Deutschland 2006 – Director: Caterina Woj – Original language: German – Subtitles: English


Our Award Winner!

It is always difficult to understand the death of a child, especially when the death appears to have been caused by the very people who are supposed to be protecting them. Caterina Woj's sensitive film makes such an attempt at understanding, with an examination of the tragic case of Dennis Bittner, just six years old when he died a victim of sustained abuse, neglect and malnutrition.

Dennis' corpse was found in a freezer at the Bittner home in Cottbus, East Germany, two and a half years after his death, and his parents Angelika and Falk Bittner were arrested on suspicion of murder. Woj pieces together the story of Dennis' short life through extensive interviews with the child's parents, which are shown alongside excerpts from court proceedings and medical reports.

While Falk just shakes his head, it is Angelika who sheds some light on the circumstances that led to Dennis’ fate. This was a family in desperate need of help, long before the death of one of their ten children. The Bittner case is a horrifying tale of human failing and the failings of the institutions whose intervention could perhaps have prevented the demise of a six-year-old boy.

Award: The Outstanding Documentary Film Award (sponsored by BLM), DOK.FEST 2007

English/Original Title: The Bittner Case. Writer: Caterina Woj. Camera: Jean-Luc Tinfiche, Michael Lange, Kai-Uwe Schulenburg. Sound: Jens Grumpelt, Stephan Marche. Editing: Michaela Stasch. Production: Caterina Woj Filmproduktion. Producer: Caterina Woj. Length: 86 min.