144 films, 332 film festival guests from 33 countries, a new Explorer conference on the future of cinema, »Filmfest ums Eck« with films in the city districts, film talks, after-show concerts with bands from Hamburg and more than 20 public and industry events in the festival tent: FILMFEST HAMBURG was able to inspire both audience and industry and draws a positive balance. With 45,000 visitors, the number of festival visitors increased by 2000 compared to the previous year. The Douglas Sirk Prize was awarded to Nina Hoss on the fourth day already. The German actress was featured in two festival films: Pelican Blood directed by Katrin Gebbe and The Audition directed by Ina Weisse.
The awards at a glance:
The Hamburg Producers Award for German Cinema Productions, endowed with 25,000 Euros prize money and presented by State Councillor Jana Schiedek, goes to producer Verena Gräfe-Höft (Junafilm) for her film Pelican Blood directed by Katrin Gebbe.
Jury statement: »In her film, the director chooses two plot strands that are already extraordinary and radical in their own right. One shows the training of police horses for demonstrations and the other a single mother of a severely traumatised adopted child. The outstanding thing about this film is not only the interaction of these two strands, but also their not yet seen meaningful merging, dissolution, even salvation, which is fought for by a great Nina Hoss. We would like to distinguish this courage in terms of content, form and production.«
Ilkar Çatak, Director
Sebastian Thümler, Film Editor
Susanne Wolff, Actress
A total of seven films from the section »Große Freiheit« were nominated for the Hamburg Producers Award for German Cinema Productions. The prize money is provided by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
The Hamburg Producers Award for European Cinema Co-Productions, endowed with 25,000 Euros and presented by State Councillor Jana Schiedek, goes to the German co-producer Michael Henrichs (Die Gesellschaft DGS) for his film You Will Die at Twenty directed by Amjad Abu Alala.
Excerpt from the jury's statement: »Starting from a fairytale-like premise, the director of this film combines reality and fantasy by carefully observing a social environment through an intimate portrait. With a composition of precise images and stagings, the visual language of the film delivers an almost epic quality to the existential struggle of the main character, excellently played in two ages by Moatasem Rashid and Mustafa Shehata. Although the film addresses the inevitable consequences of superstition and fear, it retains a dignified and emphatic view of rural Sudan. This tale of a young man's development in the face of death is a courageous and promising debut and a brilliant feat in international co-productions...«
In addition, the Hamburg post-production company Optical Art is providing a cinema grading worth 15,000 Euros for the foreign co-producer of the winning film. This goes to the French company Andolfi based in Paris.
Ivan Madeo, Producer, Switzerland
Ivan Marković, Director and Director of Photography, Serbia, Germany
András Siebold, Artistic Director of the International Summer Festival at Kampnagel, Germany
A total of nine films from the »Freihafen« section were nominated for the Hamburg Producers Award for European Cinema Co-Productions. The prize money is provided by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
The Hamburg Producers Award for German TV Productions, endowed with 25,000 Euros, presented by Alexander Thies, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of VFF - Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten, goes to producer Ingmar Trost (Sutor Kolonko e.K.) for the television film A Voluntary Year directed by Ulrich Köhler and Henner Winckler.
Excerpt from the jury's statement: »A Voluntary Year is a highly emotional, dense, humorous film. The seemingly ordinary story of a father-daughter relationship in the German province develops into a road movie with ever-surprising twists and turns, without ever leaving. Every character works. Every actor, however small, develops an inner coherence with precise, authentic gestures that are copied from life, an inner coherence that we rarely see on German television. ...Producer Ingmar Trost and the sutor Kolonko Produktion has created a truly creative space for the directors and the team to create a film with A Voluntary Year that we definitely want to see more of on television! Keep up the good work!«
Natja Brunckhorst, Scriptwriter and Director
Ilona Schultz, Producer
Friedrich Wildfeuer, Producer
12 films from the section »Televisionen« were nominated for the Hamburg Producers Award for German TV Productions. Since 2014 the prize money has been provided by the VFF - Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten.
The Sichtwechsel Film Award, endowed with 10,000 Euros and donated by the Federal Foreign Office, goes to director Julien Elie for his film Dark Suns.
Jury statement: »A stunning film, not only because of the relevance and explosiveness of its theme, but also because of the unconditional will to explore it in depth, to show connections that paint a politically alarming, very clear picture of the social conditions in Mexico. A courageous film: It is unbelievable how much trust Julien Elie was able to build up with the affected contemporary witnesses* who, despite clearly described dangers, reveal themselves in intimate pain. A completely unpretentious film that, despite all the professionalism of the research, subordinates the chosen means exclusively to the transparency of the subject and never disregards the perspective of the protagonists or the viewers. The polyphony of the research results in a portrait of an arbitrary system of violence and terror. At the same time, the film implies a change of perspective in that it documents the possibility and lived reality of individual resistance. This is its monolithic strength.«
Sławomir Sierakowski, Political Author and Activist
Rita Thiele, Chief Dramaturge at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus
Tatjana Turanskyj, Director and Co-founder of Pro Quote Film
The Political Film Award of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, endowed with 5,000 Euros, goes to director Sebastian Brameshuber for his film Movements of a Nearby Mountain.
