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FESTIVALS Germany

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Filmfest Hamburg wraps its 25th edition

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- This year’s iteration of the German festival showcased a wide spectrum of films, ranging from political documentaries to coming-of-age comedies

Filmfest Hamburg wraps its 25th edition
The Wait by Emil Langballe, which won the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Award for Best Political Film

At the 25th edition of the Filmfest Hamburg, which presented 130 films from 59 countries, ten awards, worth a total of €85,000, were given out. The German gathering kicked off with John Carroll Lynch’s compelling tragicomedy Lucky, starring Harry Dean Stanton in his last role. The late US actor rose to fame in Europe in 1984 when he starred in Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders. As a matter of fact, the renowned German filmmaker was honoured with the prestigious Douglas Sirk Prize and presented his new film Submergence [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
at the Filmfest Hamburg.

Further highlights at the event included the colourful coming-of-age film Once Upon a Time... Indianerland [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by German-Turkish newcomer Ilker Çatak and Markus Goller’s star-studded German comedy My Brother Simple [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, starring Frederick Lau (Victoria [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Sebastian Schipper
film profile
]
), David Kross (Tough Enough [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, The Reader [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and Devid Striesow (Yella [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Bungalow). 

“One of our mains tasks is to present new talents to the audience,” explained Albert Wiederspiel, director of the Filmfest Hamburg, who selected 32 debut features and 18 sophomore films for this year’s edition. “Our other task is to show films that don’t have distribution and might never find it. We want to introduce the viewers to movies from countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan that are not released theatrically.”

Russia enjoyed a strong presence with three features, including the social drama Arrhythmia [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Boris Khlebnikov
film profile
]
, in which director Boris Khlebnikov tells the story of a young Russian couple living in dire circumstances, where they are forced to fight for dignity and love. Despite its harsh situations, the film is infused with a great deal of humour and hope. Producer Eva Blondiau, who runs the company Color of May, was awarded the Hamburg Producers’ Award for European Cinema Co-Productions, worth €25,000.

For the first time, the Sichtwechsel Award was given out by the Federal Foreign Office. Worth €10,000, the prize is intended for a film that offers a new perspective. It was won by the documentary feature The Future Perfect, in which German writer-director Nele Wohlatz portrays a Chinese woman who learns Spanish in Argentina. The Prize for Best Political Film, donated by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, went to the documentary The Wait, in which Emil Langballe follows an Afghan family in Denmark who are hoping to earn the right to stay in the country. Partly based on documentary and fiction elements, The Rider by Chloé Zhao tells the story of a passionate rodeo rider who has to give up what he enjoys the most. The CICAE jury plumped for this compelling drama, which will be released theatrically in Germany by Weltkino.

The Critics' Choice Award was given to Sean Baker’s American family drama The Florida Project, starring Willem Dafoe, while the Audience Award went to the Spanish box-office smash It’s for Your Own Good [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Carlos Therón, which features fathers on the verge of a nervous breakdown, since their daughters are in love with men whom they don’t want to accept as potential sons-in-law.

As the event drew to a close, Wiederspiel concluded, “We want to prove that cinema can be a very attractive event.” The 26th edition of the Filmfest Hamburg will take place from 27 September-6 October 2018.

Here is the complete list of award winners at the 2017 Filmfest Hamburg:

CICAE Art Cinema Award
The Rider - Chloé Zhao (USA)

Sichtwechsel Film Award
The Future Perfect - Nele Wohlatz (Argentina) 

Hamburg Producers’ Award for European Cinema Co-Productions
Eva Blondiau (Color of May) for Arrhythmia [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Boris Khlebnikov
film profile
]
 – Boris Khlebnikov (Russia/Finland/Germany)

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Award for Best Political Film
The Wait – Emil Langballe (Denmark) 

Filmfest Hamburg Critics' Choice Award
The Florida Project - Sean Baker (USA) 

NDR Young Talent Award
Beach Rats - Eliza Hittman (USA)

Michel Award for Best Children’s Movie
1:54 – Yan England (Canada)

Commerzbank Audience Award for Best Film in the "Eurovisuell" Section
It’s for Your Own Good [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 - Carlos Therón (Spain)

Hamburg Producers’ Award for Best German TV Production in the 16:9 TV Section
Producers Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt and Christoph Bicker (Polyphon Film- und Fernsehgesellschaft) for Meine fremde Freundin - Stefan Krohmer (Germany)

Douglas Sirk Prize
Wim Wenders

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Finale Plzen
 

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