|LOCARNO: YOUNG GERMAN CINEMA IN COMPETITION AND ON THE PIAZZA GRANDE |
After last year's strong German presence including two Competition titles and two films on the Piazza Grande, the Festival del Film Locarno (2 – 12 August 2017) has once more shown itself to be very impressed by German cinema and, in particular, by young filmmakers from Germany. One of them is programmed in Competition, two of them on the Piazza Grande. There will also be two German documentaries adding out of the ordinary perspectives on current political topics in the Semaine de la Critique. A total of 28 German films and co-productions - including several short films - have been programmed.
FREEDOM by Jan Speckenbach (DE/SK, One Two Films, ZAK FILM Productions) will be representing young German cinema in the International Competition. And the same goes for the impressive open-air cinema on the Piazza Grande. This is where THREE PEAKS by Jan Zabeil (DE/IT, Rohfilm) with a top line-up and ICEMAN by Felix Randau (DE/IT/AT, Port au Prince Film & Kultur Produktion, Lucky Bird Pictures), a story from the Neolithic period, will have their world premieres.
Current political issues will be covered in the documentaries THE CONGO TRIBUNAL by Milo Rau (DE/CH, Fruitmarket Arts & Media) and THE POETESS by Stefanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff (Brockhaus/Wolff, HFF München) which are being screened in the independent sidebar Semaine de la Critique as a collaboration between the Swiss Association of Film Journalists and the festival.
There are also a number of films from Germany among the shorts: Willy Hans will be showing THE SATANIC THICKET – THREE in Pardi di domani: Concorso internazionale. FALLING by Nadine Schwitter (Academy of Media Arts Cologne/KHM) will be screening in Pardi di domani: Concorso Nationale. And One Two Films will again be represented at the festival with another production apart from FREEDOM: the short A MANIFESTO FOR THE UN-COMMUNAL by Syllas Tzoumerkas (DE/IL) in Fuori Concorso. FANTASY SENTENCES by Dane Komljen (DE/DK, Flaneur Films) has been programmed in Signs of Life.
In FREEDOM, Jan Speckenbach, whose debut feature REPORTED MISSING premiered at the Berlinale and was nominated for the 2012 European Film Award, poses questions like - is it possible to erase your life and become someone else (without losing yourself)? How much is freedom worth? And, above all: what is freedom? Nora, portrayed by Johanna Wokalek (THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX, THE DAYS TO COME), walks out on her husband Philip and their children without a word of explanation. She is driven by an irresistible force. She wants to be free. Meanwhile, Philip is trying to manage his work and family life following her unexplicable disappearance. Philip's chain is the freedom Nora is looking for.
THREE PEAKS is also a second feature. Director Jan Zabeil's debut THE RIVER USED TO BE A MAN celebrated its world premiere in Toronto and won a number of international prizes. He was able to sign up FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS ambassador Alexander Fehling (LABYRINTH OF LIES, HOMELAND) and Bérénice Bejo (THE ARTIST) for the leads in THREE PEAKS. Aaron invites his girlfriend Lea and her eight-year-old son, Tristan, on a trip to the mountains. High up in the Three Peaks region of the Dolomites, Aaron and Tristan are faced with their ambivalent love for and deepest fears of one another, while Lea stands in between the two. In his attempt to win the boy's respect, Aaron takes him up the mountain and confronts Tristan with his continuous aggression towards him. When fog sets in and Aaron loses the boy, their power games reach a dangerous level...
The Ötztal Alps rather than the Dolomites are at the center of ICEMAN by Felix Randau: a clan is living there peacefully more than 5,300 years ago during the Neolithic period. While their leader Kelab (Jürgen Vogel) is out hunting, all of the tribe is brutally murdered during an attack, including his wife and son. The community's shrine has been stolen. Driven by pain and fury, Kelab has only one goal – revenge – and follows in hot pursuit of the murderers. But a fatal error then turns Kelab from hunter to hunted. Will he give in to his desire for revenge and change from victim to perpetrator? Or will he manage to break the eternal cycle of violence?
Written and directed by multiple award-winning theater director Milo Rau, THE CONGO TRIBUNAL creates an unshrouded portrait of one of the biggest and bloodiest economic wars in human history. Two tribunals – one held in East Congo and other in Berlin – examine the causes and background to a war that will soon have lasted for more than 20 years in the Congo, is often been referred to as the "Third World War" due to the direct or indirect involvement of all the superpowers of our time, and has already claimed up to six million lives.
The documentary THE POETESS tells Hissa Hilal's story. She is the first woman to reach the final of the Arabic world's biggest poetry competition. In her poems in the multi-million dollar TV show, she criticizes the patriarchal Arabic world and attacks one of the notorious Saudi clerics for his extremist fatwas in front of an audience of 75 million. And yet Hissa is covered from head to toe, she is not allowed to drive a car, doesn't have a passport, and requires her husband's permission for every activity. How did she muster the courage to risk her life on the stage?
