The feature film NEVER LOOK AWAY by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (Pergamon Film, Wiedemann & Berg Film, Beta Cinema) will represent Germany as the official submission for the 91st Oscar® in the category Best Foreign Language Film. This has been decided by an independent jury appointed by German Films. A total of 11 films were submitted for the selection process.

The nine-person jury, headed by jury representative Moritz Hemminger (Association of German Film Exporters), substantiated its decision as follows: "With great epic breadth, NEVER LOOK AWAY tells a moving story of an artist’s fate in post-war Germany, in a time where it was difficult to find one’s own artistic language. Supported by a terrific ensemble of actors, the film has great poetic moments and poses an essential question which is still relevant today: Finding one’s own stance."

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck:
"My actors, producers and I, we asked ourselves in the making of NEVER LOOK AWAY: What movie would we ourselves like to see on the screen? The result is a love story, a family drama, a biography of Germany in the 20th century, and a stroll through modern art. The fact that the independent jury has now selected NEVER LOOK AWAY to represent our country in the “Olympic Games” in Hollywood of course makes our whole team, our distributors, commissioning editors, funders, and myself very happy."

Producer Jan Mojto: Pergamon Film:
"NEVER LOOK AWAY is a unprecedented, great film about Germany, one which, realistically and with great attention to detail, recounts 30 years of German contemporary history for a young audience and the world. The decision to submit this film into the Oscar® race is, in my opinion, only logical."

Producer Quirin Berg, Wiedemann & Berg Film:
"Every film takes its own, and often unpredictable, course. THE LIVES OF OTHERS was a unique success story for us. And now we are elated that NEVER LOOK AWAY will celebrate its world premiere in Venice and also has the honor of representing Germany for the Oscars®. NEVER LOOK AWAY is a film about the power of art, about the power of love, and a film about Germany itself. We hope the audiences’ enthusiasm will carry the film far and we would like to thank everyone involved in making this film possible.”

About the film:

For director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, this is second time in the running for the Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film: in the summer of 2006, his film THE LIVES OF OTHERS was selected as the German submission and won the Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film in February 2007.

Inspired by true events, NEVER LOOK AWAY tells the story of the art student Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling) who falls in love with his fellow student Ellie Seeband (Paula Beer). But Ellie’s father, the celebrated medical professor Carl Seeband (Sebastian Koch), sees everything he hates and despises in this potential future son-in-law. He does everything he possibly can to destroy the relationship. But what no one knows is that their fates are already intertwined through a horrible crime Seeband committed many years ago. NEVER LOOK AWAY is an emotional rollercoaster ride through three decades of German history, told through the eyes of a young artist in whose family the paths of both victims and perpetrators tragically cross.

NEVER LOOK AWAY is a production by Pergamon Film and Wiedemann & Berg Film. Producers are Jan Mojto, Quirin Berg, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Max Wiedemann and Christiane Henckel von Donnersmarck. Co-producers are Dirk Schürhoff (Beta Cinema) and Christine Strobl (ARD Degeto/BR). The film was realized in cooperation with Sky Germany and ARTE. The production was funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, the German Federal Film Board, the German Federal Film Fund, and the Czech Film Fund.

NEVER LOOK AWAY will celebrate its world premiere in competition at this year’s Venice International Film Festival. Afterwards, the film will have its North American premiere in the prestigious Special Presentations at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Sales agent and co-producer Beta Cinema has already sold Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film in over 60 territories, including Spain, Italy, France, UK, Latin America, and the USA. Sony Pictures Classics will release the film in US cinemas. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany will release the film in Germany.

The path to the Oscars®:The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will publish a list of all international submissions for the category Best Foreign Language Film in the first week of October. Last year, 92 countries submitted films. Shortly before Christmas 2018, the Academy will announce a shortlist of nine films which will remain in the race for the Oscar® in this category. Five films will then be nominated on 22 January 2019. The awards ceremony will take place on 24 February 2019 in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

About the German selection process:

The German entry for the Oscar® in the Best Foreign Language Film category is decided by a selection committee appointed each year. This committee consists of representatives from eight different trade associations and institutions active in the field of cinema. As the responsible umbrella association, German Films is charged with the preparation and organization of the selection procedure for the German candidate to be submitted into the race for the Oscar® in the Best Foreign Language Film category. German Films is not represented in the selection committee.

More about the submitted films and the selection jury…

Nicole Kaufmann (Regional Coordinator USA)
Birgit Koch (Press & PR)