Spotlight on young German directors
The 29th edition of the Max Ophüls Prize Film Festival in Saarbrücken (January 14-20) opened yesterday with the screening of Love Made Easy, the second film by young Zurich-born director Peter Luisi (32), who won the festival’s Promotional Award in 2004 for his debut feature Verflixt verliebt.
The Swiss director ventured to Hollywood to make this comedy that he wrote and produced (for Spotlight Media Production AG, in co-production with Presence Production and the US). Love Made Easy tells the story of five outcasts in California whose dreary lives suddenly liven up when one of them meets the woman of his dreams and they all decide to help their friend seduce her.
As the choice of opening title suggests, the festival, founded in 1980 by Albrecht Stuby, remains faithful to its tradition and continues to promote young German-speaking filmmakers – aided in this purpose by its border location.
Moreover, the new directors of the event, Gabriella Bandel and Philipp Bräuer (Birgit Johnson having retired due to illness), promised upon their appointment to safeguard the future of the festival, which has seen an increase from 700 viewers when it first began to 30,000 in 2006.
The festival includes three competitions – of features (narrative or documentaries), medium-length films and shorts.
The 15 features vying for the Max Ophüls Prize (worth €18,000) are mainly German titles but also include Austrian film 42 Plus by Sabine Derflinger, Hello Goodbye by Swiss director Stefan Jäger and the German/Italian/Swiss documentary Der Pfad des Kriegers by Andreas Pichler.
The young directors featured are also eager to focus their camera on foreign lands. Athanasios Karanikolas’ Elli Makra: 42277 Wuppertal depicts a return to Greece, while Nana Neul’s Mein Freud aus Faro (“My Friend from Faro”) has a Portuguese flavour.
It is also noteworthy that the young filmmakers (who have made no more than three films to date) use the 35mm format as much as digital technology.
The other sections of the Saarbrücken festival include the Spektrum sidebar, offering a panorama of 2007’s films of all genres, and the sections aimed at developing links between German and French cinema: "Transit France" (which will screen Actresses [+see also:
film profile], Love Songs [+see also:
film profile] and Water Lilies [+see also:
film profile]) and "Shorts from the German/French Masterclass".
(Translated from French)
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