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Numbers, Closing & Farewell

7. October 2023


The awards of the 31st FILMFEST HAMBURG were presented at the closing ceremony on the evening before the film Paradise is Burning by Mika Gustafson was screened at CinemaxX Dammtor.


Albert Wiederspiel and his team welcomed a total of 520 guests from 33 countries to Hamburg, including the festival organisers and filmmakers from Ukraine, who were guests at the Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival at the Abaton Kino for the second time and hosted their national feature film competition in Hamburg. Other guests included directors Bertrand Bonello, Radu Jude, Catherine Breillart, Timm Kröger, Wim Wenders, Monia Chokri, Jeanne Herry, Martin Pieter Zandvliet, Nikolaj Arcel, Dominik Graf, Rodrigo Moreno, Hans Steinbichler, Stephan Komandarev and Marie Amachoukeli, as well as the actors Merve Dizdar, Lena Urzendowsky, Susanne Wolff , Kotti Yun, Sandra Hüller, Mads Mikkelsen, Dave Turner, Théodore Pellerin, Jan Bülow, Luise Heyer, Henriette Confurius, Jenny Schily, Stefan Gorski and Denis Moschitto. 132 feature-length films were shown in ten sections from 48 production countries. The five-day INDUSTRY DAYS dealt, among other things, with a contemporary age image of women in film and television, green storytelling, the topic of rights retention and the cinematheque of the future.  At the concluding 4th Explorer Conference, topics such as diversity, the use of artificial intelligence in creative work and audience development were discussed. The MICHEL Children’s and Youth Film Festival took place for the first time at the Studio Kino, and the “Filmfest ums Eck” programme showed films in five district cinemas. Festival meeting places were the MOIN FILMFEST CAFÉ and the FILMFEST BAR / Kasematte20.


With 52,700 festival visitors including the Binnenalster Filmfest, the 31st FILMFEST HAMBURG is the most successful edition in its history. This year 17 percent more tickets were sold than last year.


Festival director Albert Wiederspiel: “I am overwhelmed by the cinema enthusiasm of our Hamburg audience. How wonderful it is to have full cinemas and to experience stories together on the big screen. It is not only the most successful festival in my tenure, but of all time. My big thanks go to the loyal festival-goers and new FILMFEST HAMBURG fans and, of course, to my entire team. One should leave when it is most beautiful. I wish my successor Malika Rabahallah a good start at the most beautiful job in the world.”


The prizes at a glance:


The NDR Young Talent Award for feature film debuts, worth 5,000 euros, goes this year to director Noora Niasari for her film Shayda (Australia, 2022).

Jury statement: “A film that makes general things clear with a precise and sure hand through a personal story. Shayda captivates with a rhythmic, grounded dramaturgy. The visual language comes close to a memory that is carried by human warmth despite the heaviness of the narrative. Shayda communicates an honest appreciation and above all hope.”


For the first time, a jury of Hamburg students decided:

Abraxas Akanho

Nicole Barabasch

Mathis Lorenzen

Julia Schmalfeldt

Giacomo Wiesenberg


The Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s Political Film Award, endowed with 5,000 euros, goes to director Maciek Hamela for his film In the Rearview (France, Poland, Ukraine, 2023).


Excerpt from the jury’s statement: “One film nevertheless stood out from the selection. It is shot under the most difficult conditions, with a single camera, in a single, narrow room. Every now and then, the view through the window goes outside and shows images that we have all seen on television in a similar way, images of destruction. But now we see them from the perspective of those whose world has just come apart at the seams. We look into their faces and hear what they say, often seeming amazingly impassive, sometimes overtly traumatised, always succinct, always moving. Although the camera looks directly into their faces, as if in the rear-view mirror, it never seems voyeuristic. The people tell short and precise excerpts of their stories, as densely as a screenplay could hardly do. Often they unexpectedly turn from the seemingly banal to the horrific. In only 84 minutes, the audience gets to know dozens of people: Women, men, children, old people, locals and newcomers. In the car in which the whole film takes place, they are united by the same fate: they are on the run. (…) The man at the wheel of the car is also the director of the film, sometimes he asks cautious questions, sometimes he suddenly has to change direction because there are mines on the road in the dark, or because a bridge no longer exists. The genre of anti-war films is dominated by films in which men wage war. This film is a real anti-war film because it is told entirely from the point of view of the victims. The film is a beacon against habituation, it makes visible those whose lives are directly shaken by this war against Ukraine. Thus, the people in this work tell vicariously and universally of war and flight, everywhere. This great film deserves a great audience.”



