The acquisition follows the film’s world premiere at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Europa Cinemas Label and CICAE Arthouse Cinema Award


NEW YORK (March 2, 2023) – Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all media rights in North America, Latin America, and Eastern Europe (excluding Hungary) to THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE, the fourth feature from director Ilker Çatak, who co-wrote the screenplay with Johannes Duncker. The film was critically acclaimed upon its world premiere at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, drawing universal praise for Leonie Benesch’s lead performance and winning the Europa Cinemas Label award for Best European film in the Panorama section as well as the CICAE Arthouse Cinema Award.

Produced by Ingo Fliess for if… Productions Film GmbH and shot by award-winning cinematographer Judith Kaufmann (CORSAGE, ALL ABOUT ME), the school-set drama stars Benesch (THE CROWN, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS), Michael Klammer, Rafael Stachowiak, and Eva Löbau. Benesch first broke out in Michael Haneke’s 2009 Palme d'Or-winning and Oscar-nominated drama, THE WHITE RIBBON, which was also distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.

In THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE, Carla Nowak (Benesch), a dedicated sports and math teacher, starts her first job at a school. She stands out among the new staff because of her idealism. When a series of thefts occur at the school and one of her students is suspected, she decides to get to the bottom of the matter on her own. Carla tries to mediate between outraged parents, opinionated colleagues, and aggressive students, but is relentlessly confronted with the structures of the school system. The more desperately she tries to do everything right, the more the young teacher threatens to break.

“Becoming part of the Sony Pictures Classics family is an accolade for any filmmaker. The artists in their ranks have influenced me along the way and it is a great honor to now be able to count myself among them,” said Çatak.

Added Sony Pictures Classics, “In Ilker Çatak’s THE TEACHERS' LOUNGE, everyday life in a school is a metaphor for the complexity and conflicts of the larger world. We identify with the protagonist who makes one mistake after another thinking she is doing the right thing. She is us. The movie is brilliant, precise, dramatic, beautiful. It will be a privilege to bring this engaging masterpiece to the wide public it deserves.”

The deal was negotiated with Pamela Leu of Be For Films, a part of Playtime Group, on behalf of the filmmakers.


Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.  Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 41 Academy Awards® (37 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 186 Academy Award® nominations (160 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for THE FATHER, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. 


Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services.  

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