Violently Happy

Violently Happy

Paola Calvo

For her documentary Violently Happy, Paola Calvo accompanied the former dancer Felix Ruckert, whose choreographies coused irritation in the art business and who founded the Berlin project Schwelle 7. For experiments in BDSM, meditation and creative bodywork, this centre is a protected space for the participants and their notions of sexuality and pain. A courageous, insightful lm that shows how liberating the testing of power structures and the acting out of sexual fantasies can be in the game of dominance and submission.

Jury Statement:
»Violently Happy offers us an insight into what is for most people an alien world of pain, controlled violence and alternative sexuality. Paola’s participatory perspective allows us to immerse ourselves in a new realm, not pornographic or voyeuristic, yet still explicit. The film invites us to follow the dramaturgy of the camera: it begins with images of bodies and increasingly discovers the sexes. This intimacy creates a new open space, and the audience is given time to discover it for themselves. The beauty of the images lives from the visual power of the cinematographer and her attitude, as well as the trust of the people in front of the camera given to Paola.«

Director / Cinematography

Paola Calvo


Paola Calvo, Grzegorz Muskala


Ginés Olivares


Christian Meyer


Felix Ruckert, Mara Morgen, Jana Scherle, Christine Borch


Lüthje Schneider Hörl Film, Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin


Zorro Film

Portrait of Paola Calvo

Paola Calvo

Born 1981 in Venezuela, Paola Calvo finished her bachelor’s degree in Media Studies at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. In 2006, she began studying cinematography at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin (dffb). In 2012, as co-director with Steffen Köhn, she made A Tale of Two Islands, a two-channel video installation that was shown in the Forum Expanded section at the Berlinale. In 2014, Calvo won the Best Cinematography Award at the New Berlin Film Award 2014 for The Visitor (directed by Katarina Schröter). Calvo’s dffb graduation film was Violently Happy, featuring her as director and cinematographer and co-produced with radio broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg.

Films by Paola Calvo (Cinematography)
The Visitor
2014 | A Tale of Two Islands 2012 | Gleisdreieck 2012 | Tell Me When 2010 | Geliebte 2009 | 35.000 Hours 2009