Berlin, 2018. Maryam lives an independent life as a divorced mother of three girls. A coincidental encounter with Gabriel, who is serving time in prison and whom she barely knows, makes her aware of what she's been missing in her life. Maryam and Gabriel elope in an ardent love affair.

In meantime, she is dealing with everyday life - at work and at home with her children. The two of them are in search of happiness and grapple with the ideals and projections of themselves. In their yearning for one another, they attempt to fill an inner void. The affection they draw from one another turns into the measurement of their self-esteem.


Director: Henrika Kull

Genre: Romance, drama

Original title: Jibril

English title: Jibril

Country of production: Germany

Year of production: 2018

Length: 83 min.

Original language: German, Arabic

Subtitles: English

Color: color

Screening format: DCP 2K 1:1.85


Maryam – Susana Abdulmajid

Gabriel – Malik Adan

Sus – Doua Rahal

Sadah – Emna El-Aouni

Maggi – Regina Schulte am Hülse

Yara – Dikra Rahal

Priest – Tobias Müller-Monning

Khaled – Osama Hafiry

Mutter – Inaam Wali

Elin – Eliana Moral-Falke

Imam - Abdul Ahmin Kamouss


Scriptwriter: Henrika Kull

Director of photography: Carolina Steinbrecher

Editor: Henrika Kull

Sound: Tarek Soltani, Louis Marioth, Niklas Kammertöns

Sound mixing: Martin Steyer

Music: Dascha Dauenhauer

Producers: Henrika Kull, Sophie Lakow, Carolina Steinbrecher

Production company: Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF


Henrika Kull (1984) was born and raised in the Black Forest. She first completed her M.A. in Social Science, as she realized that she had to come closer to the people and their stories. She started to study film production in 2012 at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB). In 2014 Henrika started studying film directing at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF.

Her work comprises short documentaries, film-essays, and short fiction films. Her films are centered on the search for completion in the hyper-capitalistic post-social society. Her works were shown on various national and international film festivals.


Jibril (2018, feature film)

Rosinen / Cherry Pick (2016, fiction, short)

Absently Present (2015, documentary, short)

Rite Of Spring (2014, fiction, short)

Intimate Distance (2013, experimental documentary)


Longing, physicality and places of extreme social experience are themes which have always interested me. In 2011 my research took me into a prison for the first time. I wanted to know how the prisoners I met got by without intimacy, and what means they had found to satisfy their longings. I was interested in what form their sexuality took and how they managed to turn prison into a social environment. I kept returning, and over time found out that it's not the relatives in most cases who withdraw and become more distant as the sentence goes by, but that the prisoners themselves are often not able to bear the contact as time goes on. Most of them don't like talking about the outside, I imagine because of the deep fear that they are missing out on life.

Within this context I began to take an interest in the perspective of those waiting on the outside for someone to finish a prison sentence, and in 2015 shot my documentary Absently Present about Yasmin, a woman in a relationship with a prisoner. It seemed to me as though Yasmin's relationship was predominantly a projection. Of course, love stories are always part projection, but I had the feeling here that this aspect was reinforced by the prison factor and thought it would be exciting to explore this notion in a film.

Jibril is the image of Gabriel which Maryam creates, the ideal. He becomes her "invention", her adventure, and the fulfilment of her longing - I narrate the whole film from her perspective. For Gabriel, who has been in prison for three years, Maryam's appearance seems to offer a way out of social isolation, and she becomes a reflection of his longing. In her, however, he is confronted with a woman who is freer than he is.


For us as producers, the aim of our work on Jibril was always to create a film of the kind we have often looked for in vain on the German or European film markets - a film involving authentic characters and a modern, post-romantic love story which is both real and moving.

To many, prison may seem a bizarre location for the start of a romance, if anything a barrier to a love story, for Gabriel is on the inside and Maryam on the outside and they have no real way of sharing each other's daily lives and realities. However, this unusual setting offers a chance for Jibril to portray the love between Maryam and Gabriel movingly in a way that is free of clichés.

The director's work prior to this screenplay and her years of prison-based research enabled us to shoot parts of the film in a documentary style in a real prison in Butzbach, with real prisoners and the real prison chaplain as lay actors.

Our maxim was always to treat this feature film as much like a documentary as possible, both in terms of the images and in terms of the cast - hardly any of the actors had ever been in front of a camera before - and in our choice of locations and the way in which we used them. The decisions to work with an unusually small team and to dispense with a long financing and preproduction phase were also conscious moves.

Our film Jibril was created inside a very short period and involved close collaboration between all the departments, many of which consisted of the same people in various functions. The film's way of narrating the story is the way we want cinema to be: direct, independent and moving.


Susana Abdulmajid was born on the 7th of January in 1990. She received the Bachelor degree in Cultural Studies and Arts with a focus on theater and literature of the Middle East at the Freien Universität Berlin. Playing Maryam in Jibril is her first leading role as well as the first acting experience in front of the camera.


Malik Adan was born on the 14th of July in 1992 in Berlin. Though he had no professional training in acting, Adan has performed in various roles in German TV productions such as Tod einer Kadettin, Tatort, Grossstadtrevier and Falkenberg. Jibril is his first role on the big screen.


mm filmpresse – Sylvia Müller

Schliemannstr. 5

10437 Berlin / Germany

www.mm-filmpresse.de | mueller@mm-filmpresse.de | +40 (0)30 4171 5722


Pluto Film

Bayreuther Str. 9

D-10789 Berlin / Germany

www.plutofilm.de | info@plutofilm.de | +49 (0)30 2191 8220

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