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15. August 2023


An actress who makes her characters human: FILMFEST HAMBURG awards this year’s Douglas Sirk Award to one of the currently most outstanding European actresses, Sandra Hüller. The award ceremony will take place on Saturday, 30 September, on the occasion of the German premiere of this year’s Goldene Palme winning film Anatomy of a Fall (France, 2023) by Justine Triet at CinemaxX Dammtor.


“We are very pleased to award one of the most important German actresses. Sandra Hüller masters the whole range of emotions and characteristics and thus lends special, unmistakable attributes to every role. On the screen as well as on the theatre stage. She combines the passionate, the transgressive, the comic, the mischievous and the casual. That is why we are particularly pleased to honour Sandra Hüller this year, as she is not only an outstanding actress, but also increasingly makes an important contribution to European film culture,” says festival director Albert Wiederspiel.


In the French courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall, awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Sandra Hüller plays a German writer who is herself drawn into a gruelling circumstantial trial by the mysterious death of her husband. The film dissects not only the circumstances of the death in great detail, but also the lively marriage of the two, and it is the search for the truth as a kaleidoscope of possibilities – a fitting match for the multi-faceted actress.


Born in 1978 and raised in Thuringia, Sandra Hüller left for Berlin at the age of 17 to study at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts. From there she returned to her home region for the first time: she found her first engagement at the Theaterhaus Jena. Further positions in Leipzig, Munich and Basel followed. Hüller has received several Actress of the Year awards, including the Gertrud-Eysoldt-Ring for her role as Hamlet at the Schauspielhaus Bochum in 2019. Her first major film role was under Hans-Christian Schmid as Michaela Klingler in Requiem (2006), which deals with the exorcism of Anneliese Michel in the mid-1970s and for which Hüller was awarded not only the German Film Award but also the Silver Bear at the Berlinale. Sandra Hüller received international attention above all for her portrayal of Ines Conradi in Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann (2016), which premiered in Cannes. She herself received the German and European Film Awards for this role, among others. The role can be seen as a prime example of Sandra Hüller’s acting skills: Between the lonely coldness of a successful management consultant and the softness of a daughter who ultimately leaves all conventions behind through her revived closeness to her father, Hüller unites the apparent contradictions.


Sandra Hüller is the second German actress after Nina Hoss to be awarded the Douglas Sirk Award. FILMFEST HAMBURG’s most prestigious award has been an integral part of the festival since 1995 and is named after the Hamburg-born director Detlef Sierck. The award is always presented to a personality who has rendered outstanding services to film culture and the film industry their work. Previous award winners include greats such as Jafar Panahi (2018), Wim Wenders (2017), Catherine Deneuve (2015), Tilda Swinton (2013) and Jodie Foster (1996). 


Photo: Agentur Schneider/Christian Hüller

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