Colonia (film)

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Colonia poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFlorian Gallenberger
Produced by
Written by
  • Torsten Wenzel
  • Florian Gallenberger
Music by
CinematographyKolja Brandt
Edited byHansjörg Weißbrich
Distributed by
  • Signature Entertainment (United Kingdom)
  • Majestic Filmverleih (Germany)
  • Rezo Films (France)
Release date
  • 13 September 2015 (2015-09-13) (TIFF)
  • 18 February 2016 (2016-02-18) (Germany)
  • 1 July 2016 (2016-07-01) (United Kingdom)
  • 20 July 2016 (2016-07-20) (France)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Luxembourg
  • France[2]
  • English[1]
  • Spanish
Box office$40 million

Colonia, also known as The Colony, is a 2015 historical romantic thriller film directed by Florian Gallenberger, produced by Benjamin Herrmann, written by Torsten Wenzel and Gallenberger, and starring Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, and Michael Nyqvist. The film is set against the backdrop of the 1973 Chilean military coup and the real "Colonia Dignidad", a notorious cult in the South of Chile, led by German lay preacher Paul Schäfer. The film is an international co-production of companies in the United Kingdom, Germany, Luxembourg, and France.

Principal photography began on 2 October 2014 in Luxembourg; filming also took place in Germany , Chile and Argentina. The film held its world premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations section.[3] The film was released in Germany on 18 February 2016, in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2016, and in France on 20 July 2016.


In 1973, Daniel and Lena, a young German couple, become entangled in a Chilean military coup at a time when supporters of deposed President Salvador Allende are getting rounded up by the military under General Augusto Pinochet. When Daniel is abducted by Pinochet's secret police DINA, Lena tries to find and save her boyfriend.[4] She tracks him to a sealed-off organization called "Colonia Dignidad", which presents itself as a charitable mission run by a lay preacher, Paul Schäfer. Lena joins the organization to rescue her boyfriend, only to learn it is a cult from which no one has ever escaped. She later finds Daniel, who acts disabled to be overlooked. Daniel discovers the organization is also an illegal operations center for DINA. Lena and Daniel attempt to escape from Colonia Dignidad along with Ursel, a pregnant nurse. Ursel is killed and both Lena and Daniel escape to the West German embassy. Staff from the embassy betray them but the lovers exit the country by air, with incriminating photographic evidence against Colonia Dignidad.[4]



On 29 September 2014, it was announced that Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl would star as a couple in the upcoming film which is based on a real historical background, directed by Florian Gallenberger who co-wrote the script with Torsten Wenzel.[4] Benjamin Herrmann would be producing the film through Majestic Filmproduktion, and Nicolas Steil would co-produce through Iris Productions. Kolja Brandt would be director of photography, and Hansjörg Weißbrich would be the film editor.[4] On 27 October, Michael Nyqvist joined the film to star as Paul Schäfer.[5]

Principal photography began on 2 October 2014 in Luxembourg,[6] where it was shot in Haut Martelange near to Rambrouch on the Luxembourg-Belgium border.[7] Filming in Luxembourg lasted through end of October, and then the production moved to Germany for further shoot in Munich and Berlin. It was also shot in Buenos Aires until early 2015.[5]


Colonia premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on 13 September 2015.[8][9] Shortly after, Screen Media Films acquired U.S distribution rights to the film.[10] The film also screened at the Berlin International Film Festival on 12 February 2016.[11] The film was released in Germany on 18 February 2016 by Majestic Filmverlih,[12] in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2016 by Signature Entertainment.[13] and in France on 20 July 2016 by Rezo Films.[14] The film was released to a limited run in the United States and Canada on 15 April 2016.


Box office[edit]

Colonia grossed $15,709 in the United States and Canada and $3.6 million in other countries, giving a worldwide total of $3.62 million. In Germany, Colonia grossed $608,337 in its opening weekend. After seven weeks, the film grossed a total of $1.9 million. In the United Kingdom, the film was released in three cinemas nationwide, as part of a distribution deal geared towards video-on-demand. The film grossed just $61 (£47) in its opening weekend.[15]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 27% based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 3.6/5.[16]


Colonia received 5 nominations from the German Film Awards, including Best Supporting Actor.[17]

Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2016 Bavarian Film Awards Best Production Won [18]
German Film Awards Best Editing Hansjörg Weißbrich Nominated [19]
Best Production Design Bernd Lepel Nominated
Best Costume Design Nicole Fischnaller Nominated
Best Sound
  • Carlo Thoss
  • Frank Kruse
  • Bruno Tarrière
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Michael Nyqvist Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Foreign Thriller Trailer Nominated [20]
Women Film Critics Circle Awards Adrienne Shelly Award Colonia Nominated [21]
Best Female Action Hero Emma Watson Nominated
2017 Jupiter Awards Best International Actress Emma Watson Nominated [22]


  1. ^ a b "COLONIA (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  2. ^ "The Colony (2016) – BFI". BFI. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Toronto to open with 'Demolition'; world premieres for 'Trumbo', 'The Program'". ScreenDaily. 28 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Barraclough, Leo (29 September 2014). "Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl to Star in Thriller 'Colonia'". Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  5. ^ a b Tartaglione, Nancy (27 October 2014). "Michael Nyqvist Joins Emma Watson In 'Colonia': First Look Photo". Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  6. ^ Franklin, Garth (29 September 2014). "Emma Watson Begins Filming "Colonia"". Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Emma Watson Luxembourg set pictures". 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Colonia". Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Toronto Film Festival Adds 60+ Titles". IndieWire. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  10. ^ Roxbourough, Scott (4 November 2015). "AFM: Screen Media Takes Emma Watson Thriller 'Colonia' for U.S." Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Colonia". Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  12. ^ Jaugernauth, Kevin (9 January 2016). "Emma Watson Must Rescue Daniel Bruhl In New Trailer And Images For 'Colonia'". Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  13. ^ Semlyen, Phil de. "Emma Watson fights the power in new trailer for The Colony". Empire. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  14. ^ "COLONIA – finally on screen in France! – The Iris Group". The Iris Group. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Colonia (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Colonia". Rottne Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Preisträger 2016: Deutscher Filmpreis". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  18. ^ "'Colonia' wins Bavarian Film Award". Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  19. ^ "German Film Awards 2016 – 5 nominations for COLONIA – The Iris Group". The Iris Group. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Universal, Fox Top Golden Trailer Awards Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  21. ^ "The Women Film Critics Circle Nomination Award Picks For 2016". NewsBlaze. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Bildergalerie JUPITER AWARD Gewinner". Jupiter-Filmpreis Online. Retrieved 23 February 2018.

External links[edit]