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System Crasher 2019

System Crasher | Systemsprenger

System Crasher-Systemsprenger

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On her wild quest for love, 9-year-old Benni's untamed energy drives everyone around her to despair.

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About the System Crasher 💬

Benni's real name is Bernadette. But just see what happens when anyone calls her that!

Foster families, children's communes, special schools: Anywhere Benni (Helena Zengel) goes, she is being kicked out.

  • She is small but dangerous.

She is wild, rebellious, aggressive, loud and unpredictable. To the youth welfare office, the nine-year-old constitutes, what is referred to as a ''system crasher''.

  • Benni has one single goal: to be back at home with her mommy!

All Benni wants is love, security and to move back in with her mother. But Benni's mother Bianca (Lisa Hagmeister) is frightened by her young daughter's temper. Mrs. Bafané (Gabriela Maria Schmeide) from child protection services is trying her best to find a permanent placement for Benni. As there seems to be no more place for Benni to go to, anti-violence coach Micha (Albrecht Schuch) tries to free her from the spiral of anger and aggression. Will Micha be able to succeed where all others despaired?

In her feature-length debut, Nora Fingscheidt immerses us in Benni's world through a well-written script and exceptional acting by its child actor. Can the German social government system, which is assumed to work perfectly, provide a solution for everyone? Watched with bathed breath, SYSTEM CRASHER tackles this serious question.


While shooting a documentary about a home for dispossessed women, I heard the unofficial term ''system crasher'' for the first time, because the youngest resident was just 14 years old. There were no children's homes left willing to take the girl in. I couldn’t get that term out of my head, so I started an intense research. During this period I met an 11-year-old boy who had been in 52 different institutions. ''System crashers'' are children with incredible strength and endurance, but still tragic figures. At a very early age, they put all their opportunities of becoming integrated into our society at risk. How much energy does it take to drive so many trained child care workers to despair? What if it were possible to re-channel this energy and use it for positive purposes?

My motivation for making this film was to sensitize people to children like Benni. That's why the film is being told primarily from Benni's point of view. As spectators, we develop a feeling for the confusing number of ''homes'', the changing guardians and the constant and dizzying disruption of relationships. At the same time, Benni draws us into the wild, uncertain, fantasy-filled world of a child fighting for her own sense of being. I wanted the film to bubble with energy and, despite the tragic nature of the topic, to be humorous and lighthearted. Just like Benni is. Although we may be upset - even shocked - by Benni's violent behavior, we should learn to love her and to fear for her during the course of the film. Ever since I met my first ''system crasher'', I've known that I had to tell a story about one. Children's violence is a cry for help. Always.

Nora Fingscheidt


Every good movie needs a good script. Naturally! Through her years of research and great empathy, Nora Fingscheidt has written a book that convinced all of us immediately. Completely! While reading the script, we were already plunged into emotional depths, were engaged boldly, cheerfully, and with positivity and then confronted with the harsh reality. The story of Benni and her desperate struggle for her mother's love coincides in many ways with our view of the way a narrative should be. Taking the child's perspective, not judging anyone as guilty, but questioning all sides, shedding light on their despair and often helplessness - this is something that greatly appeals to us.

During filming this was a great challenge for everyone involved - to take the child's perspective, to always remain at eye level, to allow space for the child's spontaneous reactions and to follow them. The sets were set up at 360°, which, for a debut film with a limited budget, means finding creative solutions really everywhere at all levels. For example, the production office was converted into one of the sets, and so we worked on the staircase with laptops on our knees. Everyone in the team took on several tasks. And so did we as producers, each with a stronger focus in the different project phases and always in constant and very close collaboration with Nora. Her vision formed the center of our actions.

Nora succeeded in translating Benni's adventurous journey into a highly emotional drama. The film's many contrasts and nuances, what we were aspiring to cinematographically, combined with an emotional roller coaster - the audience is sure to laugh and cry. We want to stimulate a discussion about the place of children in our society - for such a discussion to occur in the first place, and much more. And also a discussion about the responsibility that many people take on in this area.

Peter Hartwig, Jonas Weydemann, Frauke Kolbmüller

System Crasher Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Nora Fingscheidt

Writing Credits

Nora Fingscheidt


Helena Zengel

Albrecht Schuch

Gabriela Maria Schmeide

Lisa Hagmeister

Bruno Thiel

Ida Goetze

Melanie Straub

Victoria Trauttmansdorff

Maryam Zaree

Tedros Teclebrhan

Matthias Brenner

Amelle Schwerk

Fine Belger

Asad Schwarz

Jana Julia Roth

Peter Schneider

Louis von Klipstein

Barbara Philipp

Roland Bonjour

Gisa Flake

Axel Werner

Music by

John Gürtler

Cinematography by

Yunus Roy Imer

Genre: Drama

Country: Germany

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