Supporting film culture means protecting cinemas
by Birgit Heidsiek
- At the 14th Filmkunstmesse, the AG Kino – Gilde presented awards to German filmmakers such as Edgar Reitz and Wim Wenders
The 14th Filmkunstmesse in Leipzig was brought to a close with the awards presented by the AG Kino – Gilde. While the British-German co-production The Grand Budapest Hotel [+see also:
film profile] by Wes Anderson and US feature Boyhood by Richard Linklater shared the Award for Best International Feature, Home from Home – Chronicle of a Vision [+see also:
film profile] by Edgar Reitz won Best German Film, and Wim Wenders and Ribeiro Salgado snagged Best Documentary for The Salt of the Earth [+see also:
film profile]. A Special Honour was dedicated to Bernd Neumann, the former Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and president of the Federal Film Board.
During the five-day event, the AG Kino – Gilde members came together for the General Assembly, where a discussion was held on which topics needed to be included in their position paper with regard to the new film law in Germany. “In our support system, there is a disproportion that is to the disadvantage of distribution and exploitation,” underlined AG Kino’s chairman, Christian Bräuer. Film funding focuses on regional effects and the support of particular locations in Germany, resulting in the fact that too many movies are released theatrically but remain unseen. AG Kino board member Sigrid Limprecht added that the production support by the German Federal Film Fund has a flip side, in that the films need to be distributed theatrically with many prints even if they don’t belong in cinemas. “It can’t be right that the exhibitors who are at the end of the distribution chain are the only ones who have to take the financial risk,” argued Limprecht.
Another issue that arthouse exhibitors have on their agenda is the theatrical-window discussion. Bräuer made it clear that AG Kino members insist on the theatrical window. “If a film is successfully released theatrically, this is also a benefit for the DVD release four or six months later,” he emphasised. “We can’t afford to participate in half-baked experiments with films that nobody wants to see in the cinema. Everybody who wants to support film culture also has to support and protect the cinemas.”