Farewell to Rafael Henzel

Thursday, 26 March 2020

It was one of the highlights of last year’s festival: The Brazilian radio reporter Rafael Henzel came with his family to Berlin and told his moving story on stage during our festival inauguration at Babylon Cinema. Henzel was one of the six survivors of the plane crash with the Brazilian football team FC Chapecoense in Colombia at the end of 2016. The tragedy in which 71 people lost their lives spread all around the world and was retold by US filmmakers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist in the 11mm opening film OUR TEAM - NOSSA CHAPE, which was awarded the 11mm jury price.

Three days after returning from Germany, Rafael Henzel died of a heart attack in his hometown Chapecó during a football game with his friends. He was only 45 years old.

„When somebody survived such horrible accident, one somehow assumes that this person must be immortal,“ 11mm producer Ina Bargmann wrote at that time. And that is exactly the impression he made on us: joyful, full of energy, a life-affirming witness to a horrible disaster, campaigning everywhere in the world to appreciate every single moment in life.

And that is how we will keep him in our hearts.