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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Germany

Lara by Jan-Ole Gerster triumphs at the 2019 Filmkunstmesse

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- At the Leipzig-based gathering, a collective of German cinema programmers met for an annual get-together with distributors from around the country and to watch a selection of new film releases

Lara by Jan-Ole Gerster triumphs at the 2019 Filmkunstmesse
The winners of the 2019 Filmkunstmesse

The Filmkunstmesse (16-20 September) takes place each year in Leipzig and is organised by AG Kino, a collective of arthouse and commercial cinema operators from Germany. Here, the programmers have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the most promising new films that have a scheduled release date in the next four to five months. More than 1,100 professionals attended this year's edition, which is considered to have set a new record.

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A total of 74 films, the majority European or US productions, were shown over the five-day event. Besides the screenings reserved for the industry, there were others open to the general public, during which the directors or actors were invited along as special guests. The festival also hosted several panels and the annual AG Kino members' assembly, which offered an opportunity to reflect on the institutional and political problems encountered by cinemas.

Parasite by Bong Joon-ho opened the event and won one of the coveted Gilde Awards – for Best International Film. The Gilde Award for Best National Film went to Lara [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: GoCritic! Interview: Jan-Ol…
interview: Jan Ole Gerster
film profile
]
by Jan-Ole Gerster, which paints the portrait of a lonely, ambitious and unconfident woman struggling with her sense of remorse after failing to become the famous musician she had dreamed of being all her life.

Bong's film, which won the Palme d’Or, was not the only one on the line-up to have been shown previously at the Cannes International Film Festival. In fact, a striking number of such movies, such as Les Misérables [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ladj Ly
film profile
]
by Ladj Ly, Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
by Céline Sciamma, The Farewell by Lulu Wang and For Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
by Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts, were on the menu in Leipzig – as such, one could easily get the impression that the event, which describes itself as an “arthouse festival”, is a window on Cannes. Here, the denomination “arthouse” seems to be used in a very broad sense, encompassing more mainstream films, or at least “elevated mainstream” titles, such as the Swiss production Zwingli [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Stefan Haupt; A Rainy Day in New York, the new outing by Woody Allen; Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Nick Broomfield, depicting the love story between singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen; and the biopic of Judy Garland Judy [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Rupert Goold.

The jury chose the US comedy Booksmart by Olivia Wilde as Best Youth Film. The prize goes to a movie particularly aimed at young people between 16 and 24 years old, which is exactly the kind of audience that AG Kino wants to inspire to take more of an interest in films and cinema. Besides the official jury, there was also a jury composed of students, who gave their prize, in contrast to the official jury's choice, to a completely different film – namely, the long-term documentation of war-torn Aleppo For Sama by Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts.

Anderswo – Allein in Afrika by Anselm Pahnke, depicting the travels of a young man through Africa on his bike, was crowned Best Documentary. Lastly, AG Kino honoured former Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick with a Special Prize acknowledging his commitment to arthouse films.

Here is the complete list of award winners at the Filmkunstmesse Leipzig:

Best International Film
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho (South Korea)

Best National Film
Lara [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: GoCritic! Interview: Jan-Ol…
interview: Jan Ole Gerster
film profile
]
– Jan-Ole Gerster (Germany)

Best Documentary Film
Anderswo – Allein in Afrika - Anselm Pahnke (Germany)

Best Youth Film
Booksmart – Olivia Wilde (USA)

Best Children’s Film
Mein Lottaleben – Alles Bingo mit Flamingo – Neele Leana Vollmar (Germany)

Best Film for the Youth Jury
For Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
– Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts (UK/USA)

Audience Award
Beyond the Visible – Hilma Af Klint – Salina Dyrschka (Germany/Sweden/Switzerland/UK)

Special Prize
Dieter Kosslick

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