BEHIND THE HEADLINES: PRESS
"The air is buzzing with suspense in Daniel Sager’s intense, international film, which is also a highly topical defence of free media and the rights of whistleblowers."
CPH:DOX Film Festival (DK), 04/2021
"Behind the Headlines" is an exciting, instructive documentary that allows us to experience at first hand the minefields through which investigative journalism must pave its way. At the same time, it once again opens our eyes to how threatened free, independent journalism is. [...] A thriller of a special kind and a blazing plea for free, independent journalism."
Filmdienst (DE), 05/2021
"A dense and fascinating documentary about the power of investigative journalism."
Backseat Mafia (UK), 04/2021
"A thrilling look at how German investigative journalists triggered a political earthquake in Austria that toppled the country’s government."
Variety (US), 04/2021
"The powerful selling point of this absorbing film may well be how German investigative journalists ended up reporting a political scandal that ends up toppling a major European Government, but its real heart is in the underlying importance of investigative journalism within a world that prefers to suppress whistle-blowers and favours spin over responsibility.
Business Doc Europe, 08/2018
"Behind the Headlines is a grippingly personal look at the complex forces exerted on democracy's fourth estate."
Hot Docs Film Festival (CA), 04/2021
"Behind the Headlines gets remarkable access to the rigours of investigative journalism. [...] Thanks to the unprecedented access director Sager got to the inner workings of the newspaper, the claims that investigative journalists just make stuff up becomes absurd. They not only do not invent facts, they go through hell to verify them." Point of View Magazine (CA), 05/2021
"Behind the Headlines" manages to thrillingly portray the cases that never see the light of day, as well as the cases so corrupt they shouldn't exist. It does it all in the name of press freedom at a time when fake news and journalists are fighting for rights and lives." Moovy (DK), 05/2021
"In terms of content, the film shows in detail the image of a journalism that conscientiously takes its task towards society seriously. As such, "Behind the Headlines" is also to be understood as a clear answer to the "Lügenpresse" accusations of the right-wing populists, whose double standards are brought to light by Strache's intended massive influence on the editorial independence of the Kronenzeitung. " taz (DE), 05/2021
"Pure suspense and a plea for serious journalism in times of populism and fake news."
DOK.Fest Munich (DE), 04/2021
"The conscientiousness with which the SZ team and its colleagues at Der Spiegel research and carefully weigh up their findings in close cooperation with lawyers and their own editors-in-chief is a prime example of how good journalism works at its best. The driving force is neither the newspaper's circulation, nor populism or the journalist's own need for recognition. At the heart of the matter is always the matter at hand. Fake news, my ass!" Dokumentarfilm.info (DE), 05/2021
"In a world full of fake news, "Behind the Headlines" shows how good journalism works. Falling for a lie is not an option here.
Even if the two protagonists are rather seething inside, "Behind the Headlines" keeps the tension. A good, important DOK.fest Munich prelude and an accolade for the serious media." BR kinokino (DE), 05/2021
"Daniel Sager's documentary captures the elaborate research in the SZ editorial office and thus makes clear how important serious journalism is in times of fake news and social media." MMM Verdi (DE), 05/2021
"An absolute highlight is the film "Behind the Headlines" - incredibly exciting, risky and not only of importance for those interested in politics! An important film." Geheimtipp Köln (DE), 05/2021
"Investigative journalism is a marathon that requires perseverance and patience. And even with all the preparation and care, it always carries the risk of failure. [...] Director Daniel Sager succeeds in creating a narrative arc that also endures moments of perplexity. [...] The strength of "Behind the Headlines" is that the film does not succumb to the temptation to tell a hero's story, but always keeps the possibility of failure in mind. And thus makes the true journalistic achievements visible." Journalistenfilme (DE), 05/2021
"With echoes of feature films such as “All the President's Men” and “Spotlight”, it follows the process of a journalistic "scoop" that provides insights into how considerations, concerns and decisions can be made in a highly political case that could bring down a government. Especially in times of invective such as "Lügenpresse", it is enlightening to see how conscientiously journalists are obliged to work. " arteshock (DE), 05/2021
"Behind the Headlines gives a fascinating insight into the work of the investigative journalist. Daniel Sager tells of the meticulous, all-encompassing research, the continuous safeguarding of the journalist today, but also of what value this work has for our modern society." Film-Rezensionen (DE), 05/2021
"Behind the Headlines" shows the power of good journalism in times of fake news and propaganda. [...] A documentary stroke of luck."