Excerpt from the jury statement: »... It is a film that captivates, that simply makes you happy. Its themes are the great ones of our time: globalisation, capitalism, migration, exploitation of raw materials and recycling. Director Sebastian Brameshuber, however, concentrates on one protagonist and a few others, telling a small, powerful story full of surprising twists. With great respect, he approaches his characters without exposing them, leaving room for imagination. In the centre is a man from Nigeria. He lives and works in Styria at a scrap yard at the foot of an ore mine. ...The evisceration of the car wrecks takes place in sovereign serenity. With gestures practiced thousands of times, it resembles a poetic act... The local sales negotiations with scrap dealers from Hungary or Romania never seem to come to a conclusion, the camera observes them discreetly, again full of respect, as if they were a ritual from bygone times. The same applies to the negotiations on a market in Africa. The Nigerian scrap dealer from Styria looks at the bystanders and says: »If you would all buy, I would be back in my home country long ago«. Where thiat is, remains open. As said, a film that makes you happy.«
Barbara Duden, Vice President of the Hamburg Parliament
Catarina Felixmüller, Journalist
Helena Wittmann, Director
This year, the NDR Young Talent Award, endowed with 5,000 Euros, for feature film debuts or second directorial works goes to director Mehdi M. Barsaoui for his film A Son.
Jury statement: »We have experienced a tremendous diversity of themes and styles in this strong young generation and have seen remarkable films from all continents that have brought foreign cultures very close to us through their strength. Our prizewinner has achieved this in a very special way. A Son, the astonishingly mature feature film debut of Tunisian director Mehdi M. Barsaoui, tells the moving story of a modern family that is thrown back on archaic rules of conduct by a terrible blow of fate. With its numerous, cleverly thought-out twists - Barsaoui also wrote the script - the highly complex story becomes increasingly dense and gripping, without ever losing itself in the social and societal complexity. Above all, however, this excellently played and filmed work captivated, stirred up and simply never let go of us at any minute.«
Marc Brummund, Director
Knut Elstermann, Radio Presenter and Film Journalist
Dagmar Jacobsen, Producer
The Art Cinema Award of the International Federation of Art Cinemas (C.I.C.A.E.), endowed with 5,000 Euros, goes to the film Portrait of a Lady on Fire directed by Céline Sciamma, distributed by Alamode.
Jury statement: »Sensitively, precisely and with great ease, Céline Sciamma takes us to a Breton island of the 18th century and tells of the creation of a painting and the love that develops between the painter and the person portrayed. The camerawoman Claire Mathon finds her very own pictorial language and creates each individual shot like her own painting. The themes of this perfectly designed romantic film are consistently and artistically interwoven on all levels, and the chemistry of the two leading actresses Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel is effortlessly transferred to the screen. Set in the past, Portrait of a Lady on Fire negotiates themes that still have universal significance today: Social constraints, role models, transience and memory or the power of the image. The film is not only a great love story, as we have not seen it in the cinema for a long time, but also an encouragement for another way of seeing that is marked by sincerity and the desire to recognize. Portrait of a Lady on Fire has fully convinced and enchanted us with its way of narrating, both in content and visually.«
Bénédicte Latinaud, Cinema Le Bourguet Forcalquier, France
Stefan Messner, Moviemento & City Cinema Linz, Austria
Iris Praefke, Kino Central, Kino Moviemento & Kino Toni Berlin, Germany
The Critics' Choice Award, which has been awarded since 2018 in cooperation with the Association of German Film Critics, goes to Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains directed by Gu Xiaogang
Jury statement: »We are delighted to award Gu Xiaogang the Chritics' Choice Award for his family epic Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains. He tells of a large Chinese family and at the same time of an entire country - with its historical heritage such as one-child politics and its current problems such as intergenerational change. Gu Xiaogang shows all this in poetic, elegant settings. The narrative strands flow into each other, ascending and descending like the waters of the Fuchun River, on whose banks the epic is set. We admire the maturity and balance of Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, especially as it is a debut film. But the best thing about this award winner is that it is the first part of a trilogy.«
Olga Baruk, critic.de, Filmdienst, Filmbulletin
Jens Büchsenmann, NDR 90,3, NDR Culture
Karin Franzke, Hamburger Abendblatt
Wenke Husmann, ZEIT online
Hannah Pilarczyk, SPIEGEL online
Anke Sterneborg, Süddeutsche Zeitung, rbb Kulturradio
Julia Teichmann, Berliner Zeitung, Film Service
The Commerzbank Audience Award in the section »Eurovisuell«, endowed with 5,000 Euros, goes to Psychobitch directed by Martin Lund.
The MICHEL Award, endowed with 5,000 Euros, was awarded in the afternoon by the Hamburg Cultural Foundation and the Ian and Barbara Karan Foundation and also goes to Psychobitch directed by Martin Lund.
Jury statement: »We watched great films for a week. We had a hard decision to make, but in the end it was clear to us that we liked one film particularly well this year. We chose the film because sensible themes such as mental illness, superficiality, sexuality and bullying were presented in a sensitive and comprehensible way. Thanks to the great performances of Jonas Tidemann and Elli Müller Osborne, we were able to put ourselves into the roles and empathize with them. The story fascinated us from the very first second and didn't let us go until the end. In addition, there are also matching images and great staging. The title is a bit confusing, but reflects the content.«
Photos of the award ceremony will be available on our website from October 7, 2019.
The 28th FILMFEST HAMBURG will take place from September 24 to October 3, 2020.