ONE IN A MILLION tells the story of two girls coming of age. As gymnast and YouTuber Whitney Bjerken from the US struggles with setbacks, she turns to music to express her feelings. Yara from Germany is one of her biggest fans and part of a show-acrobatics team. When she falls in love with a girl for the
very first time, she barely finds time for her fan-account anymore. While navigating the exciting world of social media, Yara and Whitney begin to find out who they are and what they want in life. A documentary coming-of-age film about success and loneliness, friendship and first love, coming out as queer and having the courage to find your voice.

Director's Statement

I started working on ONE IN A MILLION as I was fascinated with the generation of young digital natives and their ways to navigate through the social media jungle: Just as in my own youth, teenage girls today still have idols that inspire them and help them go through difficult times full of new experiences and decisions. But in a world shaped by social networks, idols strive to be more and more authentic and relatable. They directly talk to their fans on YouTube or Instagram, so the boundary between fans and idols has started to blur. How does it feel if someone you unconditionally admire talks to you just like a friend, but doesn’t really know you? And how do influencers and YouTubers feel, who present themselves as normal teenagers, but are watched by millions in their daily live?
The main idea of the documentary then was to cinematically connect two teenage girls from completely different worlds, who occupy the two opposite sides of the social media divide: A fan and her idol. I aimed to find out how the intimate yet distant relationship between the two shapes the lives of both girls and how they influence each other along the way.
One the one hand, I thought about ONE IN A MILLION as a film that could help understand the new world that social media has created. On the other hand, and even more importantly, I always believed that delving into the inner thoughts and true feelings of both girls would give the audience the opportunity to truly relate and empathize with the lives and struggles of teenage girls in our contemporary digitalized world. This is why I am truly grateful that Whitney and Yara both were willing to open up about their deepest feelings. Throughout the years of filming, they got to know themselves a little better and gave us the gift of being with them while they figured out who they are and what they want in life.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Joya Thome

Written by: Joya Thome, Lydia Richter, Philipp Wunderlich

Main Producer: Katharina Bergfeld

Produced by: Martin Heisler

Cinematography: Lydia Richter

Editing: Jamin Benazzouz

Original Score: Philipp Milner

Sound: Felix Roggel, Philipp Wunderlich

Nominations and Awards

  • European Young Audience Award 2023