Bubbly Big Top

Documentary by

Maike Backhaus & Tessa Langhans

Germany 2011, HD, 21′

Madeleine und Anthony Kaselovsky’s home is a small travelling circus, the Brunselli Circus. There’s something unusual about this circus: They are all part of one family, and everyone who is part of the family works there. It has been like that for seven generations now.

This also means: Every member of this family business has to be able to do everything: Be it driving trucks, erecting the tent or working the cotton candy machine. So ist not enough for Madeleine to watch little Diego and handle the popcorn maker at the same time, or for Anthony to coordinate the building and dismantling of the tent, oversee the care for the animals and the advertising team: Since she ist he show’s main performer and he ist he junior manager, they also have to perform in almost every act of the show – up to twice a day.

The audience only sees the glamorous facade the circus people put up fort woo hours at a time. Behind that, however there is a complex culture with ist own language, traditions and structures. At first look, this world looks just as unreal as the circus show itself, but if you look closer, you see that it is being kept together by two forces: Hard work and strong family ties.

Madeleine almost seems to be proud of the strict rules of circus life: „That’s the difference between us and private girls: We don’t have our first boyfriend at the age of 13, and we don’t start drinking alcohol at 14, either.“

„Private“ – that’s the circus word for anyone who has a permanent home somewhere, anyone who is not part of the travelling people.

One thing is certain for Madeleine and Anthony: There place will always be in the circus ring.

Made for the dok you competiton. See the film here.


Writer & Director – Maike Backhaus & Tessa Langhans

Cinematography – Mathias Prause, Christian Löhr

Sound – Claas Benjamin Berger

Editor – Carina Mergens

Mixing  – Claas Benjamin Berger

Music- Peter Aufderhaar

Titles/Animations – Patrick Buhr

Production Manager – Nima Kianzad

Producers – Meike Martens / Blinker Filmproduktion GmbH, Janna Velber / BOOGIEFILM GbR

Associate Producers at WDR – Andrea Ernst and Birgit Keller-Reddemann

Cast – Madeleine Kaselovsky, Anthony Kaselovsky, The ensemble of the „Brunselli“ circus

Produced by Blinker Filmproduktion GmbH and BOOGIEFILM GbR, co-produced by KHM Köln for WDR

Formats – HDCam, DigiBeta, Bluray

16:9 PAL, HDV, Farbe, Stereo

Duration – 21’00”

Language – German, Subtitles: English

RESUMÉ Maike Backhaus

Maike Backhaus was born in Bonn in 1990. She grew up in Rauschendorf, close to Bonn, as the second oldest child of a big family – two sisters and three half-brothers.

She discovered her the joy of film making during an internship at a student film project. When she graduated from the Beethoven Gymnasium in Bonn in 2009, she decided immediately continue film making at the Kunsthochschule für Medien (Academy of Media Arts) in Cologne, where she has been studying «Media Arts» with a focus on film and literature since October 2009.


1999 „Mein Vorschlag: Friesenbad“ (Regie: Graw Böckler), Actress, Art film,   7′

2000 „Kindheitstrauma“, Art film, 20′

2006 „The Alien“ (Director: Matti Braun), Actress, Theatre film, 60′

2010 „Pinky&Brain“, Short film, 5′

2010 „Evangelina&Jörg“,  Short film, 8′

RESUMÉ Tessa Langhans

Tessa was born in Gießen, Hessen, in 1989. She started making short films with her brother while she was still at school. She graduated from the Herderschule in Gießen in 2008. After that, she gathered work experience on different film projects and at a photographer’s atelier, and also undertook several journeys to South America and Asia.

Since October 2009, she is enrolled at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne, where she studies „Media Arts“ with a focus on directing and photography.


2007 „Analysing Aschenputtel“ – Short Film, 5 Min.

2009 „Der Scheriff vom Agnesviertel“ – Short documentary, 4 Min.

2010 „Blinddate“ – Short film, 5 Min.

2010 „Spielzimmer“ – Short film, 6 Min.

2010 „Zarah Leander-Curt Delander“ – Short documentary, 6 Min.

2011 „Bernsteinblätter“ – Short film, 4 Min.