All of the German films and co-productions at Locarno 2017…
|KRIEG CELEBRATES WORLD PREMIERE IN VENICE|
As with Locarno, the Venice International Film Festival (30 August – 9 September 2017) also shows that it has a soft heart for young cinema from Germany: Rick Ostermann is returning with his second feature film KRIEG (Schiwago Film) to the Orrizonti sidebar which is dedicated to new discoveries in international cinema. His first feature, WOLFSKINDER, had already debuted there in 2013. In addition, the short film THIS IS THE WAR ROOM! by Boris Hars-Tschachotin (Liquid Blues Production) has been programmed in the Venice Classics – Documentary on Cinema Competition.
HUMAN FLOW by Ai Weiwei – produced by Human Flow UG from Germany – will debut in the Venezia 74 Competition along with FOXTROT by Samuel Maoz (DE/IL/FR/CH), which was produced on the German side by Pola Pandora. In addition, there are four co-productions with German participation in the Official Program.
The independent sidebar of the Venice International Film Critics’ Week had already unveiled its program. DRIFT, the feature-length debut by Helena Wittmann (Fuenferfilm), another title by a young German filmmaker, has been programmed alongside three German co-productions.
The Venice Days – another independent sidebar – will be presenting LOOKING FOR OUM KULTHUM by Shirin Neshat (DE/AT/IT), with Razor Film Produktion as delegate producer, along with another two films with German participation. WESTERN by Valeska Grisebach (DE/BG/AT, Komplizen Film), which had its world premiere in Cannes, is one of three films nominated for the LUX Prize of the European Parliament and will be shown during the Venice Days.
About the films:
KRIEG by Rick Ostermann is a film about an unusual grieving process leading to a life and death struggle. It tells the story of Arnold Stein who has withdrawn to a lonely mountain hut to find his peace after his son was killed during a foreign assignment in the army. But this peace is destroyed when a stranger starts terrorizing him and then embroils him in a nerve-wracking struggle. Ulrich Matthes (DOWNFALL), Barbara Auer (JONATHAN), Jördis Triebel (WEST) and Thomas Loibl (TONI ERDMANN) can be seen in the leads of this family drama with thriller elements.
The Venice Classics sidebar shows new restorations of film classics as well as documentaries about cinema and its auteurs. Such a documentary is the short THIS IS THE WAR ROOM! by Boris Hars-Tschachotin. It follows the legendary production designer Ken Adam who, at the age of 93 and with cigar in hand, wields his Flo-Master felt pen just one last time to bring the year of 1962 and the iconic war room he created with Stanley Kubrick in DR. STRANGELOVE back to life again.
Helena Wittmann, who studied at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg (HFBK), realized DRIFT by closely collaborating with an ethnologist and a sound artist. Two women spend a weekend together at the North Sea. One of them will soon return to her family in Argentina and the other one will cross the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing ship. Thoughts go astray, time leaves the beaten track and the swell lulls to deep sleep. The sea takes over the narration, and when the other one reappears in it, the ground may now be firmly under her feet, but the wind is still in her hair. She returns and the other one could ask: "Have you changed?"
All of the German films and co-productions in Venice 2017…
|WHAT'S NEW IN GERMAN CINEMA? THE SUMMER SHOOTS |
Summer is the time of the year when film crews are working at full tilt, and that's not any different for German cinema either. Here is the lowdown on some of the hottest film shoots, including new projects from Berlin School icons and box-office darlings, Sandra Hüller falling in love in the aisles of a hypermarket, a Hollywood star being directed by an up-and-coming German filmmaker, as well as the answer to the question: what came after VICTORIA?
Schipper, Petzold and Taddicken
He made international headlines with the one-take film VICTORIA, and August will now see director Sebastian Schipper beginning the shoot of his next film: CARAVAN is a roadmovie about the 17-year-olds Gyllen from London and William from Senegal, who meet in the Moroccan desert. This is the beginning of a joint odyssey through Europe. Fionn Whitehead, who can previously be seen in Christopher Nolan's DUNKIRK, has been cast in the part of Gyllen.
Christian Petzold – whose PHOENIX was a great success at international festivals as well as in American and French cinemas – wrapped principal photography on his latest project TRANSIT at the beginning of July. It is a contemporary reworking of Anna Seghers’ 1944 novel about refugees attempting to flee through Marseille after the Nazi invasion of France in 1940. Franz Rogowski (LOVE STEAKS, HAPPY END, TIGER GIRL) portrays a man on the run from the Germans, who assumes the identity of a dead writer. Arriving in Marseille, he meets and falls in love with the writer's unsuspecting widow (Paula Beer, one of the FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS 2016 talents and the winner of the Best Newcomer Award in Venice last year for her role in Francois Ozon’s FRANTZ) who wants to start a new life in South America.
