Einzelkämpfer

Germany 2013, Documentary, 93’ | Director, Screenplay Sandra Kaudelka | DoP Jenny Lou Ziegel, Hendrik Reichel | Editor Sandra Kaudelka, Vessela Martschewski | Sound Alexandre Leser | Music Cassis Birgit Staudt | Production Lichtblick Media | Distribution farbfilm verleih

»November 1989 – this was not only the day the (Berlin) wall fell but also the day I was finally released from my unloved sport discipline. Ever since I can remember, I had never wanted to be a diver ... yet I had put in a picture-book GDR career. I was only five years old when ›scouted‹ at kindergarten by officials. A few days later, the training began. And once you were part of the socialist competitive sports system and reasonably talented, it was pretty difficult to get out of its clutches.« Sandra Kaudelka

Olympic gold medallist Marita Koch is still the best 400-metre runner of all time. Never really wanting to, she became a GDR figurehead, not to mention Erich Honecker’s favourite athlete. Shot-putter Udo Beyer was once an Olympic champion, three-time world-record holder and captain of the East German athletics team. Today, he runs a travel agency. Brita Baldus, formerly the best springboard diver in the GDR, has to this day not found a job – despite two degrees from colleges in her hometown of Leipzig. Sprinter Ines Geipel planned to defect to the West during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles but now knows that she was lucky to survive.

Sandra Kaudelka has gone in search of the sports stars of yesteryear. In doing so, she gives us a rare inside view of an authoritarian state which either flatters people with privileges or – if expectations are not met – destroys them again with no regard for life and health. With great sensitivity, Einzelkämpfer portrays celebrated athletes of the past and shows how, after the revolution in 1989, private dreams of personal happiness had to be adjusted, assuming they were surprisingly met.

Biography
Sandra Kaudelka was born 1977 in Leipzig and attended the Ernst Thälmann Children & Youth Sports School from the fourth grade upwards. In 1987, she was runner-up at the Spartakiad, a national sport event in an Eastern bloc country. In 1989, she was the GDR champion of her age group. From 1999 to 2004, she studied film & drama at the Free Humboldt University in Berlin whilst working as a freelance production manager, editor and camera assistant. In 2012 she completed a course of study in directing at the German Film & Television Academy in Berlin. Einzelkämpfer was her graduation film.

Sandra Kaudelka
Germany
2013
Documentary
2014
School Film