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ALL ABOUT THE BERLINALE 2016

It was a very successful 2016 Berlinale for the young German director Anne Zohra Berrached: programmed in the Competition, her second feature film 24 WEEKS (zero one film, Filmakademie Baden-Württtemberg), which focuses on the polarising subject of a late abortion, moved the audience on its world premiere in the Berlinale Palast. The film team led by the filmmaker and the lead actors Julia Jentsch and Bjarne Mädel were rewarded with long, enthusiastic applause and even standing ovations. Apart from much praise and attention, 24 WEEKS also garnered the Prize of the Guild of German Arthouse Cinemas. The sales agent Beta Cinema confirmed deals for Germany (Neue Visionen), Benelux (September Films), Poland (Aurora Films), Greece (Feelgood Entertainment), Turkey (Filmarti), Ex-Yugoslavia (Discovery Films), Hungary (Cirko), Columbia (Cineplex), Taiwan (Swallow Wings), China (Lemon Tree Entertainment) and Korea (JinJin Pictures). Negotiations are near to being closed for Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and France.

Michael Ballhaus, one of the most important international directors of photography, received a Golden Honorary Bear of the Berlinale for his life's work. A Silver Bear from the International Jury for the Best Direction in the Competition went to Mia Hansen-Løve for the German co-production THINGS TO COME (FR/DE), produced on the German side by DETAiLFILM. Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Brühl and Mikael Persbrandt brought lots of international glitz and glamour to the red carpet in front of the Berlinale Palast for the world premiere of ALONE IN BERLIN by Vincent Perez (DE/FR/GB, X Filme Creative Pool). Rafi Pitts’ SOY NERO (DE/FR/MX, Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion), also in the Competition, showed a new, hitherto little-known perspective on the war in the Middle East: that of the "Green Card Soldiers".

FUKUSHIMA, MON AMOUR by Doris Dörrie (Olga Film, Rolize, Constantin Filmproduktion), which screened in Panorama Special, was praised by the trade paper Variety as a "refreshingly quirky perspective on a heavy subject" and picked up both the Heiner Carow Prize of the DEFA Foundation as well as the CICAE Art Cinema Award. At the Panorama Audience Award Dörrie's film was only beaten by JUNCTION 48 and made it to second place.

Asli Özge's ALL OF A SUDDEN (DE/NL/FR, EEE Productions) also had its world premiere in Panorama Special. The German and international press was impressed by the director's first feature film in the German language. Jonathan Romney wrote in his review for Screen International: "Pricking the bubble of bourgeois complacency is something that European art cinema can be counted on to do with stalwart regularity– but the operation is handled with particular grace in ALL OF A SUDDEN." There was a Special Mention from the Europa Cinemas Label. This was also awarded to Eliza Petkova's feature film debut ZHALEIKA (DFFB) by the international jury of the Generation 14Plus competition.

German Films was active in a whole range of areas during the Berlinale to support German cinema on an international level. Together with Focus Germany, FFA/DFFF, AG Dok and AG Kurzfilm at their umbrella stand in the European Film Market, the team informed accredited guests about all aspects of German cinema abroad. The well-attended EFM Market Reception – co-hosted by German Films – provided German and international buyers, sales agents, and producers with an opportunity for informal networking. Promoting the next generation of German filmmakers is an important part of the work undertaken by German Films, and this year again saw the sidebar of Perspektive Deutsches Kino being supported by a lunch for the filmmakers and international festivals as well as a program of PR coaching. Media representatives from around the world had an opportunity to get to know interesting new film talents from Germany during a press lunch.

Jella Haase was selected as one of the best young European acting talents in the EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS program of European Film Promotion (EFP) and received her award in the Berlinale Palast from the former SHOOTING STAR Daniel Brühl. There was enormous press interest in the young actress even before the Berlinale started as well as during the festival. She was also much in demand from the international casting directors, agents, and directors.

Photos on Facebook…

All of the German films and co-productions at the 2016 Berlinale…

Prizes for German films and co-productions…

 
 
A LOOK BACK AT A SUCCESSFUL SUNDANCE 2016

A German director in the feature film competition, a number of prizes, a sale to the USA during the festival, good reviews in important media – cinema from Germany gave people plenty of positive things to talk about at the 32nd Sundance Film Festival (21 – 31 January 2016), the most important North American festival in the independent field.

