Dolan, Shortland, Glasner among winners at 20th anniversary edition of Filmfest Hamburg.

Xavier Dolan, Cate Shortland and Matthias Glasner were among the prize-winners at the 20th edition of Filmfest Hamburg which closed on Saturday evening (Oct 6) with the German premiere of Bruno Podalydès’ Adieu Berthe after the awards ceremony.

Dolan’s Laurence Anyways received the CICAE’s Art Cinema Award, which includes €5,000 support for the distributor NFP marketing & distribution’s PR campaign.

Shortland’s Lore, which had its German premiere in Hamburg, was awarded the Hamburg Film Critics’ Prize.

Glasner’s Mercy (Gnade) picked up the Mont Blanc Screenplay Prize for screenwriter Kim Fupz Aakeson.

In addition, the Foreign Press Award went to Israeli film-maker Meni Yaesh’s God’s Neighbours, the Audience Award to Danish box-office hit This Life by Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis, and the NDR Young Talent Award to Maximiliano Schonfeld for Germania.

Earlier in the week, Korean director Kim Ki-duk was presented with the Douglas Sirk Award for his contribution to cinematic culture before the German premiere of Venice winner Pieta (it will be released in German cinemas by MFA + Distribution next January).

“Kim Ki-duk is a director who is constantly questioning the art of film-making,” festival director Albert Wiederspiel said. “Over the last few years he has even questioned himself as an artist. We are delighted to be able to honour this reflection.”

International guests coming to Hamburg to present their films in person this year included:

  • Romania’s Cristian Mungiu (Beyond The Hills);
  • US director Terence Nance (An Oversimplification Of Beauty);
  • Malaysian film-maker Effendee Mazlan (Songlap);
  • Estonia’s Jaan Tootsen (New World);
  • Israeli director Michael Mayer and his lead actor Michael Aloni (Out In The Dark);
  • Morocco’s Mohcine Besri (Les mécréants) and;
  • Murad Ibragimbekov (There Was Never A Better Brother) from Azerbaijan.

In addition, US actor Willem Dafoe was a surprise guest at the awards ceremony for the Douglas Sirk Award since he is currently in Hamburg for Anton Corbijn’s John Le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man.

Meanwhile, festival director Albert Wiederspiel had an additional reason to celebrate this year’s edition apart from the Filmfest’s 20th anniversary and his ten years running the event since 2003. 

Hamburg’s regional film fund Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein announced that Wiederspiel’s contract as Filmfest director will be extended past the end of 2013 for another five years until December 31, 2018.

“Albert Wiederspiel has developed Filmfest Hamburg in the past nine years into an important meeting place for both cineastes and the industry,” Culture Senator Barbara Kisseler said. “He has helped to give the Filmfest Hamburg greater national and international importance.”

Filmfest Hamburg’s 20th edition, which saw admissions increase year-on-year by almost 10%, presented 149 feature films and documentaries and opened with Sundance winner Valley Of Saints by US-born director Musa Syeed on September 27.