„Finally somebody gives another point of view to a topic that had been so much in the news like immigration to Europe. The curiosity of Melanie and her very personal storytelling made it a very remarkable film.“
Raul Nino Zambrano, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2017


Frustrated by a corrupt system, Yves leaves his home in Cameroon to try his fortune in Europe. But to get there is more difficult than expected. Yves has been on the road for eight years – and is close to failing. Back home are the people who mean the most to him: his sister Annie, who has been holding the family together since Yves left, his little brother, waiting for Yves to take him to Europe, and his father, who expects him to lead the family to a better life. A film about family, the dream of Europe and the impossibility of giving up.


A documentary by Melanie Gärtner


© 2017 m-eilenweit & stoked film, 79 min


written and directed
Melanie Gärtner

director of cinematography
Pola Sell, Melanie Gärtner

Roger Mboupda, Romeo Zaf

Christine Niehoff, Mirja Gerle

Ludwig Kuckartz

Siriki Coulibaly

Serge Alain Nanfang Ouanko

Sebastian Popp, Robert Malzahn

service production Cameroon
Eloi Bela Ndzana

production assistent
Romeo Zaf

color grading
Tilman Friz

re-recording mixer
Bernhard Leimbrock

sound editor
Max Wanko, Bernhard Leimbrock

HessenFilm und Medien, Brot für die Welt

Director's Note

The story of this film began in 2010. By that time I was shooting in the spanish exclave of Ceuta with people, who had managed the dangerous journey to come to Europe. One of them was Yves from Cameroun.

Two years later I received a message from him. He had been expulsed and sent back to Cameroun. Now he was back in Morroco and wanted to try it again to make into Spain. I set out to Morocco and met him in the forests around the fence of Ceuta. The two following years I spent with escorting Yves in Morroco. I plunged into the whirl of events, witnessed the brutality of the moroccan police, received phone calls from dinguees at sea, got to know people, who shouldn’t been alive anymore a few days later. Yvea was familiar with all these circumstance in Morocco, knew about his poor opportunities to gain a foothold in Europe. But nontheless, all these seemed to be better than to risk a new start back in Cameroon. Why?

To find it out, I travelled to Cameroun in 2014. There, I got to know Yves’ family. That they would become the mayor theme of my film, I realized much later, when I showed Yves their  pictures. Never before I had seen a such brightness in his eyes. He was deeply moved, and my concept oft he film experienced an unexpected twist. In the role of a messenger I commuted between the world of the hopeful family in Cameroun and Yves, who didn’t have the heard to tell them openly, that his mission in Europe didn’t seem to be fulfilled. Impossible to solve this dilemma, just as a returning with dignity.

Yves’ story is about leaving and staying, about falling and standing up,  about the sweetness of being loved and bitterness of unfulfilled expectations.

Melanie Gärtner


Melanie Gärtner, Portrait

Melanie Gärtner studied anthropology, literature an journalism in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin. Since 2010 she acts under the label of m-eilenweit as freelance filmmaker and author. One of her main topics is migration, especially from Africa.

Her first work, the documentary “The Land in Between”, has been honoured several times. In addition tot he film she released the book “Grenzen am Horizont”, reports about the protagonists’ backstories of her film. “Yves’ Promise” is her first full-length documentary.