Life is not a competition, but I’m winning




The documentary film form has a preference for showing their protagonists while suffering. Despite all the good intentions, such narratives tend to exploit the protagonists‘ experiences, as they are used for the dramaturgical centre of a film. Conflict drives the story. But by restricting a film to the description of pain, the cinematic stage is often given to the forces causing these painful circumstances in the first place.

In »Life is not a competition, but I’m winning« it was crucial for us to not use the protagonists’ suffering to build a suspenseful narrative. Instead, utopian moments of collective togetherness slowly weave themselves into the lives of the protagonists as well as into the visual composition of our images. Suffering and pain merge into a vision of queer community that builds a powerful counterpart to the violence that was committed.


The crew of this project was made up of women and queer people only – not only for reasons of representation, but also because the incorporation of all participants’ experiences was essential for our project.



If history is written by the victors, where does that leave those who were never allowed to be part of the game? A collective of queer athletes enters the Olympic Stadium in Athens and sets out to honor those who were excluded from standing on the winners’ podium. They meet Amanda Reiter, a trans marathon runner who has to struggle with the prejudices of sports organizers and Annet Negesa, a 800m runner who was urged by the international sports federations to undergo hormone-altering surgery. Together they create a radical utopia far from the rigid gender rules in competitive sports.

Crew & Cast


directed by Julia Fuhr Mann  cinematography Caroline Spreitzenbart  sound design Cornelia Böhm  gaffer Janne Ebel  1st AC Nadja Krüger  on-set sound Rhys Anderson  costume design Angela Queins  set design Sonja Schreiber, Mireia Vila Soriano  make-up artist Mai Strathmann  editing Merit Giesen, Melanie Jilg  vfx artists Isabelle Kramer, Fabian Peitzsch  graphic design Anna Lind Haugaard  dramaturgical advice Lena Hatebur, Susanne Bieger  3sat/ZDF Katya Mader  producer Melissa Byrne  production Sophie Ahrens, Fabian Altenried, Kristof Gerega 


with Annet Negesa, Amanda Reiter, Caitlin Fisher, Daniel Marin Medina, Chun Mei Tan, Eva Maria Jost, Jakob Levi Stahlberg, Oumou Aidara, Greta Graf


a production of Schuldenberg Films in cooperation with University of Television and Film Munich and ZDF/3sat  funded by FFF Bayern  winner of ARRI postproduction award  winner of British Pathé Archive Award  part of Locarno First Look  part of Into the Wild Mentoring


© Schuldenberg FilmsUniversity of Television and Film Munich / ZDF / 2023





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Filmkritik: Kino-Zeit, Magazin für Filmkritik

Filmkritik: Filmstarts, Filmmagazin

Filmkritik: Filmlöwin, Feministisches Filmmagazin

Film Review: The Pop Break, Digital pop culture magazine

Film Review: Business Doc Europe, Magazine for the European documentary trade

Film Review: The Hollywood Reporter, Digital and print magazine

Film Review: Screen Daily, Independent film trade publication

Interview: Deutschlandfunk Corso, Radiomagazin für Kunst und Pop

Interview: Fred Film Radio, Radio station

Podcast: Framing, Filmpodcast von

Portrait: Tagesspiegel, Berliner Tageszeitung

Jugendbildung: Vision Kino, Netzwerk für Film- und Medienkompetenz


For news and upcoming screenings follow us on –––




2023, Venice International Film Festival, Settimana della Critica – World Premiere

2023, Filmfest Hamburg – German Premiere

2023, First Steps Awards – Award for Best Cinematography

2023, Filmfest Osnabrück – Opening Film

2023, Queer Film Festival Munich – Official Selection

2023, Hamburg International Queer Film Festival – Official Selection

2023, MIX Copenhagen – Danish Premiere

2023, DocLisboa – Portuguese Premiere

2023, Queerfilm Festival Bremen – Official Selection

2023, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival – Estonian Premiere

2023Braunschweig International Film Festival – Official Selection

2023, PinkPanorama Filmfestival Luzern – Swiss Premiere

2023, Europa Cinema al Femminile Naples – Official Selection

2023, Around the World in 14 Films – Berlin Premiere



julia fuhr mann –– queer feminist film maker –– film "life is not a competition, but I'm winning - laurels