Tanja Chawla, Chairwoman of the DGB, Hamburg

Carolin Genreith, author, director, producer

Christian Stöcker, Professor, Journalist


The Arthouse Cinema Award of the International Association of Art Cinemas (C.I.C.A.E.), endowed with 5,000 euros, goes to the film How to have Sex (United Kingdom, Greece 2023), directed by Molly Manning Walker, distributed by capelight pictures. The prize money is provided by MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein for PR measures of the German distributor.


Jury statement: “We chose this film because of its vivid, violent, chaotic and emotional story about escaping reality – even if only for a few sun-drenched days. It tackles an urgent and topical issue that affects not only young people, but society as a whole. Filled with doubt, betrayal and sincere friendship, it helps us understand that we can only hold on to the things closest to our hearts.”



Deborah Shirley Cohrs, cinema and film marketing consultant

Jure Matičič, Mestni kino Domzale, Slovenia

Erwin Rajkovcanin, Schauburg Dortmund


The Film Critics’ Prize has been awarded in cooperation with the Association of German Film Critics since 2018. The prize goes to Do Not Expect Too Much Of the End of The World by Radu Jude (Croatia, France, Luxembourg, Romania, 2023).


Jury statement: “An original film that criticises the present from the present. The focus is on a production driver who speeds along the roads of Romania on the verge of exhaustion. This story is interlaced with, among other things, a feature film about a female taxi driver in Bucharest in 1981, satirical social media footage and appearances by Uwe Boll as Uwe Boll and Nina Hoss as an Austrian producer who knows nothing about her Western arrogance. 163 minutes of spectacle, cleverly mounted, light on its feet and full of wicked wit.”


Honorable mention:

“The jury also gives a Special Mention to The Goldman Case by Cédric Kahn. A courtroom drama that on the one hand follows genre logic with great precision and on the other hand opens our eyes to Jewish history and racist police violence.”



Silvia Bahl, Filmdienst, Kino-Zeit

Matthias Dell, Deutschlandradio

Danny Marques, NDR 90,3

Barbara Schweizerhof, epd Film, TAZ, ZEIT online

Anika Würz Hamburger Abendblatt


The FILMFEST HAMBURG PUBLIC PRIZE, endowed with 5,000 euros, donated by the Hapag-Lloyd Foundation for the audience favourite of the festival goes to Heaven Can Wait – Wir leben jetzt by Sven Halfar


On the previous evening, the Hamburg Producer Awards “International Cinema Coproductions” and “German Cinema Productions” were presented to producer Fabian Driehorst / Fabian&Fred (Sultana’s Dream, directed by Isabel Herguera) and to director and producer Katharina Huber (Ein schöner Ort). The prize money of 25,000 euros each for these categories is provided by the Ministry of Culture and Media. The Hamburg Producer Award “German Television Productions”, also in the amount of 25,000 euros and donated by the Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten (VFF), goes to Jakob Claussen and Uli Putz / Claussen + Putz (Sörensen catches fire, directed by Bjarne Mädel). An honourable mention was given to The Flood – Dead at the Dike (Director: Andreas Prochaska; Production: Nordfilm, Kerstin Ramcke, Katinka Seidt and Wilfried Hauke). Katrin Haase and Oliver Arnold / U5 Filmproduktion (Füxe, director: David Clay Diaz, Susan Gordanshekan) were awarded the Special Prize for Serial Formats in the amount of 10,000 euros donated by the VFF.


The MICHEL Film Prize MAJA, endowed with 10,000 euros and donated for the first time by Hamburg cinema operator Hans-Peter Jansen, was awarded on 5 October by the MICHEL Jury to the film Totem (Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, 2022, directed by Sander Burger).

The 2000 USD prize of the Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival, Scythian Deer, went to the film How is Katia? (director: Christina Tynkevyc). The jury awarded an honourable mention to the films Luxembourg, Louxembourg (director: Antonio Lukich) and Rock.Paper.Granade (director: Iryna Tsilyk).


The Douglas Sirk Award winner 2023 is Sandra Hüller.


Photos from today’s award ceremony will be available on our website from 9.10.2023.


FILMFEST HAMBURG is funded and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg as well as by the loyal main partners Deutsche Fernsehlotterie, Hapag-Lloyd Stiftung, Studio Hamburg Gruppe, Grand Elysee Hotel and the mobility partner MOIA. Further sponsors are the Karin and Walter Blüchert Memorial Foundation, ARTE, the main media partner NDR and 60 other partners, patrons and supporters.


The date for the 32nd edition of FILMFEST HAMBURG under the new direction of Malika Rabahallah will be announced in January 2024.

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