Small Planets

documentary, 96 minutes, colour, 2018
BelDocs, Serbia 2018

»small planets« is a discovery to remote places, of which you wouldn´t believe exist at all. They are located in Spain, Italy, Iceland, Spitsbergen and Naples. Right in the middle and yet outside, they are exemplary of a life behind invisible walls. They raise questions. Which walls  do separate the ones from the others? What is the impact on those people experiencing it, and who’s in and who’s out?

  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Chines (Mandarin)
  • Icelandic
  • French
  • English
  • Sinhala

  • German
  • English


The selected locations are symbolic for five different forms of isolation. To reach those places, one has to overcome obstacles. One has to cross oceans, overcome fears and prejudices. One has to pass control stations, cross cultural barriers or just open the eyes.

The 3.5 km ² island of Grimsey lies 41 kilometers off the main island of Iceland, in the middle of the harsh Greenland Sea. It is inhabited by scarcely 100 residents. The main source of income is fishing. There is neither a doctor nor a priest. If the children want to attend a higher school, they must leave the island and move to the main island at an age of 12.

Well hidden behind steep mountain ridges, surrounded by a wall three miles long and three meters high, lies the Leprosy Sanatorium San Francisco de Borja, barely 20 kilometers away from the spanish holiday beaches of the Costa Blanca. In the leprosy sanatorium, that was originally designed for 400 patients, 62 former patients are still alive today.

At the archipelago of Spitzbergen, only 1.231 km from the North Pole, there is one of the most northern human settlements of the world: Ny-Ålesund. The location houses the „biggest laboratory of the modern Arctic research“; it can only be reached by ship during the ice free period or by plane. Just a handful of people are organizing the life and the work of polar researchers on the german-french research station AWIPEV throughout the year.

“Io non ti tocco, tu non mi Tocchi” (“I will not touch you and you don´t touch me “), is the motto of italies largest Sri-Lankan community in Naples. Narrow streets and alleys, crammed with people, Sinhalese characters on the walls, deafening noise. Around 7,000 Sinhalese live in the “Vicolo Francesco Correra,” right in the middle of the historic center of Naples. This aera of Naples is known as “il Cavone” (“the big cave”), characterized by great poverty. Naples, the unofficial capital of the Camorra is infamous for its high crime rate. Seemingly unimpressed by these circumstances, the Sinhalese have created their own little Sri Lanka. Strong cultural barriers protect themselves and their children from the negative influences of their environment.

Selected for Berlinale Talents Doc Station 2010

Developed in the framework of Docu-Regio

Developed the support of Sources 2

in Cooperation with Goethe-Institut

Film Fundings

Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig Holstein

nordmedia-Film und Mediengesellschaft Niedersachsen / Bremen mbH

HessenFilm und Medien


director: Dirk Manthey
producer: Dirk Manthey & Kurt Otterbacher
cinematographer: Sebastian Bock
sound, direct: Peter Stein
editor: Ramon Raoul Urselmann
executive Producer: Dirk Manthey & Mathias Kraemer
VFX: Sebastian Harnack
Titledesign: Johannes Matern
Sounddesign / final mix: Roman Vehlken (Freudenhammer Tonstudios)
Color correction / Mastering: Ronney Afortou Pictofilm)
Music: Matthias Koeninger, Ulrich Kodjo Wendt, Uli Kringler
production companies: dirk manthey film ug & strandfilm Produktions GmbH


Michelle Barbin, Bryndis Bjarna, Pavel Bogdanovic, Karl-Heinz Dellwo, Christian Elena, Marta Figueras, Cora Franke, Martin Heckmann, Philipp Jacobs, Joachim Kühn, Claire Lewis, Rachel Lysaght, Birgit Manthey, Patricia Menacho, Mia Munck Bruns, Jutta Nickel, Carles Pastor, Luca Sandrucci, Sophie Schoukens, Peter Stockhaus, Saju Thundiyill, Marta Iza de la Torre Peter Woditsch und allen Beteiligten aus Grimsey, Fontilles, Ny Alesund und Grimsey


Benjamin Wüpper, Frank Kappes, Folke Mehrtens, Carmen Morese, Johanna Wand, Salvatore Puglisi, Giuseppe Montuono, Marissa Moll, Yolanda Sanchis, Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir (Gagga), Marieanne Bergmann, Eva Hubert, Maria Köpf, Petra Schleuning, Jochen Coldeway, Christiane Leonhardt, Andreas Bauer, Beate Baum
Michael Seeber, Renate Gompper, Marion Gompper, Alessandro Negrini, Heilika Pikkov, Alba Sotorra, Trond Bredde Andersen, Sirrka Möller, Kathrin Brinkman, David Wingate, Gabriella Angheleddu, Oscar Manthey, Jacopo Asam,
Cinegate, Goethe Institut Neapel, GTV, Telefonia Sanjanni, St. Francesco´s College, Teravadi Buddhist Viharaya, Sarasvathi Super Marckett, Napoli, Take Away Specialità Cingalesi, Napoli, Alfred-Wegener-Institut, AWIPEV, KINGS BAY, Chinese Arctic Yellow River Station, Restaurant Breitengrad, Il giardino liberato, fontilles salud + desarollo

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