Sven Taddicken received much praise last year from such publications as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Screen International for his fourth feature film ORIGINAL BLISS. His new project, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COUPLE, centers on the two young teachers Malte and Liv whose summer holiday on a Mediterranean island ends in tragedy when Liv is raped. Two years later. The couple is showing astonishing strength in dealing with this traumatic event. They are both determined to hold true to their relationship and things are gradually getting back to normal. When Malte meets one of the perpetrators again by chance, he is driven by a longing for revenge and justice. It comes to a confrontation between Malte and the young man. And also a crucial test between Malte and Liv, played by Luise Heyer (FADO) and Maximilian Brückner (TANNBACH, GAMING INSTINCT).
Hollywood leading man & rising German directing star
Paul Dano (LOVE & MERCY), a veritable leading light in American independent cinema, has been signed up by Patrick Vollrath (Oscar® -nominated for his short EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY) for the lead role in his feature film debut 7500 which will begin shooting this summer: a flight from Berlin to Paris. Business as usual in the cockpit of an Airbus A319. Co-pilot Tobias Ellis is routinely going through the flight preparations. The take-off is smooth as usual. But then, suddenly, screams can be heard from the cabin. A group of men, including the young Vedat, try to enter the cockpit armed with weapons made from glass bottles. A fight between the crew and the terrorists ensues, a psychological struggle between the desire to save individual lives and prevent even greater harm. The cockpit door becomes a battle zone, and Tobias finds himself in the position of having to decide between life and death.
New projects for FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS talent
Sandra Hüller (TONI ERDMANN) joined the cast of the comedy FACK JU GÖHTE 3 by Bora Dagtekin. It is the threequel of FACK JU GÖHTE which had over 7 million visitors and was the most successful film in German cinemas in 2013. It triggered a real hype about the teacher Zeki Müller – played by Elyas M’Barek – and his problem pupils at the Goethe Comprehensive School which is now opening its doors and metal detectors for the third and final time. Sandra Hüller also finished shooting IN THE AISLES for the Student Oscar®-winner Thomas Stuber (A HEAVY HEART) alongside Franz Rogowski. IN THE AISLES tells of a tender love affair which flourishes within the protected cosmos of a superstore, amidst an atmosphere of close family relationships and belonging, but wouldn't have a chance outside the store. The screenplay was awarded the German Screenplay Prize in 2015.
Ronald Zehrfeld (PHOENIX) and Alexander Fehling (LABYRINTH OF LIES) can be seen in the political thriller DAS DRITTE STERBEN by Philipp Leinemann. Investigations by a BND agent of the old school result in an American drone strike in Zahiristan. When a critical journalist is killed just a few days later in Germany in a terrorist attack, the agent begins investigating on his own initiative.
Jannis Niewöhner (4 KINGS) appeared in the lead of Detlev Buck's (SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT) latest project GORILLAS. The quirky tale of rogues, based on a short story by Ferdinand von Schirach, centers on a young man who doesn't want to be just the stooge of his boss anymore.
Director Sabrina Sarabi was able to sign up three of the currently most popular young acting talents in the German-speaking area and FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS ambassadors for her debut feature. Louis Hofmann (LAND OF MINE, THE CENTER OF MY WORLD), Liv Lisa Fries (IN LOVE WITH LOU - A PHILOSOPHER'S LIFE, BABYLON BERLIN) and Saskia Rosendahl (LORE, WE ARE YOUNG. WE ARE STRONG.) star in PRÉLUDE which was shooting until the beginning of July. The film tells the story of the young piano student David (Louis Hofmann) who enthusiastically rushes into the world of music and his first true love. However, he increasingly loses control over his life as he succumbs to growing pressures...
|INTERNATIONAL BUYERS VISIT GERMANY |
Around 90 international guests, 37 countries, 16 German productions, 12 market premieres – these are the hard facts for the 17th German Films Previews which were held in Nuremberg from 5 to 8 July 2017. Organized by German Films once a year, the event offers international film buyers an opportunity to see the latest German productions on the big screen and network with German world sales companies. This year saw buyers coming from such countries as Brazil, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, France and Colombia.
