Press reports

"Stars of cinema" – Holy Spirit in a Brazilian newspaper (report about the Brazil International Film Festival in Teresópolis where Holy Spirit was screened as part of the official selection)

Review of German newspaper "Passauer Neue Presse"

"Holy Spirit": A Satirical Thriller

"Holy Spirit" is a film that is jam-packed full of impressions – bizarre, highly charged and original. What Mike Baran, Tom Schuster and their team have created is an eye-popping concoction that is probably best described as a mixture of Bulgakow's "The Master and Margarita", a Bavarian whodunnit and social critique conveyed through psychedelic images.

The makers themselves call their work a "satirical thriller". The highly charged characters and scenes are critical of society – snobby jet-setters, hypocritical clergymen, opportunistic politicians.
The makers frequently use time lapse sequences to establish ironical distance – an unusual choice but one that suits the film. The music ranges from blues to Bavarian brass band and adds an extra touch of colour to the scenes.

"Holy Spirit" has an enormous suspense build-up, and not just because a detective inspector is investigating: a second story is always present in the background, one that is 2,000 years old and is narrated in parallel using symbols and duplications. This framing narrative is opened up at the end of the film – whether Jesus really comes from Lower Bavaria or not won’t be given away here.

Sandra Niedermaier, Passauer Neue Presse (English translation from the German original: CAT Translations)

Review of "TMFF The Monthly Film Festival", Glasgow

“Jesus comes from Bavaria!” – now try saying that out loud without laughing, because we certainly couldn’t after watching ‘Holy Spirit’. Mike Baran’s feature film was a surprise for us all the more so after reading the movie description we wouldn’t have thought to get a product as nice as the whisky it is advertising (inside joke, you have to see the movie to get it…so count this as a reason!). But of course, everything blows when a murder is discovered, and they come to a question that many wouldn’t ever think of: “Is Jesus a serial killer?”

BWhat we liked the most in this movie was the perfect clean-cut editing – there are some certain pseudo-erotic scenes that are perfectly masked with images that induce the idea of what it is happening without spoiling the surprise and transforming this movie into a straightforward porn. The score and the sound editing are also worth praising, taking in consideration the length of the movie, and how well it is dosed to make every scene stand out.

The time-lapse scenes are something we usually enjoy seeing in feature films, but not all the time they are properly used for the reason that sometimes, especially young directors, insert time-lapse scenes only to gain some extra minutes, or to show that they know how to use this technique. Fortunately, in Mike Baran’s project they were used perfectly and at the right time.
Another thing that caught our attention in ‘Holy Spirit’ was the dialogue. We weren’t expecting so many biblical references and easter-eggs, but as they appeared, we were excited to see them, and more than that, we were excited to get them.

The usage of religious vocabulary, the reinterpretation of biblical matters such as the resurrection of Lazarus might seem offensive to some people, however Mike Baran managed to deliver them all with good humor.

The role of Jesus / Gustl Wanninger (played by Tom Schuster) is a hard role, with many implications and controversies, but Schuster plays it impeccably, as a master he is.

What can we say more apart from recommending ‘Holy Spirit’ to anyone out there wanting to watch a cool movie that’s really different from many you’ve seen recently? It has the right amount of craziness, blood, violence, erotica, and last but not least humor to please even the pickiest group of film lovers. On top of all that, though, it has whisky! Cheers!

The Monthly Film Festival, Glasgow

Review of Festival "Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards", London

Michael Foerster and Tom Schuster lead a rambunctious cast in Mike Baran’s zany satire on ad executives, blasphemy and whiskey. Schuster, a country heartthrob is hired to play Jesus for a new whiskey marketing campaign, turning him into an overnight celebrity in the process. Foerster attempts to manage his newly developed star, though some unexpected developments plunge both men into a chaotic series of events.

Holy Spirit is not content on just being any one thing, constantly blending multiple genres, which are only complimented by Baran’s continued shift in visual style throughout. There is a great confidence to Holy Spirit, one that seems to have infected the cast, who all give great performances throughout.

Sean Price, Jury Member/ Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards, London
"... The opening scene of Holy Spirit is quite fantastic, and features an almost Claude Chabrol quality to it – sweeping shots of the countryside expand before us, a car travels heading somewhere, a few dramatic cuts, and a child before the image of Christ. This opening sets the tone of the film. Furthermore, this scenario helps establish the most successful element of Holy Spirit, which is its high polished images: the sequencing of which often build on a strong array of locales, bold iconography, and thematic elements."

" ... There’s also the keen use of sound, which is fantastically balanced between being comically musical, and cleanly delivered dialogue, which thanks to the actors is well textured."

"... completely recommendable."

Jury Review, Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards, London (ecxerpts)

British film magazine "Film Voice" and Goethe Institute, Los Angeles

Editorial in the British film festival magazine "Film Voice"
Goethe Institute Los Angeles: Facebook announcement for the world premiere of Holy Spirit at the North Hollywood CineFest

Press material

Official press text

"Holy Spirit is a satirical combination of apparently incompatible elements: sin and virtue, morality and pleasure, beauty and pain, glamour and doom, religion and materialism, drama and comedy, city and country, Munich beer and a damn good Bavarian whisky. Cheers!"


The comic in the sublime – a production full of vitality

Director Mike Baran once acted on stage himself as a member of a cabaret group. He was responsible for production and choreography and wrote his first satirical texts. He then staged plays and musicals which he adapted or wrote himself. He also ran his own advertising agency for many years, where he worked as the creative director. Having founded the non-profit association "Don't Tell Mama e.V." to realise his own artistic ideas and promote other people's art projects, this association has now produced his first full-length feature film "Holy Spirit".

This low-budget film has been financed entirely by means of crowd-funding, donations and private contributions. All the crew members took on different tasks: the director wrote the script and was responsible for editing. The teamwork was perfect and the film would never have come about without the idealism of all those involved. The reward has been a veritable avalanche of distinctions: 43 international film festival selections and 60 awards to date.

The feature film "Holy Spirit" is a razor-sharp satire that even switches genres in the middle of the plot: from comedy to mystery thriller.

The story: Harry Sandmann, head of a Munich advertising agency, needs an inspiring idea to launch an original new brand of Bavarian whisky.
Out in the country he meets a carpenter's son, a young man by the name of Gustl Wanninger, and is fascinated by the latter's resemblance to Jesus. Suddenly Sandmann has a vision.

The idea begins to take shape: The new whisky is to be called "Holy Spirit" and Sandmann produces an irreverent advertising campaign with Gustl Wanninger as a whisky-drinking "Jesus". Featured in witty TV commercials, the charismatic, rebellious young man rapidly becomes a media celebrity.

"Holy Spirit" sales figures skyrocket. But tragedy strikes at the peak of his success: A cruel murder is taking place and Gustl of all people is the main suspect! Having shot to stardom, Gustl Wanninger is suddenly dropped like a hot potato. There are more murders, but the police have no leads. Could "Jesus" really be the serial killer?

The plot could almost be happening in a slightly altered parallel world, with many surreal, mysterious elements. Not only is there hilarious slapstick but also dramatic scenes and even elements of a horror thriller. Collage sequences accompanied by captivating music whisk the viewer away on a visual journey that is both exuberant and sensual.

Whether young, old, virtuous, sexy, unconventional, fun-loving or crazy ... Holy Spirit is a film for anyone with an open mind who enjoys subtle black humour and a cool soundtrack – or for anyone who likes a politically incorrect film that doesn't fit in any pigeonhole.

Screenshots available for web and print

Official film poster, available for web and print (please ask for actual version at

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