Children's film in development


11-year-old LIA lives with her father CHRIS in a lively Zurich neighbourhood. Chris has fallen in love anew and decides, against his daughter's resistance, to move in with his girlfriend SONJA on the outskirts of Vienna. For Lia, this is the middle of nowhere.

Lia, who is in the middle of pre-puberty, finds the idea of living in a terraced housing estate with a stepmother, who is also the headmistress of her new school, and her daughter PAULINE (15), who has Down’s syndrome, horrible and switches to general resistance to be on the safe side.

While Lia keeps Pauline at a distance and only engages with her when she needs her for the sabotage of the two parents’ relationship, Pauline, with her empathetic nature and unconditionally honest impartiality, manages to work her way step by step behind Lia’s spiked dress.

At her new school, Lia meets LUIS, a 12-year-old boy with Brazilian roots. The ever-cheerful class clown, who only enters the classroom after the bell rings, turns out to be Lia's seatmate and a gifted drummer. He strengthens an already existing longing for rhythms in Lia, which probably stems from her mother, a musician who died in an accident six years earlier.

Lia, who desperately wants to learn to play the drums, befriends Luis and gets to know his seriously ill grandmother RENITA at his home. She is the first adult to speak openly and honestly with the girl about death, which helps Lia to come to conclusions for her own life as well.

When Chris and Sonja announce their engagement at a patchwork family trip, Lia is horrified. During an argument at school, Lia accidentally breaks her stepmother Sonja's finger. She knows she has gone too far but hopes that Sonja has now had enough of her for good and that her father will be forced to go back to Zurich with her. When that doesn't happen, she consoles herself with wild drum jams with Luis and at the same time almost reluctantly develops a "sisterhood" with Pauline. But a forbidden night-time excursion, during which Lia accidentally leaves Pauline alone in an amusement park, completely changes the dynamics in the patchwork family once again.


Johanna Lietha

Wolfgang Widerhofer

Karin Berghammer
Katrin Renz

Barbara Eppensteiner

Flora Grolitsch

Franziska Teresa Aringer

Gloria Süß


BHFi Logo

in Koproduktion mit

Katrin Renz | tellfilm

Heart Beats

Development supported by

Participation at

EU flag-Crea EU + MEDIA EN

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.