On a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon in early June, a small group headed to Sheffield Doc Fest to attend the world premiere of a documentary by German film maker, Florian Heinzen-Ziob.
“German Class” focusses on the teacher and pupils of a special class at Cologne’s Henry Ford secondary school. The preparation class, or “VK” is the first port of call for children who have arrived in Germany, integrating them into the German school system.
The pupils come from a variety of backgrounds and countries. Some stay in the class only a few months; others remain far longer. The teacher, Ute Vecchio works individually with each pupil as much as possible.
The film was shot in black and white to help viewers focus on the pupils, teacher and their stories rather than be distracted by the busy visuals of a typical classroom, with all its brightly coloured décor, books and furniture. The energy, persistence and humour shown by the teacher and the main protagonists is therefore to the fore and made for an excellent documentary on the topical subject of immigration.
At the end of the film there was a chance to ask questions of the director in person before heading back out into the heat of early evening.