Newsletter
September 2017
 
 
 
 
TORONTO ROUNDUP

Toronto likes German cinema. To begin with, that's shown by the many German films and co-productions programmed there in recent years, with this reaching a new record of 42 titles at this year's edition. And TIFF in 2017 also meant packed screenings, lively Q&As, concentrated star power and international buyers' interest in films from Germany.

German Films' managing director Mariette Rissenbeek summarized as follows: "This year again saw us having long queues in front of the cinemas in Toronto as well an inquisitive and enthusiastic audience. I got the impression that German cinema is perfectly capable of conveying its versatility and boldness in narrative style, and it was well received by the industry as well as members of the audience."

Photos on Facebook…


Historical themes, Hollywood stars and Oscarâ campaigns - packed cinemas for German films


Four films by German directors covering a very wide thematic spectrum had been programmed in the prestigious Special Presentations section. Robert Schwentke's first German-language film after a series of Hollywood blockbuster successes had been awaited here with bated breath. And so both screenings for the world premiere of THE CAPTAIN (DE/FR/PL, Filmgalerie 451) were almost completely sold out. Shot in black-and-white, the story about the actions of a deserter masquerading as an officer in a captain's uniform in the final days before the end of the Second World War in 1945 surprised and occupied the audience as could be seen by the intensive discussion with Robert Schwentke and the actors Max Hubacher, Alexander Fehling and Frederick Lau. International sales deals are being negotiated, and a prominent platform was also found for the European premiere of THE CAPTAIN with the screening at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

The same route from Toronto to San Sebastian (what's more, as the festival's opening film) was taken by Wim Wenders' latest feature film SUBMERGENCE (DE/FR/ES, Neue Road Movies), a love story with the international stars Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy in the leads. Wim Wenders was kept very busy at his third TIFF invitation in a row since he was also serving as a member of the jury for the Platform competitive section.

THREE PEAKS (DE/IT, Rohfilm Productions) travelled – after its world premiere and Variety Piazza Grande Award in Locarno – with a US deal to Toronto. The festival had only just begun when it was announced that Greenwich Entertainment, the new company of the veteran arthouse distributor Ed Arentz, is lining Jan Zabeil's film up as one of its first releases in North America. THREE PEAKS had a major presence in Toronto, with the director and lead actors Alexander Fehling and Bérénice Bejo at the well-attended screenings and a busy day of press interviews.


Fatih Akin had only just been selected to represent Germany for the Best Foreign Language category when he launched his Oscarâ tour for IN THE FADE (DE/FR, bombero international, Warner Bros. Film Productions Germany, corazón international) in Toronto. He was supported in this by his lead actress Diane Kruger, who is being mooted by the international trade press as a candidate for a Best Actress nomination at the Oscarsâ and was surrounded in true Hollywood style by fans all wanting selfies and autographs. The first screening took place in a large cinema with seating for almost 1,500, which was practically sold out. 


There was also good attendance for the screenings of DARK (Wiedemann & Berg Television, Dark Series), the first German Netflix series, in the presence of the showrunners Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese and lead actor Louis Hofmann, and Sonja Maria Kröner's THE GARDEN (Walker + Worm Film) in the Discovery sidebar, which is reserved for first and second features. It was introduced by the actress Mavie Hörbiger and producers Tobias Walker and Philipp Worm.

Great demand at industry gatherings

Lots of high-profile talent from Germany introduced their films at the screenings, and the reception organized by German Films in honor of the German films at the festival was just as prestigious and well attended. Robert Schwentke, Baran bo Odar, Valeska Grisebach (WESTERN), Hüseyin Tabak (THE LEGEND OF THE UGLY KING), Max Hubacher, Frederick Lau and the two FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS stars Alexander Fehling and Louis Hofmann were among the people meeting around 150 guests from the international film industry on the first festival Sunday.

Another chance for intensive networking came with the Co-Production Breakfast organized by German Films for German producers and their colleagues from the USA and Canada. The interest with around 70 participants even exceeded the organizers' expectations and resulted in some very lively, constructive discussions about possible cooperation. The German Films stand in the Industry Area was used by a total of eight German sales companies for negotiations so that there was rarely a table free.

