Great discoveries at the Filmfest Hamburg
by Birgit Heidsiek
- The German gathering gave out a total of €90,000 worth of awards to films such as Radu Jude’s Scarred Hearts and Fanny’s Journey by Lola Doillon
Strong women, death and strange behaviour were the subjects of a number of the 165 films that were shown at the Filmfest Hamburg. The ten-day event kicked off with US drama American Pastoral, presented by director/actor Ewan McGregor and leading actress Jennifer Connelly. “It is the first time that we opened with an American movie”, the festival director, Albert Wiederspiel, staid. His approach for the festival was to focus on films that don’t have any distribution yet, and can be discovered by audiences as well as by the industry.
Some of the award-winning films tackled the aforementioned subjects. In Radu Jude’s Scarred Hearts [+see also:
film profile], the protagonist is aware that he can’t over his bone tuberculosis. Set in a Romanian sanatorium in 1937, where his whole body is in plaster, he has intense political discussions with other patients about the situation, in a time leading up to World War II. Produced by Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann [+see also:
Q&A: Maren Ade
film profile]), Janine Jackowski, and Jonas Dornbach for Komplizen Film, the two-hour long drama won the Producer Award, worth €25,000, as Best European Co-production. Furthermore, the Romanian partner, Hi Film Productions, received €15,000 for grading at Hamburg post-production company Optical Art. In total, the Filmfest Hamburg handed out €90,000 worth of prizes.
Another film in which their imagination is all that the protagonists can rely on is Danish drama The Day Will Come [+see also:
film profile] by Jesper W Nielsen. Based on a true story about two brothers who are punished by the despotic housemaster of a children’s home, the film is set in 1967. Featured in the Eurovisuell section that presents national box-office hits, The Day Will Come received the Audience Award, with 95 per cent of Eurovisuell attendees voted for this compelling youth drama.
Among the festival’s highlights was the German-Polish co-production, Marie Curie, the Courage of Knowledge, by Marie Noëlle, featuring a stunning performance from Polish actress Karolina Gruszka as the Nobel Prize-winning scientist. When her husband dies in an accident, Curie has to fight in order to continue her research in the male-dominated world.
The Filmfest Hamburg closed with the adaptation of stage drama Hedda by German writer-director Andreas Kleinert (Head Under Water [+see also:
film profile]), who shot his modern version of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler on location. Leading actress Susanne Wolff took on the title role, portraying yet another strong woman.
Here is the full list of awards:
Hamburg Producer Award for the Best German TV Production
Heike Wiehle-Timm (Relevant Film Production) – Apropos Glück (Germany)