TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Pelican Blood

Katrin Gebbe, Verena Gräfe-Höft



The horse trainer Wiebke (45) adopts Melva (5) from abroad, but soon she has to learn that the girl suffers from an attachment disorder and does not build an emotional connection to anybody around her. Melva constantly puts others in great danger, especially her older adoptive sister Nicola (9). After a neurologist explains that Melva will have life-long troubles and does not feel any empathy, Wiebke has to decide whether she is willing to keep her and risk Nicola’s well-being.
Wiebke starts a questionable treatment and becomes more and more obsessed with finding a solution for this dilemma. Wiebke’s unconventional behaviour is challenging for the people around her, especially her secret love affair Benedict (who is in his late thirties). Soon her friends are starting to withdraw themselves from her. Wiebke, more and more isolated, starts to believe that Melva is haunted by an evil spirit.
An ancient ritual involving exorcism and a great sacrifice seems the only way out.


“Pelican Blood” explores the nightmare vision of parenthood. It deals with the dynamic between technocracy and mythology, and combines the genres of personal drama and mystery.
The title refers to the Christian image of the mother pelican that feeds her dead offspring with her own blood and as a result brings them back to life. It became a metaphor for unconditional love and faith. Our protagonist, an adoptive mother, will as well cut her own unique and sacrificial path in order to heal her emotionally numb child.
Like my first feature “Nothing Bad Can Happen”, this film is inspired by true events but is transformed into a more elevated story that should raise questions. How do we treat members of our society who do not behave according to our moral and behavioural standards? What are we willing to sacrifice in order to reach our ideals and dreams?
We long for transcendence and a free will – but what is real? And should we care at all?

budget, distribution & sales

The estimated budget is around € 2.000.000. German TV co-production partner is SWR/ARTE. The script and development was funded by the Filmförderung Hamburg SchleswigHolstein. We are planning to co-produce with one or two East-European countries. Junafilm is currently taking meetings with German distributors and world sales agents.

A mother’s desperate quest to bond with her adopted child leads to an extreme choice.
Katrin Gebbe

Scriptwriter, Film Director

Verena Gräfe-Höft


production notes

original title

directed by
Katrin Gebbe

produced byJunafilm
Behringstraße 16b
22765, Hamburg

in co-production with
SWR/ARTE – Germany

total production budget
€ 2.000.000 €