Exit: Leaving Extremism Behind

A film by Karen Winther

Norway/Germany/Sweden | 2018 | 85 minutes | Color | DVD | English/Norwegian/French/German/Danish | Subtitled | Order No. 191236

A former right-wing extremist explores why people join hate groups and what makes them decide to leave.

SYNOPSIS

EXIT is a personal and urgent look at the ways people legitimize hatred and the threats they face when they attempt to leave their radicalized worlds behind. Paralleling her own past as part of a violent right-wing organization with the experiences of other former extremists, filmmaker Karen Winther explores what makes someone join neo-Nazis, Jihadists or other hate groups, and what makes them decide to leave. Winther introduces us to Angela from the US and Ingo and Manuel from Germany, all ex-right-wing extremists who made the leap to abandon their movement and now must live isolated lives in hiding. In Denmark, we witness the other side of the spectrum when former violent left-wing extremist Søren shares the story of his life. Winther also travels to France to meet a French former jihadist. Through these intimate conversations, Winther examines how and why some radicalized people, when confronted with the realisation that everything they once firmly believed is wrong, gather the courage to embark on extraordinary journeys to turn their lives around.

PRESS

"An immensely valuable work for anyone wanting to understand the mindset of extremism and the possibility of rehabilitation."

CBS News

"EXIT includes that rarely seen perspective of women in a world and movement we largely associate with angry men. A sober look at an urgent and relevant topic, finding parallels between what is happening in Europe and U.S."

INDIEWIRE

"One of the 15 essential documentaries of 2018"

Metro

"EXIT draws a complex and nuanced picture of extremism and the way out - daring to lay bare the grim face of violence."

Modern Times Review

"A kind of rough edged masterpiece. At a time when it seemed that the world was growing darker, the film reminded me that people can change and it provided a little light."

Unseen Films

"This film excels in showing the humanity behind the extremism. The faults, the pain, the blind anger and how it’s easy to get involved with a group that simplifies those emotions into “us versus them."

Blacklisted

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Young Eyes Film Award, DOK Leipzig
  • Gedanken-Aufschluss Prize, DOK Leipzig
  • Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, DOK Leipzig
  • CPH:DOX
  • Doc NYC
  • DOK Leipzig
  • UNAFF - United Nations Association Film Festival
  • Love & Anarchy: Helsinki International Film Festival
  • Nordisk Panorama Malmö
  • International Documentary Festival Visioni dal mondo, Immagini dalla realtà
  • Dokufest IDF Prizren
  • Oslo Pix
  • Nordic Docs

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Karen Winther

Karen Winther was born in Norway in 1978 and graduated from the NFTS, National Film and Television School in 2012. Her first feature was her graduation film at NFTS, THE BETRAYAL, a personal film about her involvement in extremist groups in Norway in her teenage years. The film premiered at IDFA and received several awards. In her second feature EXIT, Karen continues to explore violent extremism from a personal angle and what can make extremists change. EXIT premiered at CPH DOX in 2018 and received a Special Mention at the Nordic Docs festival. (10/18)

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