a film by Gregor Schmidinger

Austria 2019, 88 minutes, German and English
Subtitles: English, Spanish

starring Simon Frühwirth, Paul Forman, Josef Harder


17-year-old Jakob lives with his father and grandfather in a small apartment in Vienna. Planning to start college soon, he takes a temporary job at his father’s workplace, a slaughterhouse. His anxiety disorder gets out of control and soon gains the upper hand in his life. One night he meets the 26-year-old artist Kristjan on a cam-chat sex site. Their conversation leads to a virtual friendship, and in the real world, too, though they never really meet, the two men’s paths cross in uncanny ways. After a devastating personal loss, Jakob musters all his courage and arranges to hook up with the mysterious stranger. By the time the two find themselves face to face in Kristjan’s apartment, Jakob has already passed the point of no return en route to Nevrland and the wounds of his soul …

With vivid imagery and atmospherically dense scenes, director Gregor Schmidinger shows the process of sexual awakening and self-discovery as an existential journey in which the borders between reality and fantasy become increasingly blurred. Along with Simon Früwirth as Jakob in his debut acting role, the cast also includes the Austrian star stand-up comedian and actor Josef Hader as Jakob’s stoic father. A well-founded depth psychological coming-of-age film about the courage it takes to be oneself and the often daunting fear blocking the way.

with English subtitles

with English subtitles

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Director's Statement
by Gregor Schmidinger

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed psychic conditions in the Western world and occur at a disproportionately high rate in millennials. My life has been affected by my own to some extent crippling anxiety disorder for ten years. NEVRLAND was a way for me to work through this subject artistically and at the same time also address the issue of becoming who one really is. The Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich described fear and sexuality as the flip sides of a coin and the driving forces of life: He saw fear as the life-protecting force and sexuality as the life-affirming force. I felt it was important to give a modern depiction of sexuality that shows how strongly it is influenced by pornography and the digital media. I also wanted to make a film from the post-gay perspective, in other words I didn’t want to focus on the main character’s homosexuality or present it as a problem, nor did I want to make a big deal out of his coming out.

Director's Biography

Gregor Schmidinger was born in Linz in 1985. He first studied digital television at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, and in 2007 he spent a year as an exchange student at the Bowling Green State University in Ohio (USA). He graduated in 2009, having written his thesis on transmedia storytelling, and went on to study screenwriting at the University of California in Los Angeles. He has published two short films “The Boy Next Door” (2008) and “Homophobia” (2012) on YouTube, where they have gotten more than 15 million views. In addition to writing and directing, Schmidinger also works as a social media strategist for other movies and is a member of the Österreichische Filmbewertungskommission, which is responsible for evaluating and rating films in Austria. Schmidinger is a co-founder of the Porn Film Festival Vienna.