Daniel Sager’s documentary „Hinter den Schlagzeilen – Behind the Headlines“ shows a look behind the scenes of the „Investigative Research“ section of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which has already done valuable journalistic work for the „Panama Papers“. We accompany Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer in their research in the arms business and in politics, we get access with them to the editor-in-chief of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, where investigative reports are discussed.
„Hinter den Schlagzeilen – Behind the Headlines“ is a documentary that works like a thriller. It begins with a conversation with Edward Snowden, arranges the uncovering of the FPÖ Ibiza scandal surrounding the then Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, and discusses the murder of the Maltese investigative blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia. Rarely does a documentary get you so deeply involved as “Behind the Headlines”. The storylines continue to develop like in a classic Hollywood thriller, the individual storylines become more and more closely interwoven. The film stays near to the „main cast“, the two investigative journalists of the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Sometimes one feels reminded of films of the „investigative“ genre, for example Alan J. Pakula’s „All the Preisdent’s Men“ with Dustin Hofmann and Robert Redford about the exposure of the Watergate scandal, or more recently Steven Spielberg’s „The Post“ with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks on the publication of the „Pentagon Papers“ in 1971.
Daniel Sager, who has already shot reports and documentaries in Iran, Israel, Kenya, Cameroon, Mauritania, Mexico, Russia, Germany and many other countries, made an impressive, convincing and committed, internationally effective plea for courageous, investigative journalism, in times of fake news, populism and anti-democratic currents.
The depressing thing about this film is the background of the murder of the Maltese blogger – and the danger that the investigative journalists accompanying the film run into when they go public with their important work. This is all the more depressing when you see the attacks by Donald Trump and other populist politicians on journalists – and when you become aware of the aggressions towards journalists in Germany by people who were incited by precisely those attacks.
DANIEL SAGER, filmography (selection)
THE LONG DISTANCE, D 2015, 90 min.
LIGHT AND SHADOW, D 2013, 44 min.
YOUR WILL DONE, D 2011, 24 min.
STEPPENWOLFE, D 2020, 20 min.
“Behind the Headlines – Behind the Headlines” was the opening film of the Munich Documentary Film Festival and can be seen online there until May 23, 2021. As things currently stand, the cinema release in Germany is planned for June 10, 2021.
Director: Daniel Sager
Script: Daniel Sager and Marc Bauder
Camera: Börres Weiffenbach, Daniel Sager, Anne Misselwitz, Frank Marten Pfeiffer
Sound engineer: Frank Schubert, Claudia Leder, Tim Kehle, Alexander Rubin
Editor: Hannes Bruun
Producer: Marc Bauder