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80th Venice International Film Festival with German productions in competitions and German Focus at the Venice Production Bridge


The 80th Venice International Film Festival will take place this year from 30 August to 9 September. The strike of the actors' union SAG-AFTRA and the authors' union WGA is sure to be an issue at the Lido di Venezia this year, even if the effects are still not yet fully clear at the moment. However, from a German perspective, there’s good news with the participation of productions and co-productions in various competitive sections and the German Focus at the Venice Production Bridge.

The German production THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING ( Fiction, THE BARRICADES) by Timm Kroeger will be shown in the Venezia 80 competitive section. Set in 1962, the black-and-white thriller is about a soon-to-be doctor of physics who is invited to an international conference in the Swiss Alps where an Iranian scientist is set to reveal a new, and what’s said to be groundbreaking, theory of quantum mechanics. However, he ends up being more interested in a mysterious pianist, a bizarre cloud formation in the sky and a booming mystery beneath the mountain.

Meanwhile, the German short film SENTIMENTAL STORIES (German Film and Television Academy Berlin - DFFB) by Xandra Popescu is screening in another competitive section, Orrizzonti Corti. The film centres on several people in different life situations who come together in a factory at the harbour. Their stories intersect and create a parallax view of heartbreak and desire, disappointment and hope.

The documentary HOLLYWOODGATE by Ibrahim Nash'at looks at the first year in Afghanistan under the new rule of the Taliban. The German-American co-production is being screened in the Fuori Concorso section. Director Julia Fuhr Mann will be presenting LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION, BUT I'M WINNING (Schuldenberg Films) in the Settimana Internationale della Critica. This genre-bending documentary is an artistic exploration of the Olympic Games’ historiography and raises the question of what happens to those who were never allowed to participate.

The film follows Amanda Reiter, a trans marathon runner who has to contend with the prejudices of sports officials, and the 800-metre runner Annet Negesa who was pressured by international sports federations to undergo hormone treatment. Together with a collective of queer athletes, they create a radical poetic utopia far beyond the rigid gender rules in competitive sport.

Two majority German productions, UPWIND (Neonreal, Volucap) by Florian Siebert and TALES OF THE MARCH (Daring House, Studio Deussen) by Stefano Casertano, will take part in this year's Venice Immersive section. Venice Immersive is dedicated exclusively to immersive media and considers all XR forms of creative expression: 360-degree videos and XR projects of all lengths, including installations and virtual worlds. The Venice International Film Festival was a pioneer in this field since it was one of the first film festivals worldwide to focus on virtual reality in a dedicated  section. The director and multimedia artist Pedro Harres, who won last year's VR main prize with a German project, will sit on the Venice Immersive section jury this year.

The third edition of the Venice Production Bridge will present two focuses, a European one (Germany, supported by German Films) and an international one (Quebec, supported by Sodec).

The focus will provide a comprehensive look at the state of the industry and filmmaking community through a series of dedicated panels, meetings and networking events, as well as thanks to the participation of a large delegation of professionals and decision-makers from Germany and Quebec. Together with Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, MOIN!, Hessen Film & Medien, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Nordmedia, FFF Bayern and Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, German Films will host the "Meet the German Creators" VR panel as well as a panel on "German XR Gaming: Exploring the Potential and the Market of Narrative Games in XR". In addition, German Films will be joining forces with SODEC Quebec to host a roundtable discussion with director Edward Berger (ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT) and Canadian director Philippe Falardeau.

The German Focus at the Venice Production Bridge will also showcase five German productions to be presented in various programmes. HEN (Pallas Film) by György Pálfi and RESHMA SHERA (NiKo Film) by Megha Ramaswamy can be seen in the Gap-Financing Market. The feature film HAPPY HOLIDAYS (Red Balloon) by Sacandar Copti will be screened in Final Cut. The Immersive Projects section will show LIVING WITH THE SNOW LEOPARDS (NowHere Media) by Gayatri Parameswaran and Felix Gaedtke as well as GENESIS - The LIFE EXPERIENCE (Faber Courtial) by Joerg Courtial.

German actors are also represented with films in various sections. In the competition section Venezia 80, Clemens Schick can be seen in DOGMAN by Luc Besson, Franz Rogowski in LUBO by Giorgio Diritti and Hanna Schygulla in POOR THINGS by Yargos Lanthimos. Oliver Masucci and Milan Peschel are part of the cast of Roman Polanski's THE PALACE wich will be shown in Fuori Concorso.


German productions and co-productions in Venice at a glance

Venezia 80
BASTARDEN (THE PROMISED LAND) by Nikolaj Arcel (DK/DE/SE, Zentropa International Berlin)

DORMITORY by Nehir Tuna (TR/DE/FR, Red Balloon)
CITY OF WIND by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir (FR/MN/PT/NL/DE/QA, 27 Film Production)

Fuori Concorso
HOLLYWOODGATE by Ibrahim Nash'at (DE/US)

Orrizonti Corti
SENTIMENTAL STORIES by Xandra Popescu (German Film and Television Academy Berlin - DFFB)

Venice Immersive
UPWIND (AUFWIND) by Florian Siebert (Neonreal, Volucap)
EMPEROR by Marion Burger, Ilan Cohen (FR/DE, Reynard Films)
TALES OF THE MARCH by Stefano Casertano (DE/IT, Daring House, Studio Deussen)

38. Settimana Internazionale Della Critica
LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION, BUT I’M WINNING by Julia Fuhr Mann (Schuldenberg Films)
MALQUERIDAS by Tana Gilbert (CL/DE, Dirk Manthey Film)

20. Giornate Degli Autori
SIDONIE AU JAPON by Elise Girard (FR/DE/JP/CH, Lupa Film)

Sylva Häutle (Head of Festival Relations & Producers Liaison)
Angela Sonntag (Head of Press & PR)