Skip navigation








Jana Papenbroock | Germany 2016 | 76 Min. | OmeU

Saturday, 06.05.2017, 16:30 tickets
Kino De France | Saal 1

Filmmaker present

This film is nominated for the Excellence in Visual Anthropology Award (EVA).


WHY IS MR W. LAUGHING? is a portrait of three members of an atelier community of artists with different disabilities. Questioning the usual asymmetry of inclusion (meaning that often there is just a monologue about and not a dialogue with the persons concerned), the film is a cinematic experiment that politicizes boundary-practices in its form and content: Rather than making a film about inclusion, the film itself was produced inclusively. In an open collaborative journey through the pictorial worlds of the three artists, a focus was set on their aesthetic obsessions and perspectives through their own videography. Their spontaneous and sometimes gratuitous imagery isn’t organized by a boosted ego at its center but displays subjectivity as social experience in space. As a result of the collaborative approach, the film is an eclectic mix of materials and techniques, interview situations interwoven with observational episodes, auto-fiction and performance, home videos of the protagonists and their own musical compositions. The juxtaposition of life and art doesn’t apply for the three who are artists in order to participate in communities. Art for them is not a breakaway dream from normality, but the quintessence of bourgeois work that enables them a status as citizens. This is one of the many realizations that occurred during the work on this film, -that most ideas about disability and art brut are romanticizing and excluding misconceptions.


JANA PAPENBROOCK studied art and film in Hamburg, Paris and Cologne where she completed her diploma at the Academy of Media Arts in 2010 with an essay film about outcasts living on the borders of Germany. Since then she has been working as a freelance author and filmmaker based in Berlin. Why is Mr W. Laughing? is her documentary feature debut.


  • 2014 The Movement of the Planets 9min
  • 2014 Sun Swallow 8min
  • 2012 Flash Frames 16min
  • 2011 My Mystical Self 7min
  • 2010 Was Keiner Weiß 51min
  • 2010 Sirenen 7min 


  • This Human World Documentary Film Festival 2016
  • Visions du Réel April 2017