All of the German films and co-productions in Toronto 2017…

 
 
AUTUMN SHOOTS

New projects from Andreas Dresen, Florian Gallenberger, Jan Ole Gerster, Markus Goller, Caroline Link and the sequel of an international hit series.

New feature films

Andreas Dresen, who received an award in Cannes for STOPPED ON TRACK, is now working on GUNDERMANN about the contradictory life of the excavator Gerhard Gundermann who made a name for himself as a singer-songwriter in the GDR.

Director Jan Ole Gerster has been reunited with actor Tom Schilling after his successful debut feature OH BOY for his new film LARA. The tragicomedy is about a mother who has to ask herself why she of all people has not been invited to her son's most important piano concert.

GRÜNER WIRD’S NICHT is the first film by the Oscar®-winning director Florian Gallenberger to be shot completely in Germany after his international productions JOHN RABE und COLONIA. The comedy sees him directing Elmar Wepper (CHERRY BLOSSOMS - HANAMI) as a grumbling gardener on an inadvertent journey through Germany in a biplane.

German comedy-star Hape Kerkeling was disarmingly frank and charming in his book DER JUNGE MUSS AN DIE FRISCHE LUFT (translated: "the boy needs fresh air") about his childhood and youth during the 60s and 70s in the Ruhr region. Including mentions of Bonanza card games, gherkin canapés and the first color TV set. Oscar®-winner Caroline Link (NOWHERE IN AFRICA) is now adapting the autobiographical novel.

Lars Eidinger (PERSONAL SHOPPER, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA) and Bjarne Mädel (24 WEEKS) play two completely disparate brothers in 25 KM/H. Markus Goller's road movie sees the two deciding at their father's funeral to follow a crazy whim and, at long last, fulfil their long-held dream of travelling through Germany on their mopeds.

New series

Oscar®-winner Stefan Ruzowitzky (THE COUNTERFEITERS) and Michael Krummenacher (HEIMATLAND) are creating a doomsday scenario in the high-class drama series EIGHT DAYS (ACHT TAGE). The story focuses on what will probably be the last eight days of humanity as a giant asteroid rushes towards Earth.

More German series are now preparing sequels: following the internationally successful first season of DEUTSCHLAND 83, Jonas Nay is back again as a young GDR spy wanting to save world peace in DEUTSCHLAND 86. The shoot has just begun under direction of Florian Cossen (THE DAY I WAS NOT BORN) and Arne Feldhusen. And second seasons are now in the works for the gangster saga 4 BLOCKS and Matthias Schweighöfer's hacker series YOU ARE WANTED.

 
 
TWO STUDENT OSCARS FOR GERMAN FILMMAKERS

The successes at the Student Academy Awards® just keep coming: the numerous award-winners in recent years have now been followed at the 44th edition with another two prizes going to German short films. This was announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

GALAMSEY by Johannes Preuss (Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg) won Gold in the Documentary category (International Film Schools). WATU WOTE – ALL OF US by Katja Benrath (Hamburg Media School) will receive an award in the Narrative category (International Film Schools). The decision of whether it is a Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal will be revealed at the award ceremony in Los Angeles on 12 October 2017.

About the films

Both of the award-winning films from Germany have Africa as their subject matter. GALAMSEY is a reportage about the illegal gold mining in West Africa. Director Johannes Preuss saw how the gold rush had gripped a small town in Ghana when he was there as a young aid worker. A few years later, he went returned for his documentary to see what the supposed windfall had really brought the people. Who are the profiteers and who are the victims in this destructive hunt for the shiny gems?

WATU WOTE – ALL OF US is the graduation film of the director Katja Benrath at the Hamburg Media School. It is set in Kenya which has been targeted for decades by the terrorist attacks of the Islamist Al-Shabaab. An atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust has been growing between Christians and Muslims. Until in December 2015 when the passengers of a bus succeeded in achieving an unprecedented example of humanity.

German films at the Student Oscars®

German films are traditionally very successful at the Student Oscars®. The last two years saw three awards going to German filmmakers at both award ceremonies. In 2016, INVENTION OF TRUST by Alex Schaad (University of Television and Film Munich HFF) won Gold and WHERE THE WOODS END by Felix Ahrens (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF) Silver in the Narrative category (International Film Schools). AYNY by Ahmad Saleh (Academy of Media Arts Cologne KHM) received the Gold Medal in the Animation category (International Film Schools). In 2015, all three awards in the category for Best Foreign Film went to German directors - Ilker Çatak, Dustin Loose and Patrick Vollrath. Patrick Vollrath's EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY also received an Oscar® nomination in the short film category.


