The film is set in the Hamburg Barmbeck-Süd district and it's local shopping centre "Hamburger Meile", a brutalist building consortium. A place where one "doesn't shop, but buys happiness" (advertising slogan of the shopping centre). Feelings create realities and false realities create fake feelings. FINAL STAGE shows how apart from the omnipresent marketing of a commercialized feeling of joy, there is no room for emotions beyond the happy facade. The film reflects the contrast between a fast-moving superficiality in today's consumer society and the experience of individual struggle and negative emotional states in public. Without dialogue, but with a single-shot attitude that never turns the gaze away from the protagonist and his obvious hopelessness, the film formulates the question of whether and how commercially used public spaces that promise distraction are part of a system that not only profits from loneliness and inner emptiness, but even promotes it. The challenging duration of individual shots of the film holds the potential to grant the viewer a moment of reflection, or to move him to empathy, desperation and his own emotional discovery. The end of the film has two versions: a "Happy End" (27min) and a five minutes longer tragic ending (32min). Schmidt presents both versions in alternating order in the exhibition.
FINAL STAGE was awarded several times as "Best Short Film" in its production year 2017 and was among other screenings and exhibitions part of the exhibition "I'm not here to make friends" at the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof from November 2017 to February 2018.