Documentary in production | A film by Antje Schneider

David Thies, CEO of a county hospital in the Ex-GDR province of Thuringia, sets out to build the hospital of the future. But then an international health crisis hits.


    Germany has too many hospitals. In fact, a study from 2019 reveals that about half of Germany’s hospitals are superfluous. Many of the financial problems associated with the German health care system could be relieved by resorting to fewer, more specialized, hospitals in better locations. Working conditions and patient treatment could also potentially benefit from the move. This might seem as an outlandish thesis at first, but reality proves different.

    David-Ruben Thies is the CEO of Waldkliniken Eisenberg, a county hospital in the province of Thuringia, former GDR. The hospital, which can accommodate up to 250 patients and has enjoyed a good reputation in the past, is by now rarely at full capacity. To justify its continued existence, some truly radical steps would have to be taken, so DAVID set out to do just that.

    He looked at hospitals worldwide, studied every detail and came up with a plan for a new hospital ward: the German Centre for Orthopaedics. The ward is designed as a comfortable patient hotel, where organic food is served and where everyone is treated as a guest, regardless of the type of health insurance they have. A place where innovative care concepts are combined with attention to privacy, safety and improved working conditions for the staff. It’s an ambitious plan, but David is a pioneer, one who wants to set standards.

    Though not everyone shares his ambitions. The way to the hospital of the future is rife with obstacles: Decision makers, colleagues, doctors and political circumstances get in the way. His staff claims he drives them crazy and we watch David being stretched to his absolute limits. However, there is one obstacle nobody has anticipated: In 2020, David’s crusade is cut short by a worldwide pandemic.

    The opening of the new ward is postponed, the planned party with Angela Merkel is canceled. Instead, short-time work is introduced together with the looming threat of bankruptcy. Whether David will reach his goal or fail halfway through isn‘t clear yet, but one thing is certain: Modern medicine is a tough business with which one can earn good money and rarely can we say for sure who is on the “right side”…


    Antje Schneider works as writer and director for public television, especially for MDR. In the last ten years, she took part in various training programs, e.g. the TP2 Talent Pool and the Masterclass Non-Fiction at the International Film School in Cologne. In 2005 she received a scholarship for a screenwriting workshop at the HFF in Munich. Her first film DIE SCHÖNE KRISTA (2013) was a co-production with ZDF / Das kleine Fernsehspiel. The film has been pre-selected for the GERMAN FILM AWARD 2014 and received a nomination for the GRIMME AWARD 2016, one of the most prestigious awards for TV programs in Germany.


    Writer & Director
    Antje Schneider

    Carsten Waldbauer

    Stefan Kloos

    Line Producer
    Bianca Laschalt

    Kloos & Co. Ost

    Commissioning Editor ZDF / Das kleine Fernsehspiel
    Christian Cloos

    World Sales
    Rise and Shine World Sales


    As part of the Fifty-Fifty deal of ZDF / Das kleine Fernsehspiel & Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung