This was 27th Film Festival 2013

Braunschweig in love with Barbara

“It is her curiosity, that makes her so outstanding”, praised director Margarethe von Trotta her favourite actress and dear friend Barbara Sukowa in a very personal laudatory speech at the award ceremony of the 27th Braunschweig International Film Festival. Barbara Sukowa received the festival’s main prize “The European Actors Award” which comes with a purse of 10,000 Euro. Sukowa, awarded for her outstanding artistic performances and contribution to European film culture, confessed: “Without Margarethe von Trotta I would not be standing here today”. The two “grandes dames” of German cinema stood in the limelight of the ceremony.

British director Dan Hartley wins the festival’s audience award “The Heinrich” for “Lad: A Yorkshire Story” (Rogue Runner Films). The audience award for the best debut or second film with a purse of 10.000 Euros is equally divided between director and the German distributor. Both awards are  sponsored by Volkswagen Financial Services.

The French-German Youth Award KINEMA goes to the French production “Suzanne” by director Katell Quillévéré (Distribution: Arsenal). Director Ben Cady and sound designer Joe Gilder share the short film music award “The Leo” with a purse of 2,000 Euro for “Anomalies” (Royal College of Art).

The “Heinrich” winner “Lad: A Yorkshire Story” by director Dan Hartley is the touching story of the 13-years-old Tom, who comes to terms with the loss of his dad through the friendship he forms with a park ranger. Hartley‘s semi-biographic debut film was was shot in the picturesque landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.  The prize money of 10,000 Euro, donated by Volkswagen Financial Services, is equally devided between director Dan Hartley and a German distributor who decides to take the film to the screens. Ten films from nine countries ran in the competition.

Both awards, the "Heinrich" and the "Europa" are supported by the festival's main sponsor Volkswagen Financial Services.

Also from Great Britain comes the winner of the 2,000 Euro short film music award “the Leo”. The  jury with Alexandra Gramatke, CEO of KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg, film journalist Marli Feldvoß and film composer Oliver Heuss selected the British production “Anomalies” by director Ben Cady and sound designer Joe Gilder. The 12-minute film plays in a minimalistic, black and white animated world, which is haunted by colourful anomalies. 24 films from 13 countries stood in competition for the prize for the best combination of image and sound in a short film. The jury also expressed an honorary mention to the German film “Der große Gammel” by Susann Maria Hempel.

The young jury of the French-German-Youth Award KINEMA Prize selected the French production “Suzanne” by director Katell Quillévéré. She receives a copy of her film with German subtitles for future festival screenings. The six jurors aged 17 to 20 years, three from Haute-Normandy and three from Lower Saxony, selected the drama of a young woman, who lives without compromises. The two sisters Suzanne and Maria lose their mother in early years, but experience a happy childhood with their  overstrained father. When Suzanne falls head over heels in love with a little crook, she has to set aside a lot for this “amour fou”. In her second feature Katell Quillévéré tells a striking tale full of surprises supported by a rocking soundtrack. “Suzanne” was the opening film of the Semaine de la critique in Cannes 2013.

The festival honoured Birgit Hein, a pioneer in experimental film, with a four-part retrospective including the world premiere of her latest work “Abstrakter Film”.

World premieres were also to be discovered in the “Croatia goes Europe!” programme: “Kotlovina” by director Tomislav Radić was presented by producer Antonia D. Carnerud, script writer Zvonimir Munivrana presented “Children of Fall” by Goran Rukavina. Young director Maša Drndić brought her documentary “The Wainting Point” to Braunschweig. Short film director Radislav Jovanov Gonzo with “Squared” and Hana Vacek with “Pears” completed the Croatian guest list.

The audience welcomed the many guests of the “Heinrich”-competition, such as actress Mia Jexen starring in “Dual” by Nejc Gazvoda (SLO/DK/HR, 2013, Media Luna New Films), actress Magdalena Rozanska of “The Girl from the Wardrobe” by Bodo Kox (PL 2013, WFDIF), director Thomas Wangsmø  of “Into the Dark” (N 2012, Star Media Entertainment), actor Fabio Zanoni of “Yam Dam” by Vivian Goffette (B 2013, Cinéastes Associés), and director Delphine Noels of “Post Partum” (B/LUX/F 2013, Frakas Productions), who all presented their films as German premieres.

Actress Nancy Clarkson accompanied the later winning “Lad: A Yorkshire Story” by Dan Hartley.  Also in competition were “The Particle” by Erdem Tepegöz (TR 2012, Kule Film), “A Hijacking” by Tobias Lindholm (DK 2012, Trust Nordisk), “The New World” by Jaap van Heusden (NL 2013, Ijswater Films) and the German-Swiss entry “Schwarzer Panther” (Black Panther) by Samuel Perriard (D/CH 2013, StickUp Filmproduktion GbR).

In the “New German film” programme actor Heiner Lauterbach and director Niki Müllerschön presented their new gangster film “Harms”, director Anne Wild screened he family drama “Schwestern”, director Christian Alvart introduced “Banklady”, the story of the first female bank robber,  which was shot in the Braunschweig region, director Henrik Peschel and composer Oliver Heuss showed “Si-O-Se Pol” and André Schäfer presented his travel movie to Eastern Germany “Deutschboden”.

As part of the film cultural exchange with the Haute-Normandy region French director Claude Duty had come to Braunschweig with his film “Chez nous c’est trois”.

The festival had a sonorous opening with the German premiere of the film concert “Blancanieves” in front of an audience of 1,500. Braunschweig State orchestra played under the musical direction of conductor Helmut Imig. Composer and Goya-winner Alfonso de Vilallonga joined the orchestra at the piano, the ukulele and the accordion.

The composer’s portray of the festival’s “music and film” programme was dedicated to Niki Reiser from Switzerland. The retrospective combined eight films from his first film “Du mich auch” (Dani Levy, 1986) to his latest “Exit Marrakech” (Caroline Link, 2013).

Berlin-based composer Stephan von Bothmer presented his new score to the classic silent “Zur Chronik von Grieshuus” (Arthur von Gerlach, 1925). Joined by an ensemble of eight musicians of Braunschweig’s  State Orchestra he presented his new compositon as part of the orchestra’s “New Music Programme”.

In cooperation with MEDIA Desk the festival invited other festival organizers to the meeting “Boost your festival!”. Michael Fellenius, director of the Göteborg International Film Festival, gave a lecture on the importance of strategic festival development.

That the developement of Braunschweig International Film Festival has been quite successful in recent years is to large extent the merit of long-time director Volker Kufahl. Representatives of Lower Saxony, the City of Braunschweig and the filmfest association expressed their respect and the graditude for his 13 years as head of the festival. Kufahl will leave Braunschweig for Schwerin, where he takes over the positon as CEO of the “FilmLand M-V”.