Following Bastian Günther's HOUSTON in 2013 and David F. Wnendt's WETLANDS in 2014, 2016 again saw a film by a director from Germany screening in Sundance's international feature film competition. WILD by Nicolette Krebitz (Heimatfilm) celebrated its world premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. The director and the lead actress Lilith Stangenberg were there in person at the sold-out performance to present the story of a young woman who invents her life anew after an encounter with a wolf. There was a lot of discussion about the film during the festival, and much praise, in particular, for Lilith Stangenberg's performance, including from Todd McCarthy in his review for The Hollywood Reporter. The New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis described WILD as "a terrifically original German fiction film", while Screen International suggested that the film has "cult potential".

Chad Hartigan's MORRIS FROM AMERICA (DE/US) – with Germany's Lichtblick Media as the main producer and shot in Germany – won two prizes following its world premiere in the U.S. Dramatic Competition: the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award - U.S. Dramatic for the best screenplay and the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Individual Performance for Craig Robinson. The film was also sold to the US distributor A24 which will release it theatrically in the second half of 2016. Variety critic Justin Chang praised MORRIS FROM AMERICA as "a warm and winsome portrait of an African-American teenager adjusting uneasily to his new life in Heidelberg, Germany."

SONITA by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami (DE/IR/CH, Tag/Traum) followed its Audience Award at the IDFA by winning the World Cinema Audience Award, Documentary in Sundance. It also received the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, Documentary following its North American premiere there.

THE LAND OF THE ENLIGHTENED by Pieter-Jan de Pue (BE/NL/IE/DE, gebrueder beetz filmproduktion) was also screened - like SONITA - in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and picked up the World Cinema Cinematography Award, Documentary for its camerawork.

The dinner organized by German Films in honor of the German films and co-productions at the festival was very well attended by around 40 participants. The film teams were joined by many international buyers and festival programmers such as Sundance festival director Kim Yutani and senior srogrammer John Nein as well as Karel Och, festival director from Karlovy Vary, and Jacqueline Lyanga and Lane Kneedler of the AFI Fest Los Angeles.

Photos on Facebook...

 
 
EXCITING NEW SERIES FROM GERMANY

BABYLON BERLIN with showrunner Tom Tykwer (CLOUD ATLAS, PERFUME - THE STORY OF A MURDERER, RUN LOLA RUN) started shooting. More... 

First German Netflix series DARK will be directed by Baran bo Odar (WHO AM I - NO SYSTEM IS SAFE) and produced by THE LIVES OF OTHERS-producers Wiedemann & Berg. More..

Amazon orders first German language series WANTED from Matthias Schweighöfer, one of the most successful actors/directors in German cinemas. More...

German director Christian Ditter is helming Netflix series #Girlboss. More...

 
 
GERMAN SHORT FILM 2016

The latest version of the annual short film catalogue was presented at the film markets in Clermont-Ferrand and Berlin for the first time. The catalog presents 100 of the most interesting current German short film productions in detail and also offers a service section with register and contact details from the German short film scene. Two DVD compilations accompany the catalog: "German Short Films 2016" with a selection of 13 films from the catalog and the "Children and Youth Edition 2016" with 10 shorts especially for a young audience.  

Curators, festivals, journalists and other industry representatives can order the DVDs from German Films or the AG Kurzfilm.

All the information about the films is also online here. Additionally over 40 of the films in the catalogue can be watched password-protected from industry representatives on this website. All in all over 500 short films from the catalogues since 2007 are available. You can apply for a viewing password here.

 
 
FESTIVALS

German films in Miami, Guadalajara, Dublin, Santa Barbara and at New Directors/New Films New York.

 
 
AWARDS

Awards for German films in Angers and Rotterdam.

 
 
INTERNATIONAL RELEASES

3 March 2016:
HEIDI in Italy (Dist.: Lucky Red, World Sales: Studiocanal)

10 March 2016:
ME & KAMINSKI in Hungary (Dist.: Cirko Films, World Sales: The Match Factory)

11 March 2016:
THE 7TH DWARF in Romania (Dist.: Cineuropa, World Sales: Global Screen)

18 March 2016:
13 MINUTES in Spain (Dist.: A Contracorriente Films, World Sales: Beta Cinema)
LABYRINTH OF LIES in Taiwan (Dist.: Swallow Wings, World Sales: Beta Cinema)

31 March 2016:
COLONIA in Russia (Dist.: Cinema Prestige, World Sales: Beta Cinema)

 
 
BOX-OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

HEIDI by Alain Gsponer (DE/CH, Claussen + Putz Filmproduktion) has posted 2.6 million euros box-office and was seen by 400,000 cinemagoers in France since its theatrical release on 10 February 2016.