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Distant Fortune

Distant Fortune film posterIn Distant Fortune filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz chronicles the exploits of several young German volunteers in Bangladesh just as the country is going through some very turbulent times.

In his latest documentary film, Dill-Riaz creates a sensible and intimate portrayal of a group of young people who leave home to dive head-first into a culture that is new and alien to them. The volunteer’s youthful idealism is hit hard by an unrelenting reality that shows quite plainly how two very different worlds collide.

Distant Fortune will celebrate its premiere on March 7 at 18:00 at the Kino Moviemento in Berlin-Kreuzberg, Germany. The film will then be screened in 11 different German cities as part of a nationwide movie tour. Distant Fortune will first air on March 15 at 22:00 on the German TV channel 3sat.

Eight young men and women from Germany travel to Bangladesh to volunteer as development workers: Rosa, Felix, Anna, Denis, Carolin, Moritz, Michelle and Julian. “Why exactly did these young people pick Bangladesh?” filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz asked himself.

He is no stranger to leaving home behind. He left decades ago, but his trip took him the other way around – from Bangladesh to the “country of of the poets and thinkers” as he likes to say. At the time, he had four years of intense preparation under his belt. He learned the language. He studied German culture. Twenty years later, Shaheen Dill-Riaz still lives in Germany. Any yet he still doesn’t dare to say he really knows the German people that well.1

These days, the youDistant Fortuneng volunteers hardly have any time to prepare. They may have two to three months to familiarize themselves with the country, its people and their culture. And then it’s time to board the plane to Bangladesh, where they’ll be working as volunteers for a whole year.

“How are they doing it?” is the most burning question the filmmaker has.

How will the volunteers get by in a country for a year without speaking the native language? How do they deal with the doubts and fears that a year-long stay in a foreign country most likely entails? What do people in Bangladesh think about these young volunteers and their contribution to the local communities? And what do the volunteers bring back with them?

With these questions in mind Shaheen Dill-Riaz invites the audience to join him on a cinematic and personal journey as the protagonists take their first steps into an unknown world.

Distant Fortune movie tour dates

The movie tour is organized by NETZ-Bangladesch, a German NGO that supports capacity building projects in Bangladesh. Each screening is followed by a Q&A with director Shaheen Dill-Riaz.

Film details

Title: Distant Fortune / Fernglück
Release date: March 7, 2015
TV premiere: March 15, 2015, 22:00
Length: 91 min
Format: HD
Production: Mayalok Filmproduktion


Distant Fortune Teaser on 3sat
Distant Fortune at


Movie tour official flyer
Distant Fortune photos