"I Love You"

"In madness, love and death are one"

Sema Zenema   production

an independent film - a thought-provoking film

It is a 2023 psychological mystery thriller short film written by Horst Tran and directed by Rafael Maria Friebe, starring Katherina Gareis, Felix Graf, Vanessa Klein and Erik Schuecker.

a dramatic film

"I Love You" is hard to forget and is one of those that become engraved in your heart. 

"I Love You" won several international film festivals!

I Love You

Marcel and Carla's life would be in harmony if Marcel had not fallen ill with schizophrenia a year ago, which has been treated with tablets ever since. Unfortunately, the side effects of these tablets are so unpleasant for Marcel that he recently stopped taking them. As a result, a strong schizophrenic attack has occurred, in which Marcel falsely imagines that he has been cheated on by Carla several times with other men. In revenge, he has Carla bound and gagged and abuses her with a knife and with blows. However, he is not even aware of this, but hallucinates a harmonious loving coexistence with Carla. He is thus extremely split in personality. The film shows both dimensions of this split, the real and the hallucinated one. When a visitor, Janna, rings the doorbell, the hallucinating Marcel kindly lets her enter the apartment where the bloody disaster is already taking its course...
This film's story and screenplay are written by Horst Tran and it is directed by Rafael Maria Friebe.

Review – ‘I Love You’ Directed By Rafael Maria Friebe

"Written by Horst Tran and directed by Rafael Maria Friebe, ‘I Love You’ is a 2023 horror short film that stars Felix Graf, Katharina Gareis Vanessa Klein and Erik Schuecker. [...] 
To summarise, [...] The plot is great, the twists fantastic and there is a foreboding sense of terror peppered throughout the film. Rafael Maria Friebe has done a fascinating job, one that will resonate with the audiences long after the credits begin to roll. The film is a rare gem that manages to mix excellent storytelling, brilliant acting, and stunning visuals to create a truly unforgettable experience". 

In this gripping psychological drama, Carla finds herself inadvertently delving into her boyfriend's darkest secret. Though she never intended to uncover it, their lives become entangled in a twisted psychological battle. As their paths intertwine, Carla and her boyfriend spiral deeper into the abyss of suppressed mental states. The fragile beacons of sanity that once held them together now flicker ominously, threatening to collapse beneath the weight of his buried secrets. This thought-provoking film skillfully explores the dangers of untreated mental illnesses. It delves into the hidden recesses of the mind, where suppressed traumas and emotions can fester and grow, eventually consuming the individual. 

Without sensationalizing or romanticizing mental illness, this drama presents a raw and honest portrayal of the impact it can have on individuals and their relationships. It sheds light on the often-misunderstood terrain of the human mind and prompts audiences to consider the importance of seeking help and understanding for those struggling with their mental well-being. Ultimately, this film serves as a cautionary tale, showing us the potential dangers that lie in the shadows when mental illnesses go untreated. It reminds us of the urgent need to address and support those who are silently grappling with their own inner demons.

Hollywood Independent Filmmaker Awards and Festival 

Winner Gold Award, Narrative Short: Horror, Rafael Maria Friebe 

Cannes World Film Festival 

Best Short Film 

Interview with Rafael Maria Friebe, director, cinematograph and editor at Cannes World Film Festival

Berlin Indie Film Festival 

Winner Award, Best Director - Short Film, Rafael Maria Friebe 

World Premiere Film Awards

Winner Award Best Horror, Short
Winner Award Best Thriller, Short

Winner Award Best Original Song "Sweet Paradise", Vanessa Klein

Depth of Field International Film Festival Competition

Award of Exceptional Merit Editing, Rafael Maria Friebe
Award of Exceptional Merit, Direction, Rafael Maria Friebe 

Best Shorts Competition 

Winner Award of Recognition, Editing, Rafael Maria Friebe 

ARFF Berlin - Around International Film Festival

Nominee, Film Score & Sound Design, Vanessa, Klein (singer/composer/lyricist), Heiko Hager (re recording mixer), Rafael Maria Friebe (sound editor)

Official Trailer - I Love You


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Thematically, 'I Love You' sees itself in the tradition

of Zack Snyder's 'Sucker Punch' and David Fincher's 'Fight Club', both of which vary the schizophrenia motif. In 'Sucker Punch' the innocent victim of a time-typical innocent victim of a period-typical criminal psychiatry (1950s) hallucinates (1950s) on two levels (fantasy brothel and steampunk dreamland), in order to escape the pressure of suffering that is imposed on her in the mental imposed on her in the mental hospital.

