A boy named Markus scouts a rave looking for another boy, Lukas, who he knew a long time ago. As the night turns into dawn, present merges into past, revealing the psyche of a boy consumed by the hedonism of a life turned wrong.
Set in the underground raving scene of Berlin, our film follows a young man named Markus who, between the debauchery and the excess, goes on a search to find Lukas, the only boy who could ever keep him from falling down a spiral of self-destruction.
As the rave progresses, present merges into past and we shift from the intensity and chaos of the rave to the warmth and comfort of Lukas’s bedroom, where we witness the last conversation both characters had together.
A tale of the queer experience, ABANDON BERLIN attempts to portray a struggle that is both universal and specific to queerness: the indifference to the world and who we are and the ensuing search for ourselves.
The queer experience gives itself to feelings and emotions that can drive and scar someone for a long time. In the lack of role models and understanding of their environment, queer youth finds itself out of sync with society, family and themselves.
This sense of discordance feeds into a feeling of being lost, where no solution or path provides a fulfilling answer. This forces youth to seek answers in the extreme and the unusual ‒ be it in culture, drugs or sex‒. This only propels the cycle of self-destruction that the wandering, unguided youth cannot help but follow.
A bond that is never codified, Lukas provides Markus with the necessary balance he lacks in his life. Markusʼ uncertainties are put to rest by Lukasʼ nature, counteracting his self-destructive cycle and making Markus feel, as he describes later in the film, ʻfoundʼ.
Markusʼ attempts at evoking strong reactions within himself through extreme experiences leave Lukas as a passive viewer, unable to help Markus, who unknowingly tries to bring his friend and partner down with him.
Thus, their relationship is a tug of war between two sides: Lukas, who has reached through pain and struggle the most stable version of himself yet, while Markus remains as lost as the day he arrived in Berlin.
Lukas and Markus distance each other after a cruel fight. They have not seen each other in weeks and Markus has started to feel Lukasʼ absence. His behaviour has only become even more self-destructive.
Now there is no one to catch him at the end of the fall.
The camera will follow Markus as he walks the rave, dancing, talking to people and getting lost inside its crowds, drugs and rooms. The audience will follow him as if they were just another person at the rave.
However, as present meets the past, the camera will move from the rave and into the bedroom, still in the same shot. Through editing skills and careful camerawork, we will give the illusion that the whole story, in its different settings and timelines, all happen in the same uncut shot.
This way, we will spend the whole runtime with Markus, growing closer and closer to him as he tries to find Lukas and remembers the trivial instances between them that led to this very moment.
We aim to combine the extreme and intense with the quiet and subtle.
While the rave will be an environment of high emotions, loud noises and crowded spaces, the bedroom where Lukas and Markus develop their bond in will be an isolated bubble that will remain undisturbed, allowing for the necessary space for our characters to connect in a authentic and delicate manner.
We have been inspired by the spirit of And Then We Danced (dir. Levan Akin), the intensity of Climax (dir. Gaspar Noé) and the fragility and warmth of Weekend (dir. Andrew Haigh) and Too Rough (dir. Sean Lìonadh).
Due to the technical challenge of our film, our cast and crew will be relatively big, and making sure they all have what they need to work in the best conditions will take quite a big part of our budget.
We also want to guarantee that the film lives on to be screened in festivals and reach the widest audience possible. To achieve this, a portion of the budget will be destined to festival submissions, and we already have our eye on important queer and experimental film festivals.
However, quite a big portion will go to creating the key scene in the film –the ending-, which takes place in a train station in Berlin. To achieve this, we will need to fly our cast and crew there and provide them with all they might need. This scene is the seed of the project, and none of it would exist without it.
...to write the end of ABANDON BERLIN, to make our vision come to life, to join our characters in their search, to spread an important message.
We hope ABANDON BERLIN will be one of those films that remains with you for days after watching it, but we need all the help we can get to bring it there.
Every donation, however small, is welcomed; Every contribution takes us a step closer to bringing this story to life. If you can't contribute please share our project with friends, post it on social media, spread the word and give us that final push we need.
The crew of ABANDON BERLIN.