Making Heart of Fire

During the summer of 2007, I traveled to Kenya with fellow students Nadine Schnappinger and Nicola Hens, for my Master of Fine Arts degree. There we documented Luigi Falorni’s feature film “Heart of Fire ” for two and a half months throughout Kenya’s vast landscape. From the city slums of Nairobi to the desert near the Sudan border, we witnessed a highly unusual film shoot. The German production was threatened by the Eritrean secret service at its casting in Nairobi. Three days before the shoot 80% of its cast left the production due to death threats. The team was forced to cast and train non-actors from the UN protected refugee camp Kakuma.  It was a production up against all political odds. However, Falorni, his team, and the refugees who acted in the film, demonstrated a unique spiritual endurance. My objective with the documentary was to capture the essence of making films despite intense political repercussions. I wanted to unfurl the story of people who risked their lives to make the feature film “Heart of Fire” possible.

The rights to this film belong to the TV broadcasters Bayerischer Rundfunk and Arte. If you would like to see the film please contact me personally at

  • Running Time: 45 minutes
  • Country: Canada/Germany
  • Languages: German, English, Amharic
  • Year: 2009



Carla B. Guttmann

Burkert_Bareiss Filmproduktion
Bauhaus University Weimar
Senator Filmproduktion

Nadine Schnappinger

Nicola Hens

Daniel Che Hermann

Senait Mehari
Peter Horsch

Sound Mix
Marc Meusinger

Johannes Deich

Making Of

2007 marked a controversial year for the Eritrean born singer-songwriter Senait Mehari. Her autobiography “Heart of Fire” written in current her home in Hamburg, describes her experiences as a child soldier in the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF). Despite accusations of fraudulence by the Eritrean government, Burkert Bareiss Filmproduktion in Munich decided to tell her harrowing story. My documentary is the film about the German production and the retelling of her life as a child soldier in 1970.


Premiere at Back-Up Festival, Weimar, June 2008
Nomination for Best Camera, Women’s Film Festival Cologne/ Dortmund 2009

Bayerischen Rundfunk (BR) 2009 & 2011

DVD Distribution
Beta Film Gmbh, release January 2009