In 'Fight Club', the nameless protagonist hallucinates a second protagonist who is in fact a project of his unconscious desires, although it is not until the end of the film that it becomes clear that both characters are one and the same person.

In 'I Love You' the constellation

is completely different, but equally closely interwoven with the schizophrenia motif, with the plot very loosely based on the Brackenbury/Wild crime case in 2016, which caused a furor in England at the time. 

I Love You - Film Poster

The director's "entry into the film industry was in the directing/assistant department at UFA, one of the leading production companies in Germany, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, producing a crime series for ZDF (German television station). He has been working as an ARRI-trained cameraman with professional camera equipment, as a freelance director of photography and editor for a wide range of clients in the feature film, music video genre and in the advertising/marketing industry at a global-player level."  LINK to interview by London Directors Awards

World Film Festival 


"Rafael Maria Friebe, a warm welcome to you! Congratulations on reaching the final selection at Cannes World Film Festival with “I love you”. Would you shed some light into your title and story choice for the sake of our viewers please?" ... see full interview: LINK to Cannes World Film Festival

World Film Festival 


Merci beaucoup au Cannes World Film Festival pour votre accueil chaleureux et vos félicitations. C’est une étape importante dans ma vie. C’est vraiment un rêve devenu réalité que d’être sélectionné pour la phase finale du festival. Cela a été un long voyage de travail acharné, de persévérance et de dévouement pour arriver à ce résultat. J’éprouve de la joie, du bonheur et de la gratitude pour votr ... voir interview complète: LIEN vers le Cannes World Film Festival

Director & DoP: Rafael Maria Friebe
Story & Screenplay: Horst Tran
Title song "Sweet Paradise" by Vanessa Klein (composer, singer, producer)
Song audio production: Vanessa Klein, Andreas Morth "Oinzee"

Carla: Katherina Gareis
Marcel: Felix Graf
Janna: Vanessa Klein
Officer: Erik Schuecker

Production Crew
Producers: Horst Tran & Rafael Maria Friebe
Camera Operator: Erik Reiber
Grip: Peter Meister
Key make-up artist: Ronja Vasel
Property master & location scout: Erik Schuecker
Editor: Rafael Maria Friebe
Boom operator: Chiara Frauenknecht
Gaffer: Erik Reiber
Sound design & foley artist & production design: Rafael Maria Friebe
Casting: Hülya Friebe & Rafael Maria Friebe
Graphics design: Rafael Maria Friebe & Erik Reiber
Re-recording mixer: Heiko Hager
Sound mixing: Rafael Maria Friebe & Hülya Friebe 

Voice actors:
Carla: Florentina Mannchen
Marcel: Sebastian Fjeld
Janna: Sophie Hernandez
#1: Sebastian Fjeld
#2: Heiko Hager

Special THANKS to:
Akademie Deutsche POP
United POP
Patrick Stilrich 

Marcel's voice actor: Sebastian Fjeld

For making-of potos see IMDb - Internet Movie Database:

#cannesworldfilmfestival #Hollywood Independent Filmmaker Awards & Festival #Berlin Indie Film Festival #BestShortsCompetition #sema-zenema #ILoveYou #shortfilm #IMDb #WINTERLEOPARDINTERNATIONALFILMFESTIVAL #WSLIFF 

  • Berlin Indie Film Festival 
  • Depth of Field International Film Festival 
  • Sci-Fi Horror & Action Film Festival 
  • Best Shorts Competition