Through intimate conversations with former violent radicals across the world, filmmaker Karen Winther asks: What triggered their life-changing decision to leave extremism behind?

She meets Ingo Hasselbach. He was once known as the Fuhrer of Berlin, but when women and children burned to death in an arson attack on the home of a Turkish family in northern Germany, he knew he had to leave the far right. But walking away from a life of extremism came with its own dangers and he was forced to go into hiding.

Manuel is living in hiding with his young daughter. He became involved with neo-Nazism when he was 13 and eventually led a German paramilitary neo-Nazi group. He describes acts of brutality he says have left him unable to look people in the eye, including the time he kicked a heavily pregnant woman in the stomach.

In the US, Angela describes almost a decade spent living an "existence of fear" in the far right, until a prison sentence introduced her to inmates of colour whose kindness "disarmed" and "rehumanised" her.

But not all the former extremists Karen meets were part of the far right. In France, she meets David, who was once a member of the Armed Islamic Group.

Reflecting on these stories and her own, Winther describes how she arrived at her own "wake-up call" and explores the possibilities of a life beyond violent extremism.

CREDITS

Director: Karen Winther; Producer: Eirin Gjørv; Co-producers: Heino Deckert and Dylan Williams; Photographer: Peter Ask; Editor: Robert Stengård; Sound: Yvonne Stenberg; Composer: Michel Wenzer; Archive: AP, AFP, Brian Berg, DR, DRA, Getty Images, INA, KXLY Broadcasting Group, Frithjof Riis, NDR, Dietmar Gust, NRK, SVT, Bill Stoppard, Brennan Gilmore, Hans Weth, Jon Ziegler/ @Rebelutionary_Z, Ritzau Scanpix, Winfried Bonengel, RBB; Financed by the Norwegian Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Viken Filmsenter, Fritt Ord, Ship-Ring; Co-produced with NDR, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, EO/Ikon docs, in association with Arte, NRK, SVT, YLE.

Source: Al Jazeera