BR 24 (DE), 05/2021
"The opening film of the Munich DOK.fest impressively shows that investigative journalism is becoming increasingly important in times of fake news, but also increasingly difficult."
BR Capriccio (DE), 05/2021
"Daniel Sager succeeds in giving the topic of investigative journalism the explosiveness it deserves, without being lurid, by using few cinematic means such as montage or music at some key points. As a viewer, I am there as a silent observer." Bäckstage (CH), 05/2021
"Probably one of the most fascinating German documentaries of recent years, providing a gripping insight into the nerve-wracking work of some of this country's best journalists. Because director Sager is there from the beginning, we follow all the developments of this case in real time, so to speak. Sager deliberately does without interviews and always uses the camera only as a passive companion - so it really always feels as if we are right in the middle of the action. In the end, "Behind the Headlines" is not only gripping entertainment and a fascinating contemporary document. Above all, it is a paean to the necessity of investigative journalism. If there is one thing this film shows impressively, it is that good journalism and freedom of the press must be defended by all means, especially in this day and age. And by each and every one of us." Filmszene (DE), 05/2021
"An appreciation of journalism, at a time when freedom of the press is under greater threat than it has been for years."
Cult-Zeitung (DE), 05/2021
"Behind the Headlines" shows how painstaking investigative journalism is. And that it is becoming increasingly important in times of fake news." ARD - Titel, Thesen, Temperamente (DE), 05/2021
"You can't get any more real than this. The young director Daniel Sager is serious about the uninvolved observation that "direct cinema" has taken to its banner.
Hollywood is as far away as possible here. But perhaps this is the best stand-up a documentary can have today." Die Presse (AT), 05/2021
"The film does journalism a great service because it makes two things meticulously and unexcitingly visible: Firstly, the difficult, complex decisions concerning truth-telling and due diligence (not only) in the investigative sector. Secondly, the film shows real people at work, which takes the wind out of the sails of false prejudice of "the journalists" as fake news distributors." Oberösterreichische Nachrichten (AT), 05/2021
"The long-term documentary observation of journalistic work becomes, in its emphatically unagitated design, a brilliant plea for the importance of independent media as the "fourth estate"."
Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz (AT), 05/2021
"Behind the Headlines" is a powerful plea for quality journalism as the "fourth estate"."
ORF kulturMontag (AT), 05/2021
"The meticulousness with which the SZ team and its colleagues at Der Spiegel research and carefully weigh up their findings in close cooperation with lawyers and their own editors-in-chief is a prime example of how good journalism works at its best. The driving force is neither the newspaper's circulation, nor populism or its own need for prestige."
Haus des Dokumentarfilms (DE), 05/2021
"Arguably one of the most fascinating German documentaries to come along in recent years, offering a gripping insight into the nerve-wracking work of some of this country's best journalists. [...] In the end, "Behind the Headlines" is not only gripping entertainment and a fascinating contemporary document. Above all, it is a paean to the necessity of investigative journalism." Filmszene.de (DE), 05/2021
"Rarely does a documentary get you so deeply involved as “Behind the Headlines”. The storylines continue to develop like in a classic Hollywood thriller, the individual storylines become more and more closely interwoven. [...] Daniel Sager made an impressive, convincing and committed, internationally effective plea for courageous, investigative journalism, in times of fake news, populism and anti-democratic currents."
A Visual Zine (DE), 05/2021
"Behind the Headlines impressively shows how important whistleblowers are for journalism, how dangerous exposing wrongdoing can be and how new opportunities and stories can open up from one second to the next. [...] Sager's documentary shows in detail and highly sensitively how much preparation and sleepless nights await the Investigativ editorial team in preparation for day X of the publication."
M 94,5 (DE), 05/2021
"Sager has chosen Direct Cinema to give us an unadulterated look at the toil, the pressures, the losses and the triumphs. A soothing look at valuable journalistic work in times of fake news and propaganda."
Filmarchiv Austria (AT), 06/2021