Meet the winners of the MAX Diversity Film Festival: Megan Hwee Wen Tan and Clara Sophie Wahlig, directors of “Sanako”.

During the summer and autumn of 2021, the MAX Diversity Film Festival took place, a competition to create more spaces, both online and physical, to promote encounters among native-born citizens and newcomers to interact, share experiences and have joint debates. After 477 films submission from 82 countries were received, a selection of finalists by 10 international jurors, and a public voting procedure, on November 5th, during the MAX DFF Award ceremony were announced the winners of the Festival! Learn more about it here.


Today meet Megan Hwee Wen Tan and Clara Sophie Wahlig, directors of “Sanako” winner of the Amateur Short Films category!


Clara Wahlig is a German filmmaker and actress from Berlin. She has previously worked in theatre and has now entered the film business with her first film Sanako. Her goal is to bring more diversity onto the screen. As a migrant in Germany, Megan Tan has faced more than enough mental and emotional challenges. With co-director Clara Sophie Wahlig, they agreed she would be a good call of portraying Sanako by making this short film with a primarily all Asian cast in Europe/Germany. That way, the directors had the pleasure of working with people who had all experienced similar situations while immigrating to Germany from Asia.


The idea for Sanako originated from Clara Wahlig and Megan Tan during the lockdown in March 2021. As they both have a history of physical and emotional abuse, they decided to try to portray how being in a toxic relationship feels. Especially with the ongoing pandemic, the directors came to realize that feelings of loneliness, isolation, and even suicidal thoughts have become more common in the daily life of many people. Their goal with Sanako was to raise awareness about these issues for people who are going through similar situations.


The short movie showcases a delicate situation. After the passing of her father, the relationship between her and her mother changes for the worse. With that going on, Sanako, the protagonist, is trapped in a physically and mentally abusive relationship. Now, Sanako only sees one way out…