Sleeping Sickness 

Sleeping Sickness

Ebbo and Vera Velten have been living in Africa for a long time. Ebbo is managing a sleeping sickness program. His work is fulfilling. In contrast, Vera feels increasingly uncomfortable with her life in the expat community of Yaounde, and the separation from her daughter Helen, 14, who is attending boarding school in Germany.

Ebbo Velten has to give up his life in Africa or he loses the woman he loves. But he now feels like a stranger in Europe. His fear of returning increases day by day.

Years later. Alex Nzila, a young French doctor of Congolese origin, travels to Cameroon to evaluate a development project. He hasn’t been to Africa for a long time. But instead of finding new prospects, he encounters a destructive, lost man: like a phantom, Ebbo slips away from his evaluator.

Awards: Silver Bear for Best Director, Berlinale 2011

Directed by 

Ulrich Köhler

Written by 

Ulrich Köhler

Original Title 


  • Year 
  • 2011
  • Length 
  • 91'
  • Language 
  • French, German, English
  • World Sales 
  • The Match Factory
  • Distributor 
  • Wild Bunch Benelux
  • Cast 
  • Pierre Bokma, Jean-Cristophe Folly, Jenny Schily, Hippolyte Girardot, Maria Elise Miller, Sava Lolov
  • Producer(s) 
  • Komplizen Film (Germany),
  • Director of Photography 
  • Patrick Orth
  • Editor 
  • Katharina Wartena
  • Casting 
  • Kris Portier de Bellair, Ulrike M
  • Sound design 
  • Julien Sicart
  • Art Direction 
  • Jochen Dehn

    Credits are not contractual