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Documentary / 90min / 2021

Two years after exposing the Panama Papers, the investigative journalists at Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung are facing new challenges: the political murder of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galicia and a mysterious arms dealer linked to the Iranian nuclear missile programme. Then a secret video is leaked to them in the spring of 2019, uncovering a new scandal involving Austrian Vice Chancellor HC Strache. For the documentary film BEHIND THE HEADLINES, Germany's largest daily newspaper opens the door to its world-renowned investigative department for the first time, providing insight into work processes that are otherwise strictly confidential.


  • Shortlisted for Deutscher Filmpreis, Lola 2021

  • CPH:DOX 2021, F:act Awards Competition, Copenhagen

  • HotDocs Documentary Festival, Toronto

  • Opening Film @ DokFest 2021, Munich

  • Zurich Film Festival (Special Jury Mention)

  • DocsAgainstGravity Filmfestival, Warsaw

  • Biografilm Festival, Bologna

  • Vancouver International Film Festival 

  • Dokufest Kosovo

  • Dokfest Kassel

  • Filmfest Lünen

  • International Filmfestival Bozen

  • One World Filmfestival, Brussels

  • San Sebastian Human Rights Filmfestival


Cinema Documentary

2020 / 90 Min / Germany, France, Malta, Israel, USA

Television: ZDF

Production: bauderfilm

Funding: Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg

                BKM Beauftrager der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien

World Sales: NewDocs ( /

Cinema Distributor: RealFiction ( /



Directed by Daniel Andreas Sager

Screenplay: Daniel A. Sager, Marc Bauder

Cinematographer: Börres Weiffenbach, Daniel A. Sager

Editor: Hannes Bruun

Sound Engeneer: Frank Schubert, Tim Kehle, Alexander Rubin

Music: John Gürtler, Hannah von Hübbenett

Production Manager: Bettina Morlock

Producer: Marc Bauder

Comissioning Editor: Burkhard Althoff


Variety (US) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (04/2021)

"“Behind the Headlines,” Daniel Andreas Sager’s thrilling look at how German investigative journalists triggered a political earthquake in Austria"

CPH:Dox Filmfestival (DK) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (04/2021)

"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."

Hot Docs Filmfestival (CA) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (04/2021)

"Behind the Headlines is a grippingly personal look at the complex forces exerted on democracy's fourth estate."

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) Interview with Daniel Sager (05/2021)

"A conversation with Daniel Sager and Marc Bauder, who shot a documentary about the work of the investigative journalists of the" Süddeutsche Zeitung ".


"The Film is also to be understood as a clear answer to the "Lügenpresse" accusations of the right-wing populists."

BR Capriccio (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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." 


"A dense and fascinating documentary about the power of investigative journalism." 


"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."


"“Zwei Jahre lang blickte Daniel Sager den beiden Journalisten der Süddeutschen Zeitung über die Schulter, um die Welt „Hinter den Schlagzeilen“, wie sein Dokumentarfilm heißt, zu zeigen."

Filmdienst (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (05/2021)

"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."

DOK.Fest München (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (04/2021)

"Pure suspense and a plea for serious journalism in times of populism and fake news."

Point of View Magazine about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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."

Moovy (DK) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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." (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (05/2021)

"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!"

BR kinokino (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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."

MMM Verdi (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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."

Geheimtipp Köln (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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."

Journalistenfilme (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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."

arteshock (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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. "

Film-Rezensionen (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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."

BR 24 (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (05/2021)

"Behind the Headlines" shows the power of good journalism in times of fake news and propaganda. [...]  A documentary stroke of luck.

Bäckstage (CH) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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."


Filmszene (DE) about BEHIND THE HEADLINES (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."

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