Manuel Down Under

ZDF/ARTE, 2018, 5×26 min.

Manuel Zube and Julius Werner are from Kiel and dream of backpacking across Australia. What makes them different is that Manuel has Down syndrome. Julius works with handicapped  people and has known Manuel for a long time. “Manuel Down Under” follows the two-month road trip of the two, during which they learn a lot about themselves and about inclusion on the fifth continent.

“Manuel Down Under” is a 5-part series about a special friendship. And a plea for dismantling prejudices towards people with disabilities. The director and cinematographer Carsten Stormer, who has often worked as a war reporter, is on an unusual mission this time. Armed with his camera, he has accompanied Julius and Manuel from Melbourne, through the Outback, all the way to Brisbane. In the course of the journey, Manuel has to cope with countless challenges: meeting new people, speaking English, climbing mountains and sleeping beneath the stars.

An important question asked by this multi-part series is whether it is possible to overcome the boundaries imposed by a disability, and how this can be achieved. Manuel meets people who have disabilities themselves and who have accomplished some extraordinary things. They act on stage, play music at major festivals or run their own businesses. Together with Manuel and Julius, we learn a lot about Australia in entertaining ways – and even more about inclusion, but also about the meaning of friendship. Love and home sickness, tears of joy and leaps of exaltation – what Manuel and Julius experience on their journey is the entire gamut of emotions, in front of the spectacular backdrop of Australia.

Written and directed by: Carsten Stormer, Simone Owczarek
ZDF /Arte Editor: Linde Dehner
Producer: Nadja Frenz
Executive producers: Sandra Maischberger und OnnO Ehlers
Production company: Vincent TV