When We Leave: Directed, Written by Feo Aladag–Festival Winner

When We Leave (Die Fremde), directed and written by Feo Aladag. (Germany).


Winner receives $25,000 cash and the art award “Study: Northern City Renaissance” (Mass MoCA #379K) 2008, commissioned by Sting, created by Stephen Hannock. Sponsored by AKA Hotel Residences.  The award was presented by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal.


When We Leave examines one woman’s struggle for personal freedom.  It’s a theme that is often explored – but rarely told with such humanity, subtlety, craftsmanship or immediacy, as in this winning entry.


When We Leave is a riveting and heartbreaking story of a woman trapped in an abusive relationship, who must not only free herself from that marriage, but also the cultural prejudices and judgments that would keep her there.


Feo Aladag built the nuances of her film over a six year period.  She rehearsed her actors for seven months.  She immersed herself in every detail of a culture that is revealed to us in remarkable detail.  The result is a film that balances complex social issues with honest human yearnings.  Through the brutality, When We Leave is also a story of tenderness, the struggle for compassion, the inexorable pull of family and the need to love and be loved.