FF: How would you describe it?

MAW: It is a quest for self-discovery but on her journey, Sigrun is led astray. Her desire to belong overrides her moral compass. She opens herself to an insidious, warped truth with gruesomely false ideals. The ending may be interpreted however one prefers – most people, I assume, will read it as a supernatural phenomenon. […] Nevertheless, there is also a realistic interpretation: Brainwashing and manipulation. This is even darker and where the warning is embedded. 


FF: You deal with themes that you call fictional reality: faith, fanaticism and ideology – and also historical family disfunction. Were there any personal experiences […]?

MAW: There is no personal experience or family history. […] If anything, my heritage being Austrian and growing up with the horrors of the 2nd WW but learning hardly anything about the mythological backbone of the NS ideology which I think is so crucial in order to understand how such an insane world view can take over. […] I’m highly fascinated by the power of imagination since I believe it influences all human motives. I always say we live in a grey zone between reality and fiction. There is no objective truth as such – I don’t mean that there is ultimately no right or wrong but there is an explanation for every decision. Our values and world views depend on our upbringing, our influences. A person who stones a homosexual is terribly wrong but they are acting according to their personal truth. This is certainly not an excuse but the better we understand a narrative the easier it is to change it. […]



[…] The story of “Mother Superior,” set in 1975, follows a nurse (Isabella Haendler) who is hired to assist Baroness Heidenreich (Inge Maux) in her impressive mansion, who suffers from Parkinson’s. The nurse knows that the key to knowing her past is there, since she was given up for adoption and does not know about her origins. There is a connection between the two that neither is willing to talk about.

The film premiered at the Slash Film Festival and recently won the best picture and best director at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.

“My work often deals with faith and ideology. The power of imagination fascinates me. Meanwhile, the connection between fascism and the occult is a topic I’ve been researching for years. The existence of women’s movements dedicated to National Socialism was something new to me. So, I decided to delve into this paradox,” said Wolfszahn.

Black Mandala straddles production and international sales and was founded in 2017 by Michael Kraetzer and Nicolas Onetti. Kraetzer previously created labels such as I-ON New Media for distribution in Germany and Mandala Films for distribution in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. Production credits include “Inbred” and “Nightmare Radio.” Onetti is based in Argentina.


„Schon so oft haben sich Künstlerinnen und Künstler getraut, den Blick in eine andere Richtung zu lenken und dadurch etwas sichtbar gemacht, das bis dahin verborgen war. Auch die Energiekrise wird eine Inspirationsquelle sein. Dessen bin ich mir sicher“, sagt Kerstin Wiesmayer, Kuratorin des Lichtfestes. „Uns fasziniert Licht, weil es im Moment seiner Erscheinung wirkt“, begründet Jakob Wiesmayer, ebenso Kurator, die Motivation hinter dem Festival.



[…] From a look at Wolfszahn’s personal website, Crocodilopolis, Mother Superior is her first feature-length project, but not her first time in the director’s chair. Within a few minutes of watching the film, even if you didn’t look at her sight, her experience with the camera and storytelling is apparent. The opening sequence serves as both credits and foundation-setting, the camera panning across a desk with newspaper clippings, cassette tapes, and documents that provide a little insight into the world of the film and, on almost each one is the name and title of an individual who worked on the project. This does translate to a lot of information to take in (especially if German is not your native tongue) but Wolfszhan isn’t interested in wasting time, therefore her film doesn’t hold your hand. You either keep up or get out of the way. This isn’t just the opening. It’s the whole film which moves at a solid speed from start to finish, uninterested in whatever you think Mother Superior is about (which is a lot) and laser-focused on getting to the end. […]


Director Marie Alice Wolfszahn’s Mother Superior has taken best feature in the main competition at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival with the abortion-focused anthology Give Me An A garnering the Gold Audience Award during the seventh edition of the festival. 

Other main competition jury prize winners at BHFF, which ran from Oct. 13-20 with events held in Williamsburg and Prospect Park, included Wolfszahn for best director, Megalomaniac’s Eline Schumacher for best performance and a special jury mention for the Paolo Strippoli-directed Flowing.

The main competition jury, which was comprised of filmmaker Zach Clark, HuffPost Senior Culture Editor Candice Frederick and author Kate Robertson, lauded Mother Superior — a directorial debut from the Austrian Wolfszahn — as “a thoughtfully crafted folk story exploring the völkisch occult with a captivating aesthetic indebted to the gothic tradition and tight editing, each frame carefully considered.” 

The director thanked the jury for the honor, noting that she feels “very humbled to be recognized among such an incredible selection” of films and directors before adding that the award “goes to my powerhouse team and cast” for “their inspiration, passion, sweat and determination.”


MURMANSK OBLAST is an important Naval Base and hosts the headquarters of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy. The ice-breaker Lenin, part of the atomic fleet, is lying at Murmansk’s port. Alyosha, an enormous statue of a soldier, is watching over it. At this time of year darkness does not exist and the sun performs a six hour long set-and-rise-spectacle. 

The Kola Superdeep Borehole is located near the Norwegian border - a scientific drilling project of the Soviet Union and the deepest borehole ever drilled - over 12km deep, lying in ruins today. We were lucky enough to meet the Geologist Yuri Pavlovich Smirnov, who shared his memories with us about the research project and the past during a misty night at the borehole.

In a remote village on the coast, several hours on muddy offroads away, there is a Marine Biology Institute - the old house is peacefully sleeping while moss grows over the laboratory-grounds. Its windows are facing the new buildings on the opposite side of the bay where the Algaeologist Mikhail Vladimirovich Makarov continues his father’s research and is running a project to clean the ocean from oil. 

“Some things might cease to exist but science will always move forward.”

Photos by M.A.B.-W.


Rustavi’s Steel Factory premises are enormous, almost an entire city by itself. Some areas are abandoned due to a fire that took place many years ago. In other parts there are works still going on, the company was so kind to let us explore their grounds. We will go back and shoot there for SOVIETOPIA.

Photos by M.A.B.-W.