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For Your Own Safety
by Karen Pecota

A short film by Florian Heinzen-Ziob

The need for heightened airport security is understandable today with the daily threats that aim to hurt innocent people. German Filmmaker Florian Heinzen-Ziob takes the film audience to an airport security screening line for the carry-on luggage to observe one man's plight as he takes his job seriously in For Your Own Safety (Zu Ihrer eigenen Sicherheit).

The idea for Heinzen-Ziob's short came from a personal experience he had while traveling on a local train throughout Germany. He explains, "An Arabic looking guy sitting next to me left his seat leaving his red backpack behind." Heinzen-Ziob wondered why the man had not taken his backpack with him. The more he looked at the lonely backpack, feelings of anxiety welled-up inside. Just about the time the worst of his thoughts got the best of him the man returned. He apologized for taking such a long time to return to his seat. He had to wait extremely long for an open restroom. Heinzen-Ziob said, "The most important aspect making my movie was to acknowledge how innocent people turn into suspects just because of the way they look." Our paranoia can turn us into villains if we are not careful.


Jonas (Steffen Will) is an airport security screening agent for airline passengers and their carry-on luggage. He is administering on-the-job training to new employees regarding accuracy in security. Jonas takes his job very seriously and plays strictly by the rules. He does not want to be the agent accused of negligence allowing a future terrorist entrance into the airport or on a plane. Jonas directs his team to be observant and conscientious.

Jonas's stringent work ethic is annoying to his colleagues causing frustration and embarrassment within his team. His actions are reported to their boss and she puts him on probation. Jonas feels badly that his colleagues treat him with disrespect--rolling their eyes and making fun of him behind his back. Jonas tries to be a positive role model. He desires to be the best employee and trainer possible. Jonas wants to do the right thing but feels bullied and misunderstood.

Under pressure to lighten up, Jonas doesn't know how to do so without jeopardizing his reputation as a hard worker. He looks for a way to redeem himself. Jonas observes concerning behavior from Terek (Damon Arsalan Zolfaghari), a Muslim colleague. Terek's actions propel Jonas toward a misjudgment that leads to dyer consequences.