Based on a true story, Desire Will Set You Free is a feature-length narrative film that portrays artistic and marginalized life in contemporary Berlin.
Ezra, an American writer of Palestinian and Israeli parentage living in Berlin, spends his days clubbing, taking drugs, having pseudo-philosophical conversations and wanting to be more punk, whilst wishing he wrote more. Most of his time is spent with his privileged dark, but witty friend Catharine, who has an unsettling fetish for Nazi paraphernalia. As the two of them look for their next excitement fix, they end up in one of Berlin’s famous gay hustler bars.
Almost on a dare Ezra meets Sasha, a Russian immigrant working as an escort. Ezra pulls Sasha on a journey through Berlin’s underground and queer scenes. He discovers the stomping ground for hedonism and exploration. He discovers remnants of WWII, The Weimar Republic, Bowie and the present day party kids. Much like taking a drug itself, the line between reality and desire is blurred in the land of excess. What starts out as a seemingly conventional gay relationship reveals itself as more complex and dynamic as their true inner desires are revealed.
Filmed entirely in Berlin, the film uses real locations where many Berlin based personali- ties give performances some playing themselves. These include ‘Godmother of Punk’ Nina Hagen as Oracle, cult musician and performance artist Peaches, along with Rosa Von Praunheim, Rummelsnuff, Blood Orange, and Einstuerzende Neubauten and Blixa Bargeld (formerly of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds).
Awards & Selected Screenings
Best Soundtrack, Chicago International Movie and Music Festival
East End Film Festival, London, UK
Sled Island Music & Arts Festival, Calgary, Canada
Chicago International Movie and Music Festival
Boston LGBT Film Festival (Wicked Queer)
Puerto Vallarta as part of the FICG film festival
Guadalajara International Film Festival (Competition)
Schwule-Filmtage Mannheim, Germany (Opening Night Film)
!f Istanbul Independent Film Festival
Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis January 2016 (Competition Wettbewerb) German Premiere
Florence Queer Festival Nov. 11 2015 (Opening Night film)
Montreal World Film Festival August 2015 (World Premiere)