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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Germany

No One’s with the Calves, Vortex, Olga and Hive come out on top at Filmfest Hamburg

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- The 29th edition of the German gathering rolled out a purple carpet, and showcased stories about love, hope and the fight for freedom

No One’s with the Calves, Vortex, Olga and Hive come out on top at Filmfest Hamburg
l-r: Jonas Weydemann, Saskia Rosendahl and Jakob Weydemann with their Hamburg Producers Award for German Cinema Productions for No One’s with the Calves (© Heike Blenk)

Some intense emotional and political films marked the programme of the 29th Filmfest Hamburg, which rolled out a purple carpet this year from 30 September-9 October. By opening the festival with the hard-edged gay drama Great Freedom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sebastian Meise
film profile
]
by Sebastian Meise, Filmfest Hamburg director Albert Wiederspiel made a strong statement. Many stories among the 110 films that were featured in the different festival sections were about love, LGBT and women’s rights, and political persecution.

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French filmmaker Leos Carax received the prestigious Douglas Sirk Award for his work. His most recent musical drama, Annette [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, was one of the highlights of the festival. Among the 392 guests from 32 countries, directors such as Kenneth Branagh, Andrea Arnold, Mathieu Amalric, Ildikó Enyedi and Stefan Ruzowitzky presented their new films at the gathering, which attracted almost 25,000 cinemagoers. Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the seating capacity in the cinemas was limited to 50%, however.

Filmfest Hamburg aims to support young filmmakers and to present a broad programme that offers the audience the chance to make new discoveries. In total, prizes worth €130,000 were given out. The Hamburg Producers Award for German Cinema Productions was handed to producers Jonas and Jakob Weydemann (System Crasher [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nora Fingscheidt
film profile
]
) for the drama No One’s with the Calves [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sabrina Sarabi
film profile
]
, directed by Sabrina Sarabi. The part of the young woman who wants to escape from the countryside previously earned leading actress Saskia Rosendahl a Leopard for Best Actress at Locarno.

A story about a courageous woman who takes matters into her own hands but is met with opposition in her small village is told by Blerta Basholli in Hive [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Blerta Basholli
film profile
]
. Based on real events, the drama won the NDR Young Talent Award, which is given to filmmakers for their feature debut or second directorial effort. The Audience Award went to the feature-length documentary Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege) [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Abdallah Al-Khatib, which gives an insight into day-to-day life in Yarmouk, Syria, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in the world, where the director was born and lived until 2015.

The Critics’ Choice Award was given to Gaspar Noé’s drama Vortex [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which follows an elderly couple in their cramped Paris apartment. Filmfest Hamburg closed with Jacques Audiard’s modern tale of love Paris, 13th District [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which is set in the titular area of the French capital. Introduced by leading actors Lucie Zhang and Makita Samba, the black-and-white romance story received CICAE’s Art Cinema Award, worth €5,000, intended to support the marketing campaign of the movie. In Germany, Paris, 13th District will be released in theatres by Neue Visionen.

For next year’s 30th-anniversary edition of Filmfest Hamburg, festival director Albert Wiederspiel hopes that the COVID-19 restrictions won’t be necessary any more so that the screening rooms can be up to full capacity once again.

Here is the full list of winners at the 2021 Filmfest Hamburg:

Hamburg Producers Award for German Cinema Productions
No One’s with the Calves [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sabrina Sarabi
film profile
]
- Sabrina Sarabi (Germany)

Hamburg Producers Award for International Cinema Co-Productions
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Achou…
film profile
]
- Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (France/Chad/Germany/Belgium)

Hamburg Producers Award for German TV Productions
Sleepless in Portugal - Florian Froschmayer (Germany)

Douglas Sirk Award
Annette [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Leos Carax (France/USA/Mexico/Germany/Belgium)

Special Prize for Serial Formats
Warten auf’n Bus - Ulf Israel, Reik Möller (Germany)

Sichtwechsel Film Award
Olga [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elie Grappe
film profile
]
- Elie Grappe (Switzerland/France)

NDR Young Talent Award
Hive [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Blerta Basholli
film profile
]
- Blerta Basholli (Switzerland/Albania/North Macedonia/Kosovo)

Political Film of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
La Civil [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Teodora Ana Mihai
film profile
]
- Teodora Ana Mihai (Belgium/Mexico/Romania)

Critics’ Choice Award
Vortex [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Gaspar Noé (France/Belgium/Monaco)

Art Cinema Award of the International Association of Art Cinemas (CICAE)
Paris, 13th District [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Jacques Audiard (France)

Commerzbank Audience Award
Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege) [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Abdallah Al-Khatib (Libya/France/Qatar)

Michel Award for Best Children’s and Youth Film
Ich, Gorilla und der Affenstern - Linda Hambäck (South Korea)

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