Hof, Home of Films for the past 45 years
by Bénédicte Prot
25/10/2011 - The 45th Hof International Film Festival (October 25-30) opens today, with a line-up of 74 features and 38 shorts chosen from among 3,000 submissions. As always, there is an emphasis on young German-speaking talents, giving rise to the presentation of the only parallel awards up for grabs at the close of this non-competitive festival described by some international critics as Germany’s second most important festival after Berlin.
Hof Film Days began on May 28, 1967 as "the smallest festival in the world" (with nine films presented in two hours to 100 people), and also one of the freest, as its founder and director to this day, Heinz Badewitz, preferred not to submit the films to a censorship committee beforehand, even if it meant losing out on public funding.
The films at the 2nd edition, held in May 1968, did indeed shock audiences a great deal, but from the following year onwards, Hof found its vocation as an open platform for young filmmakers and received backing from the city. Hof, whose name could be an acronym for "Home Of Films", has honoured talents such as Wim Wenders and Doris Dörrie since the creation of the City of Hof Award in 1986.
Among the titles presented this year are Colour of the Ocean [trailer], Maggie Peren’s second feature after Special Escort [trailer]; Black Brown White, the debut narrative feature by politically-engaged Austrian documentary filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer (after We Feed the World [trailer] and Let's Make Money [trailer]); Christian Schwochow’s Karlovy Vary prize-winner Crack in the Shell [trailer]; Babycall [trailer] by Norway’s Pål Sletaune; Urszula Antoniak’s Dutch title Code Blue [trailer]; Jean-Marc Moutout’s gripping French tragedy Early One Morning [trailer]; Valérie Donzelli’s Declaration of War [trailer]; and Belgian director Bouli Lanners’s refreshing film The Giants [trailer, film focus].
French cinema is well represented in the selection (with nine features and five shorts, as well as co-productions), but this year’s portrait has a British flavour, as it is dedicated to David Mackenzie and will show four shorts and his seven features, including his latest, You Instead.
(Translated from French)