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DRIFTING TO LIFE - Documentary Promo

The film tells the story of the realization of a dream of a group of German twenty-year-olds who decide to save the migrants in the Mediterranean. With this aim, they found the Jugend Rettet NGO (non-governmental organization) in 2015 and buy a boat with the money collected from crowdfunding. Jakob, the founder of the NGO, is twenty years old and the one with the dreams behind the project. The Jugend Rettet bought the Iuventa in the spring of 2016 and in July of the same year the first rescue operations were set up. On the first fifteen-day mission, 2,060 people were rescued from possible shipwrecks.

Video information
Directed by Michele Cinque
Video Language en
Produced Feb 01, 2017
Published Feb 01, 2017
Production Company Lazy / Raw-News
Distributor Raw-News

Full Description



Documentary length: 21 minutes

Style: character driven and visual narration

Language: English with English subtitles

format: 2K / Full HD

Status: 90% of shooting completed

Estimated finish time: shooting on March 2017, Editing on May 2017




The film moves between Berlin and the mission of the ship Iuventa off the Libyan coast, and want to tells the incredible stories that the Iuventa and its crew encountered along the way of carry out migrant rescue operations without stopping, with some very tragic moments.


The character


The film is narrated through the eyes of Jakob who organizes the first mission and carries the burden and the responsibility of this story. The very weight of this burden emerges in the sequences shot in Berlin after the mission was over, that bring us to the heart of the political questions, to the clash between a man with a dream, his idea, and reality. Jakob is one of the protagonists among several other main characters but he gradually comes to represent the emotional aspects of the story.





The focus

Through the narration of the story of Jakob and the Jugend Rettet, the film deals with one of the most pressing problems of modern times - migration. Drifting to Life narrates the construction and the realization of one of the most innovative and symbolic humanitarian operations of the last decades. The film begins and ends in Berlin where this idea was first born and where inevitably it will come to clash with a Europe that is increasingly split in the face of the crisis of the migrants and the frontiers. While investigating the political and social backdrop to this crisis, Drifting to life starts with the dreams of a group of youths from Berlin who instead of going to university have decided to invest all their energies and enthusiasm in one of the most symbolic projects of our times. The focus of this story is precisely on these young people and the possibilities that maybe still exist of changing the world starting from an idea.


Drifting to Life relates the experience of the first voyage of the Iuventa but does not limit itself to the waters of the Mediterranean. The work of the team of Jugend Rettet and the activity backstage in Berlin is explored to narrate the light and dark areas of this unique utopian humanitarian topic realized by a movement of young Europeans.


Visual approach and structure

Drifting to life is shot in the style of an observant documentary film that adapted itself to reality in order to relate it in the best way.

The narrative structure is built on the sequences shot with live recording of the protagonists of this story. The deck of the Iuventa, teeming with sub-Saharian migrants from Syria, Nigeria, Bengal, Morocco and Libya, represents a unique place in which a short circuit is created, emerging from the encounter between young Europeans and young migrants. The cine-camera follows these conversations with a sensitive approach, and allows us to get a glimpse of the personal stories of those who cross the seas to get to Europe.

An intimate and poetic narrative line is developed with Jacob, the protagonist, in alternate sequences moving between Berlin and the sea, which constitutes the emotional backbone of the story. The film does not limit itself to showing the lights, the obvious, open aspects, but also investigates the boundaries and the shady areas of an operation that started with the dream of a nineteen-year-old boy. The clash between the dreams of youth and the awakening of awareness that comes with the passage to adulthood is represented in the figure of Jakob. On one hand, he portrays an illusion, conscious and capable of modelling reality; on the other hand, the disenchantment which every man experiences in facing the intrinsic compromises of reality. Through the utopian journey of the Iuventa the shadowy aspects emerge of one of the humanitarian problems for which Europe must find a solution, the same aspects which in some ways are putting the very idea itself of Europe in jeopardy.




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