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Writer & Director: Ilaria Di Carlo

Produced by Schuldenberg Films in co-production with Paradies Works & LHOOQ Films

13 Minutes / Experimental Documentary / Germany, Italy 2022

Arri Digital  / Colour / 2.35:1  / Stereo &  5.1 / no dialogue



Monolithic power plants; billowing columns of smoke; the backdrop of a red sun. Sirens is an experimental short documentary that captures Germany’s coal-fired power plants in their final years of generating energy. Shot entirely from helicopters, the film takes us on a journey through industrial wastelands, thus recalling the passage of Ulysses’ boat through the Sirens’ strait. An odyssey through the dystopian industrial world that has left a permanent mark on earth’s ecosphere.


Writer & Director: Ilaria Di Carlo

Producers: Sophie Ahrens, Fabian Altenried, Kristof Gerega

Co-Producers: Caroline Kox, Antonio De Luca, Ilaria Di Carlo

Music: Demetrio Castellucci

Film Editor: Sofia Angelina Machado

Director of Photography. Francisco Mece

Aerial Cinematographer: Christian Wiege, HD Skycam

Aerial Unit Technician: Oliver Ward

Pilot NRW: KMN Helicopter, Torben Koopmann

Pilot Brandenburg – Saxony: Aeroheli International, Dirk Franzke

Line Producer: Fabian Altenried

Dramaturg: Marko Milosavljevi

Production Manager: Marlene Götz

Production Assistant: Julia Franke

Location Scout: Charlotte Reibell

Drivers: Oona von Maydell, Selma Gültoprak

Postproduction Supervisor & DIT: Ethan Folk

VFX & Title Design: Sascha Töpfer

Image Postproduction: Volte Films

Colorist : Sergi Sánchez Rodriguez

Sound Supervisor: Antonio de Luca

 Re-Recording Mixer & Sound Editor: Ricardo Murga

Funded by 

Federal Government Commissioner for Culture & the Media (BKM), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB),                                        Film- und Medienstiftung NRW & German Federal Film Board (FFA)



Best Short Film – 40. Torino Film Festival, Italy

Jury Special Mention – 45. Drama Int. Short Film Festival, Drama, Greece

Wagnis Prize – 22. Flensburg Short Film Festival, Germany

Grand Prix – 27. Split Film Festival, Split, Croatia



48th Clermont Ferrand Int. Short Film Festival, Clermont Ferrand, France

34th Filmfest Dresden, Dresden, Germany

45th Drama Int. Short Film Festival, Jury Special Mention, Drama, Greece

31st Filmkunstfest MV, Schwerin, Germany

27th Split International Festival of New Cinema, Split, Croatia

51st Montreal Festival of New Cinema, Montreal, Quebec

12th International Short Film Festival of Cyprus, Cyprus

48th FILMETS Badalona Film Festival, Barcelona, Spain

16th Short Film Festival Cologne, Cologne, Germany

36th Braunschweig International Film Festival, Braunschweig, Germany


Sirens is a continuation of my artistic research on documenting architecture and landscapes employed in the construction of narratives. The film is a poetic attempt to reinterpret myth in our modern times. Aerial imagery of Germany’s industrial wastelands and their mesmerizing smoke and steam emissions show how the world dies in front of the lenses.  As sirens in Greek mythology, who lured sailors to destruction by the sweetness of their song, mastodons of smoke are seen as an embodiment of the ideals of industrial revolution, the age in which the promise of better living standards lurked humanity to depletion of natural resources, air and water pollution. The term “siren” is used both in ancient mythology and in contemporary language, to describe something that is simultaneously dangerous and fascinating. Such an aesthetic experience is also referred to as sublime, which has  gradually shifted from nature to technology, having the sense of awe and terror been transferred to factories, war machines and wastelands. While technology is an expression of the grandeur of the human intellect, we experience it more and more as a force that controls and threatens us. Technologies such as power stations and factories reflect our hope for the benefits they may bring as well as our fear of their uncontrollable, destructive potentials. Industrial landscapes are potent expressions of the unsustainable practices of the global economy that hold the sublime experience.