Synopsis: KONRAD (85) has plenty of reasons for being grumpy. His wife died recently and now his only daughter even talks about adopting her girlfriend’s kids! He doesn’t approve.
THURBA (12) has a very different set of problems. In order to avoid deportation as a Dublin-Case she must jump from the second floor and run. But now she’s alone, out on the streets, in October…
At night, Konrad hears something from the basement, arms himself with a nail gun and fires into the dark. He shoots little Thurba, who cries out in pain. Konrad is completely jumbled, this can’t be happening!
Somehow this girl gets to him, touches long lost feelings of his own past and makes him dependent on somebody else’s luck again.
Thurba needs to get to England. So she proposes a deal…
Milena Pribak (Thurba Al-Sherbini)
Pegah Ferydoni (Amal Al-Sherbini)
Anja Schiffel (Ingrid Hausnick)
A HANDFUL OF WATER is about Konrad, 85, who shoots and hurts Thurba, 11, at
night. Meeting each other will be life changing for both, but the bond they
reluctantly develop is under constant threat from outside. This encounter between
the old German man and the young refugee girl will only ever be short – obliterated
by injustice, margined by society’s constraints, stolen from them by the world they
When I began writing of this film a very personal thing was at the core of it: the
sensation that old Europeans and newly arrived people seeking refuge come from
very different worlds, but we all carry our past with us.
When talking about Konrad, he is as well a very personal character for me,
somebody highly inspired by my personal experiences, by my family and my
grandparents, but he’s also a paradigmatic German man of his age, somebody
accustomed to being alone and on his own, somebody who dislikes being
interrupted in his daily routine, a grumpy, bumpy old guy, tending to focus on the
negative side of things.
Thurba is just a child. I feel very close to her, her urge to be less a girl and more a
boy, her grief over what she had to endure and her hope of getting to Britain and
making life better for her family. The small things she tells us about her past show a
hardship that the old man maybe never experienced. I think this is what slowly gets
to him: That he sees parallels in her, but he can also see where her situation is
nothing he ever had to endure.
Working on A HANDFUL OF WATER made me realise how Homi Bhabha is right:
Migration is an act of dignity. We are all different, sometimes almost in an agonistic
position, and we got to understand that difference. But it is one single, collective
story: There is not the dead at sea on the one hand and the old war stories on the
other. The living are carrying the dead within them, everyone has their own journey
to make and everybody takes something of the other when they leave.
– Jakob Zapf
J A K O B Z A P F
Jakob Zapf, M.A. in film and television studies, is a writer-director and a producer based in Frankfurt who worked in several countries. He just finished his debut feature A HANDFUL OF WATER starring Jürgen Prochnow and Pegah Ferydoni. Jakob’s short films as well as his commercial productions aired on television and were shown and awarded in festivals worldwide, among them Montréal World FF, Durban IFF, Hof IFF, Grenoble, Cinequest and many more.
A NECESSARY EVIL (in development)
German-French TV-Series about lobbyism in the EU-parliament, in co-production with La Belle Affaire SAS, granted development funds by CNC, MFG, HessenFilm, GrandEst
writer, creative producer, delegate producer
A HANDFUL OF WATER
debut feature film about the unlikely friendship of two misfits: a 83 year-old German and a 12 year old girl from Yemen.
GER/UK 2021, starring Jürgen Prochnow, Pegah Ferydoni, funded by HessenFilm, international sales by Studio Hamburg Enterprises, in German cinemas from September 2021
director, co-writer, producer
54th International Hofer Filmtage, nominated for Best Director, Best Production, Best Sound
21st Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival, nominated for Global Landscapes Award
14th Lichter Filmfest Frankfurt International, nominated for Best Regional Feature
British-German debut feature about the intercultural power of baking in today’s Notting Hill
UK/GER 2020, in co-production with Mirage Films, funded by HessenFilm, sold by Film Seekers, in German cinemas from September 2020
MAX AND THE WILD BUNCH
GER 2020, children’s movie, in association with Ratpack Filmproduktion, in German cinemas from September 2020
German Film Critics’ Awards – Nominated for Best German Children’s Movie
THE THIRD KING
short film about a deserted soldier in the battle of Hürtgenwald 1945, GER 2018, 25 min
dramaturgical consulting, associate producer
52nd International Hofer Filmtage – Official Selection,
Oscar Qualifying 11th Bermudas International Short Film Festival – Best Cinematography, Best Acting
35th Tehran International Short Film Festival – Official Selection
and many more
short film about a young Neonazi confronted by a Jewish survivor of the Shoah, GER 2013, 18 min
director, co-writer, producer
47th Internationale Hofer Filmtage 2013 – Official Selection
47th Houston WorldFest – Platinum Remi Award “Peace & Understanding”
37th Montréal World Film Festival 2013 – Focus on World Cinema
36th Grenoble Short Film Festival 2013 – Official Selection
34th Durban International Film Festival 2013 – Official Selection
and many more