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FESTIVALS Germany

Oldenburg 2018 ends on a Promise

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- The 25th edition of the "European Sundance" came to a close on Sunday with the German Independence Awards ceremony, followed by a screening of Éric Barbier's Promise at Dawn

Oldenburg 2018 ends on a Promise
Some of the winners of the 2018 Oldenburg International Film Festival: (l-r) Isabella Eklöf, Mikhail Raskhodnikov and Gabriela Ramos (© Oldenburg International Film Festival)

The 25th edition of the Oldenburg International Film Festival ended on Sunday, after five days of ambitious and daring independent films screened across six different programmes. The International section, which included the opening and closing films – respectively the Russian title Unforgiven by Sarik Andreasyan, the first film from outside Germany ever to open the festival, and the French production Promise at Dawn [+see also:
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by Éric Barbier, an adaptation of Romain Gary's autobiographical novel of the same name starring Pierre Niney and Charlotte Gainsbourg – also presented recent festival darlings, such as Belgian director Lukas Dhont's Cannes-awarded Girl [+see also:
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interview: Lukas Dhont
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, Christophe Honoré's Sorry Angel [+see also:
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Q&A: Christophe Honoré
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, Joan Chemla's story of vibrant life, decay and death in the Gypsy world, If You Saw His Heart [+see also:
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, also from France, and Janez Burger's Ivan [+see also:
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interview: Janez Burger
interview: Maruša Majer
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, starring Slovenian Shooting Star Maruša Majer. Other titles that got an airing included new German films enjoying their world premieres: Michael Kreindl's Der Henker, and Bombengeschäft and Fear, both by Thomas Stiller.

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In the Independent section, the Oldenburg IFF, dubbed the "European Sundance", showed off a clutch of young, fresh offerings, such as Isabella Eklöf’s chilling debut, Holiday [+see also:
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(Sweden/Denmark/Netherlands/Turkey), about a material girl's summer spent at her drug-lord boyfriend's villa, René Eller's We [+see also:
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(Netherlands), actress Sabine Timoteo's rather experimental, sleepwalk-like debut, Don't Tell Me You Can't Sing (Switzerland), and the Kosovar-Macedonian family drama about an Albanian man who wants to marry a French woman, The Return by Kastriot Abdyli, screened as a world premiere. Amongst the five titles in the Midnite Xpress sidebar were Lisa Brühlmann's Blue My Mind [+see also:
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interview: Lisa Brühlmann
interview: Luna Wedler
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(Switzerland), Tilman Singer's Luz [+see also:
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(Germany) and Börkur Sigthorsson's Vultures (Iceland). The Retrospective was dedicated to English filmmaker Bruce Robinson and the Tribute to Oscar-winning American actor Keith Carradine. Both were present, and the latter was honoured with a star on the OLB-Walk of Fame.

The main award, the German Independence Award for Best Film in the Independent section, went to Mikhail Raskhodnikov's Temporary Difficulties (Russia). The German Independence Award for Best Short went to Fauve by Jeremy Comte (Canada). This year, the Seymour Cassel Award for Outstanding Performance went to two actresses: Victoria Carmen Sonne for the aforementioned Holiday and Gabriela Ramos for Is That You? (Cuba/UK) by Rudy Riverón Sánchez.

With more than 15,500 admissions to the various different festival venues (including a prison, where guests and inmates could enjoy the screenings together), the organisers consider this 25th edition of the Oldenburg IFF (which unspooled from 12-16 September) a "roaring event and a complete success".

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