He studied Economics, Politics, History and Romance studies in Cologne, Buenos Aires and Córdoba. This was followed by lengthy study visits abroad to the USA and Argentina. Since 1994 he has worked as a freelance writer and filmmaker and has made numerous magazine contributions, reports and documentaries for WDR, ARD, ZDF, Radio Bremen and ARTE. He also works as lecturer in the field of television journalism and reporting.

JÜRGEN KURA studied German and History and trained to be a photographer. He then worked as a crime scene photgrapher in Essen. He is a graduate of the Kölner Schreibschule (now called ifs - international film school, Cologne). Later he took a training course as a producer at the dffb (German Film and Television Academy, Berlin). Today he is the author of fictional exposés and concepts for various production companies and television stations.

Arne Birkenstock
School Film