The following sales have been confirmed so far: the sales company Films Boutique sold THE CAKEMAKER by Ofir Raul Graizer to Strand Releasing for North America. Siyah Beyaz Movies from Turkey and Hungary's ADS Service both picked up two titles apiece: WELCOME TO GERMANY by Simon Verhoeven and FOUR AGAINST THE BANK by Wolfgang Petersen (both handled internationally by Picture Tree International). WELCOME TO GERMANY was also sold to Taiwan (Swallow Wings) and Poland (Telewizja Polska Channel 1).
|SPOTLIGHT: GERMAN CINEMA IN SOUTH AFRICA |
South Africa isn't an easy place for European or German feature films as the market is dominated by US productions. On average, they represented between 60 and 70% of the releases in the past five years. Therefore, it was all the more gratifying that the Durban International Film Festival (13 – 23 July 2017), one of the most important on the African continent, provided cinema 'made in Germany' with a prominent platform to showcase its output at this year's edition. In collaboration with German Films, the Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy in South Africa, ten films by German filmmakers were shown in a "Focus Germany" with six guests from the world of acting and directing.
German films at the South African Box Office
Two of the three best box-office results for productions with a German director between 2011 and 2015 were posted by animated films: the pole position was taken by MAYA THE BEE by Alexs Stadermann with around 330,000 euros, followed by CLOUD ATLAS by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski sisters with around 224,000 euros, and ANIMALS UNITED by Holger Tappe and Reinhard Klooss with some 160,000 euros.
Focus Germany in Durban
The German Focus at the Durban International Film Festival presented the audience and industry with a line-up ranging from a historical drama, documentary, and comedy to a psychological thriller and road trip and showing that there are many more sides to German cinema. It also gave the German delegation opportunities to explore openings for collaboration.
The "Focus Germany" opened on 16 July 2017 in the prestigious Playhouse Theater with a gala screening of GOODBYE BERLIN by Fatih Akin in front of around 300 spectators in a very relaxed atmosphere with lots of laughter. The two young lead actors Tristan Göbel and Anand Batbileg conquered everyone's hearts with their charisma and openness at the screening as well as during the subsequent interviews and the reception held in honor of the German Focus. Director Doris Dörrie, who had travelled to Durban on the occasion of the screening of GREETINGS FROM FUKUSHIMA, gave a workshop for the Durban Talents networking program for young African filmmakers, which is held in cooperation with Berlinale Talents. This also saw her making lots of new contacts with the committed and curious African talents.
Doris Dörrie, Tristan Göbel and Anand Batbileg joined the other members of the large German delegation who were showing films in the German Focus – the directors Petra Epperlein (KARL MARX CITY), Karin Steinberger (THE PROMISE) and Stephan Rick (THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON) – for an evening dinner with the festival director Chipo Zhou. A lot of the discussion centered on opportunities for German-African collaboration and developing ideas. There was also strong interest in working with Germany at the Durban Film Market, a project market with producers from Africa looking for partners.
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All of the German films and co-productions in Durban 2017...
4 August 2017
PLAN B - SCHEISS AUF PLAN A in Turkey (Distributor: Bir Film, World Sales: WTFilms)
11 August 2017
OUR LAST TANGO in Spain (Distributor: Surtsey Films, World Sales: Wide House)
GREETINGS FROM FUKUSHIMA in Romania (Distributor: Clorofilm, World Sales: The Match Factory)
RETURN TO MONTAUK in Spain (Distributor: Golem Distribucion, World Sales: Gaumont)
17 August 2017
MY FRIEND RAFI in Macedonia (Distributor: Uzengija, World Sales: EastWest Filmdistribution)
RICHARD THE STORK in the UAE (Distributor: Gulf Film, World Sales: Global Screen)
24 August 2017
MANIFESTO in Denmark (Distributor: Natlys APS, World Sales: The Match Factory)
PETER HANDKE – IN THE WOODS, MIGHT BE LATE in Serbia (Distributor: MCF MegaCom, World Sales: The Match Factory)
PETER HANDKE – IN THE WOODS, MIGHT BE LATE in Macedonia (Distributor: MCF MKD, World Sales: The Match Factory)
PETER HANDKE – IN THE WOODS, MIGHT BE LATE in Montenegro (Distributor: MCF MNE, World Sales: The Match Factory)
PETER HANDKE – IN THE WOODS, MIGHT BE LATE in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Distributor: MCF BH, World Sales: The Match Factory)
25 August 2017
24 WEEKS in Norway (Distributor: Arthaus, World Sales: Beta Cinema)
MANIFESTO in Turkey (Distributor: Fabula Medya, World Sales: The Match Factory)
MY BLIND DATE WITH LIFE in Taiwan (Distributor: MovieCloud, World Sales: Studiocanal)
TEXT FOR XOU in Taiwan (Distributor: Swallow Wings, World Sales: Beta Cinema)
STEFAN ZWEIG – FAREWELL TO EUROPE in Sweden (Distributor: Edge Entertainment, World Sales: Films Distribution)