Festival director Albert Wiederspiel: “The festival’s two main responsibilities are to discover new, talented directors and to showcase films that would otherwise never make it onto mainstream German screens. However, we still enjoy previewing films that already have a German distributor. And we’re still very proud to be able to screen new films from our favourite directors, of course.”
Familiar names, up-and-coming talent, award winners & female directors
The programme features the most recent films from François Ozon (L’Amant Double/France), Kornél Mundruczó (Jupiter’s Moon/Hungary), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer/Great Britain, Ireland), Barbara Albert (Licht/Austria), Claude Lanzmann (Napalm/France), George Clooney (Suburbicon/USA) and Frederick Wiseman (Ex Libris. The New York Public Library/USA). We will also be screening 32 debut features and 18 sophomore films, including Montparnasse Bienvenüe by Leonor Serraille (France), which received the Caméra d’Or for best first feature film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. More award-winning films in this year’s programme are – currently – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (USA) by Martin McDonagh (People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival), The Square (Sweden, Germany, Denmark, France) by Ruben Östlund (Palme d’Or, Cannes Film Festival), A Man of Integrity (Iran) by Mohammad Rasoulof (winner of the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes), Mrs. Fang (China) by Wang Bing (Golden Leopard, Locarno Film Festival), Taste of Cement (Syria) by Ziad Kaltoum (winner of the Vision du Réel documentary film festival in Nyon), How Viktor “the Garlic” Took Alexey “the Stud” to the Nursing Home by Alexander Hant (jury prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival), Bedoune Tarikh, Bedoune Emza [No Date, No Signature] by Valid Jalivand (Best Direction and Best Actor at the Venice International Film Festival, Orrizonti section) and Beach Rats by Eliza Hittman (director’s award at the Sundance Film Festival). The programme features a total of 37 films by female directors, including What Will People Say by Iram Haq (Norway), The Wedding Ring by Nigerian filmmaker Rahmatou Keïta (Nigeria, Burkina Faso, France), Hunting Season by Natalia Gragaliola (Argentina, Germany, France), Fühlen Sie sich manchmal ausgebrannt und leer? [Do you sometimes feel burnt-out and empty?] by Lola Randl (Germany) and the television film Kein Herz für Inder [No Heart for Indians] by Viviane Andereggen (Germany).
Focus on work, political films, films from China, Russia & Iran
This year’s focus – on the subject of work – includes films that cover the process of work itself (Makala, director: Emmanuel Gras, France), outsourcing (Crash Test Aglaé, director: Eric Gravel, France) and the societal and economic value of human labour (Life Guidance, director: Ruth Mader, Austria). In addition to new worlds of work and the global flow of migration, the political section Veto! also deals with the war in eastern Ukraine, the future of cities and the long-term consequences of the Rwandan Genocide and conflicts in the Western Balkan states. Films being screened include Citizen Jane: Battle for the City by Matt Tyrnauer (USA), Langes Echo [Long Echo] by Veronika Glasunowa and Lukasz Klakomy (Germany) and Birds Are Singing in Kigali by Johanna Kos-Krauze and Krysztof Krauze (Poland). Not only does the section Asia Express feature films from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, South Korea and the Philippines, it also includes three Chinese productions: Mrs. Fang by Wang Bing, Angels Wear White by Vivian Qu and Free and Easy by Geng Jun. While past years have seen fewer contributions from Russia, at this year’s festival, established directors and up-and-comers alike explore their country’s past and present. Opulent period drama Mathilde by Alexander Uchitel is celebrating its world premiere in Hamburg. In this film, Lars Eidinger plays the role of future tsar Nicholas II. FILMFEST HAMBURG has a long history of showcasing films from Iran. This year’s programme offers Mohammad Rasoulof’s A Man of Integrity and the animated film Teheran Taboo by Ali Soozandeh, a Cologne-based Iranian filmmaker.
A strong Northern presence, television on the big screen, films for children & young people
This year, FILMFEST HAMBURG will once again screen numerous films that shine a spotlight on Hamburg and Northern Germany and/or come from Hamburg-based filmmakers and creative minds. The sections Hamburger Filmschau, Freihafen, Kaleidoscope and 16:9, as well as the MICHEL Children’s and Youth Film Festival, feature the following films, among others: Es war einmal Indianerland [Once Upon a Time in Indian Country] by Ilker Catak, My Brother Simple by Markus Goller, Drift by Helene Wittmann, Danish-German co-production Letters for Amina by Jacob Bitsch, Icelandic-Latvian-German co-production The Swan by Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir, Pre-Crime by Monika Hielscher and Matthias Heeder and, in the television-film section 16:9, TIAN – The Mystery of St. Pauli by Damian Schipporeit, TATORT: Dunkle Zeit [Tatort: Dark Times] by Niki Stein, TATORT: Borowski und das Land zwischen den Meeren [Tatort: Borowski and the Land Between the Seas] by Sven Bohseand two episodes of the popular children’s series Die Pfefferkörner [The Peppercorns]. In a special screening, FILMFEST HAMBURG will be showing two episodes of Tom Tykwer, Hendrik Handloegten and Achim von Borries’ series Babylon Berlin and bid farewell to Bella Block’s long-time star Hannelore Hoger with two films of the series. Der namenlose Tag [The Nameless Day] is Oscar-winning director Volker Schlöndorff’s first-ever TV crime drama for the broadcaster ZDF. This year’s MICHEL Children’s and Youth Film Festival opens with Oskar’s America, on 6 October 2017. A total of eight films have been nominated for the MICHEL Award, the winner of which will be decided by a jury of children on 14 October 2017. The closing film will be Hotel The Big L by Ineke Houtman.
Supporting programme & special screenings
In addition to the well-established series of daily events Klappe auf! [Open Up!] (Bundesverband Schauspiel, the German film and TV actors’ association) and discussion series Unzensiert [Unstaged], FILMFEST HAMBURG will also be hosting a variety of events with its cooperative partners. Industry network Crew United will provide a panel discussion on the topic of film festivals (6 October, 8 p.m.), the Deutsche Filmakademie [German Film Academy] explores the possibility of data collection and analysis in a collaboration with Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein [a sponsor of film production in the region] (9 October, 3:30 p.m.) and WIFT, a network of women in film and television, will focus on equal opportunities for women working in the industry (13 October, 4 p.m.). FILMFEST HAMBURG is collaborating with film club HEIMATFILM [Homeland Films] to screen ten films that refugees have chosen as their favourites from their home countries; they will be working together with native speakers of German to provide subtitles.
Awards & honours, donors & sponsors
In this anniversary year, FILMFEST HAMBURG will be awarding 100,000 euros in prizes. 100,000 euros will go to the winner of the new Sichtwechsel Film Award [Change of Perspective], sponsored by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. This prize honours first-time directors who have ventured beyond national – and cultural – borders to create their films. Over recent years, the number of sponsors and donors has increased. FILMFEST HAMBURG’s main sponsor is the Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media. Other partners we have worked with for many years include the Deutsche Fernsehlotterie [German TV Lottery], Commerzbank AG, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland, Hapag-Loyd AG, the Grand Elysée Hotel, Studio Hamburg and the radio and television broadcaster NDR.