The Student Oscars

The Student Academy Awards®, also known as Student Oscars®, are presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They are among the most prestigious of awards in the field of student film. The awards for the best international film school productions have been presented in three categories since 2016. The best three fiction films are awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals in the Narrative category (International Film Schools), and one film each receives the Student Oscar Gold Medal in the Animation (International Film Schools) and Documentary (International Film Schools) categories respectively. All of the Student Oscar®-winning films are eligible to participate in the Oscars®.


All the winners of the 44th Student Academy Awards®...

 
 
GERMAN ACTORS IN INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS

Lars Eidinger (PERSONAL SHOPPER, THE CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA) has been cast opposite Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche in Claire Denis' first English-language film HIGH LIFE. In addition, he will be appearing with Eva Green in the astronaut drama PROXIMA by Alice Winocour from January 2018. Burghart Klaußner (BRIDGE OF SPIES, THE WHITE RIBBON) is a member of the cast in the second season of the English series THE CROWN about the life of Elizabeth II, which will be available from Netflix at the end of the year. And FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS' Louis Hofmann (LAND OF MINE) spent this summer working on THE WHITE CROW about the legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev under the direction of Ralph Fiennes.

 
 
BUENOS AIRES CONTINUES TO BE A SUCCESS STORY

Originally, it was planned as the "little sister" of the Festival of German Films in Madrid, but the festival in Buenos Aires has since developed with regularly outstanding attendance figures into the most successful event of its kind in South America. The 17th edition between 14 and 20 September 2017 saw around 7,100 cinema-goers coming to the 13 sold-out performances at the Village Recolta and Caballito cinemas. This is even a slight increase on the good figures from 2016.

A popular interactive film event

According to the voting, THE VERDICT by Lars Kraume (Moovie) was the most popular film at the festival with the audience, all four screenings were also completely sold out. The film shows a fictional hearing which is trying the case of an airforce pilot who shot down an airplane hijacked by terrorists. At the end, the audience is invited – as had already happened at the Festivals of German Films in New York and Paris – to vote guilty or innocent. After a lively discussion, the majority decided – unlike in New York and Paris – for the guilty verdict on two occasions. The operators of the Village Recoleta cinema were so impressed by the event that they are interested in acquiring THE VERDICT so that they can continue to show it in their cinemas.

Friendly welcome and an successful sale

The opening film WELCOME TO GERMANY (Wiedemann & Berg Film, Sentana Filmproduktion, Seven Pictures Film), which was presented by the director Simon Verhoeven in person, continues to be high up among the audience's favorites. He was really busy in Buenos Aires with Q&As and meetings with press, and was given a friendly welcome and plenty of applause. The producers and sales company of PAULA (DE/FR, Pandora Filmproduktion, Grown Up Film) also had reasons to be cheerful. The film by Christian Schwochow about the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker was sold to Argentinian distributor Mirada after its appearance at the festival.

All of the titles at the Festival of German Films in Buenos Aires 2017...

 
 
FESTIVALS

Von Trotta in Competition in Tokyo. More...

Two German directors in Competition in San Sebastian. More...

Brand new festival hits in Paris. More...

German films in Rio de Janeiro, Warsaw, Sitges, Gent, Santiago de Compostela, Geneva, Mumbai, Montreal Noveau Cinema, Hamptons, Haifa, Chicago, Mill Valley, Busan, New York, London, Reykjavik, Vancouver, Zurich, Telluride and Drama.

 
 
AWARDS

Awards for German co-productions in Venice

Awards for German shorts in Bristol and Ottawa.

 
 
MARKET STUDIES

How are German films doing in different countries? Find out in our market studies. New facts and figures are now available for Greece, Japan, Croatia, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Spain, UK & Ireland as well as USA & Canada on the German Films website.

 
 
BOX OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

Simon Verhoeven's horror-thriller FRIEND REQUEST (Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion, Seven Pictures) was released in US and Canadian cinemas on 21 September 2017 and has posted of over 2.1 million US- dollars so far. That means a current seventh position in the box office charts.