Why is Mr W. Laughing?

Official website

Feature Documentary film
funded by the Film Fund of Hamburg- Schleswig-Holstein, the friends of the Heinrich Böll foundation, the Heineman Bros. & the Liebelt Stiftung
ⓒ Papenbroock Film, 2017

Mr W. is a man who loves to laugh. He is also a member of the Schlumpers, a self-organized atelier community of artists with different disabilities.
Questioning the usual asymmetry of inclusion (meaning that often there is just a monologue about and not a dialogue with the persons concerned), the film is a cinematic experiment that politicizes boundary-practices in its form and content: Rather than making a film about inclusion, the film itself was produced inclusively.
On an open collaborative journey through the pictorial worlds of the three artists, a focus was set on their aesthetic obsessions and perspectives through their own videography. Their spontaneous and sometimes gratuitous imagery isn’t organized by a boosted ego at its center but displays subjectivity as social experience in space.
As a result of the cooperative approach, the film is a mix of materials and techniques, interview situations interwoven with observational episodes, auto-fiction and performance, home videos of the protagonists and their own musical compositions.
The juxtaposition of life and art doesn’t apply for the three who are artists in order to participate in society. Art for them is not a breakaway dream from normality, but the quintessence of bourgeois work that enables them a status as citizens. This is one of the many realizations that occurred during the work on this film, -that most ideas about disability and art brut are romanticizing and excluding misconceptions.

Director of Photography Thomas Oswald, Michael Gerdsmann, Bernhard Krebs, Horst Wässle; Sound Julian Rambow & Miguel Murrieta; Editing Lena Hatebur; Sound design Simone Weber: Sound mix Stephan Konken, Production: Jana Papenbroock & Frank Papenbroock; Music Geert Chatrou, Julia Holter, Jason Grier & Michael Gerdsmann

Sneak Preview at This Human World International Documentary Film Festival Vienna, December 2016
Ethnocineca International Documentary Film Festival Vienna, May 2017
Nominated for the Excellence in Visual Anthropology (EVA) Award
Filmkunstfest MV, Schwerin, May 2017
International Film Festival Emden-Norderney, June 2017
Near Nazareth International Film Festival, June 2017
Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival, Armenia, July 2017
Fünf Seen Film Festival, Lake Starnberg, August 2017
Open Eyes Film Festival, Marburg, August 2017
First Prize 'Best Documentary'
Nafa International Ethnographic Film Festival, Denmark, August 2017
Kunstgriff Rolle, Filmfest Heide, September 2017
Second Prize "Best Film" Audience Award & Jury Prize
Document International Human Rights Film Festival, Glasgow, October 2017
One with a Movie Camera International Ethnographic Film Festival, Marburg, October 2017
Dezernat 5, Gallery for Contemporary Art Schwerin, November 2017
Dokumentarfilmsalon, Hamburg, January 2018