Andreas Dresen’s moving cancer drama earned the Golden Lola at the German Film Awards on Saturday night (Apr 28) and won for best director, male lead for Milan Peschel and supporting actor for Otto Mellies.
Christian Petzold’s Berlinale entry Barbara took home one prize from eight nominations while Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare mystery Anonymous scored six out of seven.
Stopped On Track (Halt Auf Freier Strecke) – which last year shared the Cannes Un Certain Regard prize with Kim Ki-Duk’s Arirang – emerged victorious at the Friedrichstadtpalast in Berlin following the vote by the German Film Academy’s 1,300 membership.
Dresen had won German Film Awards before with Night Shapes, Grill Point and Cloud Nine, however this was the first time he and long-standing producer and collaborator Peter Rommel garnered the top award.
“This is not the European Cup, this is the Champions League!” Rommel declared after receiving the award – with a cash prize of €500,000 to invest in a new project – from the hands of state minister for culture and media Bernd Neumann.
Barbara won the Silver Lola for best film – despite having been nominated in a total of eight categories including screenplay, direction, lead actor, cinematography, editing, costume design and sound design.
Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare mystery Anonymous – his first film in Germany for more than two decades – scored six wins from seven nominations. These included Lolas for cinematographer Anna J Foerster and costume designer Lisy Christl, who had been nominated earlier this year for an Academy Award.
Three Lolas went to David Wnendt’s graduation feature Combat Girl (Kriegerin) from the University Of Film & Television ‘Konrad Wolf’ in Babelsberg. The Bronze Lola for best film was awarded to producers Eva-Marie Martens and René Frotscher, the Lola for best screenplay went to director Wnendt and 27-year-old Alina Levshin was named best lead actress.
The honours for best documentary went to Corinna Belz’s Gerhard Richter Painting, while Johannes Schmid’s German-Polish co-production Wintertöchter was voted best children’s Film.
An emotional highlight during the two-hour-plus ceremony was the presentation of the Academy’s honorary award to the veteran cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who remained ever the gentleman and modesty personified despite the minute-long standing ovation from the audience.
Moreover, this year saw the award of the first Bernd Eichinger Prize in memory of the late producer and architect of the German Film Academy to the multi-talent Michael ‘Bully’ Herbig who was seen most recently in Helmut Dietl’s social satire Zettl.
This year’s awards ceremony was preceded by a number of industry events attracting participants from all over Germany. Kicking off was a roundtable organised by the Erich Pommer Institut and the Hamburg media law practice Unverzagt von Have on the preparations for the revision of the German Film Law (FFG) from 2014. Next was a debate organised by the German Film Academy with representatives from four political parties on the protection of intellectual property rights in the age of the internet.
The Erich Pommer Institut also hosted the first edition of the European TV Drama Series Lab over the awards weekend, which brought key European TV players including such renowned US practitioners as Hunted’s Frank Spotnitz and Law & Order’s Neil Baer.
Meanwhile the CDU and CSU parties’ traditional Film Award on the roof of the Reichstag building was graced this year with the presence of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, who ‘outed’ herself as a “digital immigrant” – as opposed to a “digital native”— when speaking on the issue of intellectual property rights.
Along with state minister for culture and media Neumann and Volker Kauder, chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Merkel pledged her support for moves to extend the German spend incentive programme DFFF beyond its three-year term, which comes to an end on Dec 31.
The full list of the winners can be found at the German Film Academy’s website.