Nazi hunter thriller wins best film at the annual ‘Lolas’.

the people vs fritz bauer

Lars Kraume’s Nazi hunter thriller, The People Vs. Fritz Bauer, won six Lola statuettes at this year’s German Film Awards after being tipped as the evening’s hot ticket with nine nominations.

The co-production between Berlin’s zero one film and Cologne-based Terz Film picked up the evening’s top award - the Lola in Gold for Best Film - as well as the statuettes for Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Ronald Zehrfeld), Best Production Design (Cora Pratz), and Best Costume Design (Esther Walz).

Accepting the Gold statuette from the hands of Germany’s State Minister for Culture and Media Monika Grütters, producer Thomas Kufus dedicated the award to the memory of Fritz Bauer.

Kurth knocks out Klaußner

While many thought that it was foregone conclusion that Burghart Klaußner would take the Lola home for his portrayal of the state prosecutor Fritz Bauer, nobody then begrudged Peter Kurth for snatching this honour for himself for his tour de force performance as an ex-boxer falling victim to a fatal disease in Thomas Stuber’s A Heavy Heart (Herbert).

Stuber’s feature debut - produced by Leipzig-based Undine Filter, one of this year’s Producers on the Move in Cannes - also received the Lola in Silver for Best Film and the award for Best Make-Up (Hanna Hackbeil).

The Bronze Lola for Best Film went to Theresa von Eltz’s 4 Kings, while Nicolas Steiner’s documentary Above And Below, the last production by the now defunct Flying Moon Filmproduktion, caused a stir by winning the Lola for Best Cinematography (for Austrian-born DoP Markus Nestroy) as well as the statuette for Best Documentary.

In addition, actress Laura Tonke - who also had a supporting role in The People Vs. Fritz Bauer - literally had her hands full after the awards ceremony after she won both the Lola for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in UFA Fiction’s Mängelexemplar and the Lola for Best Lead Actress for the portrayal of the title character in Sonja Heiss’ Hedi Schneider Steckt Fest, produced by Toni Erdmann’s Komplizen Film.

From Hanks to Heidi

Other Lolas included two statuettes for Tom Tykwer’s second collaboration with Tom Hanks, A Hologram For a King (Best Editing and Sound Design), Alexandre Desplat’s score for Wim Wenders’ Every Thing Will Be Fine, and Alain Gsponer’s new version of the children’s classic Heidi garnering the award for Best Children’s Film.

Staged this year by filmmaker Marco Kreuzpaintner and producer Christoph Müller (Look Who’s Back), the awards ceremony also saw actor Elyas M’Barek accept the Lola for the most successful German film of 2015 on behalf of Fack Ju Göhte 2’s writer-director Bora Dagtekin.

M’Barek also had cause to celebrate on a personal level as Fack Ju’s producer Constantin Film announced on the eve of this year’s awards that it had signed a deal with the actor for him to appear in at least three Constantin productions.

The presentation of the Honorary Lola lifetime achievement award to Berlin-based producer Regina Ziegler was greeted with a standing ovation by the audience of  more than 1,800 in Berlin’s Palais am Funkturm.

Ziegler, who will be wrapping production on her 92nd feature film project, Volker Schlöndorff’s Return To Montauk, in Berlin this Thursday (June 2), dedicated the award to her late husband Wolf Gremm with whom she had started her career as producer with the film Ich dachte, ich wäre tot in 1973.

Gremm, who passed away last July after a long battle with cancer, had directed several TV movies for his wife as well as such feature films as Fabian and Kamikaze 1989, starring the director Rainer Werner Fassbinder in his last acting role.

Another highlight in the overlong awards ceremony was the presentation of the third Bernd Eichinger Prize - after Michael ¨Bully¨ Herbig in 2012 and Razor Film’s Gerhard Meixner and Roman Paul in 2014 - to X Filme Creative Pool’s Stefan Arndt.

X Filme’s co-founders, directors Dani Levy, Wolfgang Becker and Tom Tykwer came on stage to ¨serenade¨ their friend and producer with a self-composed ditty in Arndt’s honour.

While the troubadour trio might be advised to keep their day jobs, it was clear to all present that the sentiments expressed came straight from the heart.

Studio Babelsberg unveils new back lot

Meanwhile, members of the German Film Academy and winners from the previous night’s Film Awards braved hangovers and overindulgence on the dance floor to make the journey out to Studio Babelsberg to see the new back lot set, the Neue Berliner Straße, which was officially opened at the weekend by State Minister Grütter and local politicians during the studios’ traditional Film Awards brunch.

The studios have invested €16m ($18m) in the construction of a new outside set over an area of 15,000 sqm offering different architectural styles similar to those found in the Berlin districts of Charlottenburg, Wedding, Kreuzberg and Mitte, with the option of adapting the streets to stand in for any city around the world.

The first production scheduled to shoot at the Neue Berliner Straße set will be the TV series Babylon Berlin, produced by X Filme Creative Pool with ARD Degeto, Sky and Beta Film, with Tom Tykwer, Hendrik Handloegten and Achim von Borries directing.

The studio management will now be looking to attract both German and international film and TV productions as well as commercials to make use of the state-of-the-art facilities which are unmatched anywhere else in Europe.