Besides the audience award "Der Heinrich", the festival will award the best european debut or second feature film with the "Volkswagen Financial Services Film Prize in 2018 for the first time.

It is endowed with 10,000 euros by Volkswagen Financial Services.

The Winners


Károly Ujj Mészáros, HUN 2018, 111 min.


Ten recent films competed for the Volkswagen Financial Services Film Prize, which was awarded for the first time, for the best newcomer or second film. The jury was almost as international as the productions. And with their professional background, their views of recent cinematic productions were as varied as the films. The "classic" newcomer theme,

"growing up/generational conflict" and the associated "road movie" with a "classic" plot were a defining feature in the programme. 


Social studies on Eastern Europe or India with a special emphasis on the situation of women, youth protest in London or the aftermath of the political turning point around 1989 were to be discussed and evaluated. Many paths to the debut were represented: The feature film based on short films or screenplays, the feature film based on documentaries or clips, the TV production based on theatre work. All in all, this was a strong field that demanded intense arguments about individual perspectives. The jury was always aware that the best film and not the best screenplay, the best actress or the best director had to be nominated. Important criteria for them were the originality of the techniques and the intensity with which a film is able to generate interest for its theme and its protagonists.


Nevertheless, there were also outstanding individual performances, whereby the jury would like to highlight the young actor Andrea Lattanzi for the title role in "Manuel" by Dario Albertini. His portrayal of a child who was raised in an institution and now a young adult and who takes responsibility for his imprisoned mother, is intensely moving and carries the film.

However, the jury's vote for the best overall film performance went to a recent Hungarian production, "X- The Exploited" by Károly Ujj Mászáros. Superficially a Hungarian interpretation of the female investigator in Nordic Noir style, the film convinces with an extremely dense, always surprising arc of tension, realised with great attention to detail. Original pictorial symbolism perfectly stages the consistently strong, character-rich ensemble around the traumatised policewoman Eva (Móni Balsai). Secret services from the communist past, which have gone into hiding, once again create fear and terror against the background of the current conflicts about a democratic future. The gloomy style is thus anything but a decorative end in itself, but is the causal driver of history. 

A great piece of European cinema and a worthy first prize winner of the new Volkswagen Financial Services Film Award.

Jury 2018

Digital 21

Digital 21 is a musician, composer, producer and video artist. He directed several music videos and is a wellknown video artist. He combines experimental music with video art (Guggenheim, MUA, MACBA, ...) and he is the half of "DIGITAL 21+STEFAN OLSDAL", and also responsible for the Live Visuals.

Ingo Haeb

Film school at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, later screenwriting studies at the Deutschen Film- und Fernsehakademie (DFFB). Since 2001 he wrote screenplays for nine movies, among them AM TAG ALS BOBBY EWING STARB (2006) which was awarded with the Max-Ophüls price for best debut film and with the sponsorship award by the Eurovision.

Kaja Klimek

Film critic, film educator and freelance film programmer. Translates movies, sometimes writes about them, and constantly discusses them - with filmmakers and viewers at the film festivals and in cinemas, with students of The Institute of Journalism of the University of Warsaw in Poland and also with kids, as part of New Horizons Festival, Polish Film Institute and Filmoteka Szkolna film education programs.

Dr. Frank Woesthoff

Born in 1959 he studied media studies, received a doctorate in literary science, was a voluntary at the Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) and worked as director, dramaturge and executive director at various city and state theaters - as well as free journalist for radio and television, like for the Lower Saxony state government. Since 2003 he is active in different managing positions for the Volkswagen Group.