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A film by Christian Johannes Koch & Jonas Matauschek

While one of the last German coal mines is about to close, the film WE WERE KUMPS follows several miners on their tragicomic search for a new purpose in life.


“I have no idea what my life would have been like if I had had another job. But now mining is a part of me,” says Martina, a trans woman and the only woman who has ever worked in Germany’s hard coal mining industry. Today she works in salt mining.

As their former buddies descend into the dark tunnels for their last shift, you see their faces blackened by coal dust one last time, then they say goodbye to colleagues who have become friends. For them, the future means reorientation, new jobs, new hobbies. “Locke” and his best friend “Langer” set off for France in a motorhome, looking for the sea.

The film offers a breathtakingly beautiful documentary narrative about the past underground and the beginning of the rest of life. The film explores themes such as reorientation, friendship, tolerance and courage.

Filming took place in Ibbenbüren, Hamm, Essen, Capelle (Nordkirchen), Fulda and the surrounding area as well as in northern France.

Both directors are present.