© farbfilm verleih GmbH

Iuventa (Juventa)
Italy/Germany 2018

Opening 9 Aug 2018

Directed by: Michele Cinque
Writing credits: Michele Cinque

In 2015 a group of young German students under the leadership of Jakob Schoen founded a non-profit organization called Jugend Rettet (Youth Saves). With the help of donations and crowdfunding, they acquired a fishing boat, fixed it up, named it Iuventa and sailed out into the Mediterranean Sea. The plan was to pick up refugees who were packed into small boats with no way to reach shore. In 2016 they found and delivered 14,000 men, women and children to Italy for safe-keeping.

Director Michele Cinque learned of the plan in the early beginning and boarded the ship in Malta. He filmed a whole year, sharing impressions both close up and personal, rescues, discussions with (mostly) Africans relaxing on the Iuventa on their way to a free world, as well as insights into the lives of the German participants while on leave in Berlin. Anyone not personally involved in this campaign would immediately see not only the physical risks of plowing through high seas in wind and weather, but also the problems Italy would face when foreigners deliver thousands of refugees to their coasts. In 2017 Italy confiscated the Iuventa and today it still sits in Lampedusa, while participants sort out the responsibility. 

The value of watching this film is that one becomes more aware of daily news reports about similar situations, where Italy shuts down these rescue attempts, and which are now surging towards Spain. The activists say they are “giving a signal” of what is actually happening to refugees on a daily basis. “It’s the law to save people.” Very little is said about the smugglers who created the problem for the sole purpose of raking in money. Iuventa will open in limited cinemas in Germany, accompanied by members of Jugend Rettet, e.g., in Hamburg in 3001 cinema on August 7. It will also show late evening, August 13, on 3 SAT German television. (Becky Tan)

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