“Wim Wenders, one of the greatest filmmakers in the world, whose works typify German auteur cinema more than almost any other director, has more than earned the Douglas Sirk Award. Awarding him this prize is also our way of honouring him for his tireless commitment to European cinema and his tremendous dedication to the German film industry. What’s more, so many of his works feature references to Hamburg and north Germany, not just Falsche Bewegung, Der Amerikanische Freund or through his professorship at the University of Fine Arts (HFBK). With the filmmakers’ film festival he even laid one of the cornerstones for FILMFEST HAMBURG. For this reason I’m all the more delighted to be able to acknowledge him with the Douglas Sirk Award as part of our anniversary year 2017,” explains Festival Manager Albert Wiederspiel.
The award ceremony will take place on 13 October 2017 in conjunction with the German premiere of Wim Wenders' latest film Submergence. The film adaptation of the book of the same name by J. M. Ledgard, with Oscar winner Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy playing the leading roles, is a tantalising romantic film about two people who live life to the extreme in their own unique ways. Through brilliant images Wenders tells the stories of Danny, a biomathematician working in the polar sea researching the origins of life on our planet, and James, a British undercover agent in Somalia trying to track down a terrorist training cell, which ultimately leads to him being taken captive. “Large, brilliant images accompany two exceptional actors on their journeys as they explore the global issues of the present day,” says Albert Wiederspiel about Submergence. The film is a co-production between Germany, France and Spain. It is due for release in Germany on 15 February 2018 (Warner Bros. Pictures Germany).
The Douglas Sirk Award is the most prestigious award at FILMFEST HAMBURG and has been a firm feature of the festival since 1995. It is only ever awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to film culture and the film industry through their work. Former prizewinners include Clint Eastwood (1995), Stephen Frears (1996), Jodie Foster (1997), Peter Weir (1998), Jim Jarmusch (1999), Wong Kar-Wai (2000), Majid Majidi (2001), Aki Kaurismäki (2002), Isabelle Huppert (2003), François Ozon (2004), Zentropa (2005), Gérard Depardieu (2006), David Cronenberg (2007), Atom Egoyan (2008), Julian Schnabel (2010), Andreas Dresen, Peter Rommel (2011), Kim Ki-duk (2012), Tilda Swinton (2013), Fatih Akin (2014) and Catherine Deneuve (2015).
Wim Wenders, born in 1945, acquired international fame as one of the pioneers of 1970s’ New German Cinema and is considered one of the most important representatives of German cinema today. His filmmaking career began in 1967 when he entered his first year of studies at HFF Munich (University of Television and Film). Since then he has gone on to create an extensive portfolio of multiple award-winning feature films and documentaries and also works as a producer, photographer and writer. In 1971 he and 15 other directors and writers founded Filmverlag der Autoren, a German film distributor. In 1976 he went solo with his own production company Road Movies Filmproduktion, through which he also later produced films by other directors. Wim Wenders has been awarded numerous prizes around the world, including the Palme d’Or and British Academy Film Award for Paris, Texas (1984), the Best Director Award in Cannes for Der Himmel über Berlin (1987), the Golden Lion in Venice for Der Stand der Dinge (1982) and the Silver Bear for The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) at the Berlin International Film Festival. His documentaries Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Pina (2011) and Das Salz der Erde (2014) have each been nominated for an Oscar. What’s more, at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival Wenders was awarded the Honorary Golden Bear for his life’s work.
Wenders’ importance to the film world extends far beyond his work as a director. He has been President of the European Film Academy since 1996 and from 2003 to 2017 he taught at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts. In 2006 Wim Wenders became the first filmmaker to receive the Pour le Mérite order of merit. He was a member of the jury in Cannes in 1989 and in 2008 in Venice. In 2012 he launched the Wim Wenders Foundation together with his wife, set up to preserve his work and support innovative filmmakers.
Wim Wenders lives and works in Berlin.
Thank you for everything and Happy Birthday Wim!