Berlin 1933, the day after the Reichstag fire, drag queen Hansi Sturm, devastated by his lover’s betrayal, must come to terms with the violently changing times while facing Nazi persecution.
We Are Dancers is based around a real person: Hansi Sturm. She was a drag queen who worked at the Eldorado Club in Berlin in the late 1920s. When Hitler and the Nazis came to power, Hansi (real name Hans) disappeared; what become of him is not known. Our story is based on fictionalised events of real history – a what if version of Hansi Sturm’s fate.
We are introduced to our story on the night of the 28th February 1933, the day after the Reichstag fire. The Nazis had been in power for less than a month before a young Dutch communist called Marinus van der Lubbe set fire to the Reichstag (Parliament) building as an act of protest against Hitler’s government. The entire building was destroyed, and the Nazis used this event as a pretext to implement far-reaching restrictions on the rights of citizens to assemble, have a free press, form political associations and criticise the government. It was also used as an opportunity to round up opponents of the regime and settle some old scores. Marinus Van der Lubbe would be tried and executed by guillotine.
With Nazism and other far-right beliefs taking a hold around the world again, we felt it was important to try and talk about queer history in the context of defiance. Many of the gains the LGBT community have won over the decades are fragile. We have seen in the US that they can easily be taken away. The threat the characters in We Are Dancers face in 1933 could easily be threats we all have to face in the coming years. For that reason, it is important to know our history and be ready to confront prejudice. While the Hansi in our film is a fictionalised imagining of the real Hansi Sturm, he represents the sacrifices made by queer people throughout history.
We hope that audiences can be inspired by Hansi.
Writer, Director & Producer: Joe Morris
Producer: Luz Alejandra Llano
Director of Photography: Kat Hynes Cecil
Associate Producer: Louise Marie Cooke
Production Manager: Katherine Battiston Rico
First Assistant Director: Margherita Catalani
Production Designer: Kian Altmann
Costume Designer: Holly Lees
Hair & Make-up Artist: Naomi Nicholson
Editor: Neil Fergusson
Music Composer: James Peter Moffatt
Sound Designer: Massimiliano Borghesi
Colourist: Liz Glennard
Translator: Fabian Wolff