Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof’s Good Bye will kick-off Filmfest Hamburg’s 2011 lineup of over 150 titles on September 29.

“In these turbulent times, we didn’t want to open Filmfest Hamburg with pure entertainment,” festival director Albert Wiederspiel said. “Good Bye is both a poetic and a political film. On the one hand, it gives a realistic insight into the everyday life in Teheran, affected by censorship and distrust; on the other hand, it is characteristic of the extraordinary imagery of Iranian films.”

Rasoulof’s film could be shown in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard this year after the director’s friends managed to smuggle a copy out of Iran.

The Filmfest’s eclectic programme from Sept 29 to Oct 8 will include a retrospective of films and photographic exhibition dedicated to the city of Paris, Eyes on PARIS, featuring nine classics from 1938 to 2007, from Marcel Carné’s Hotel du Nord to Christophe Honoré’s Chanson d’amour, as well as a new sidebar MUSIK! presenting such documentaries as Backyard and Mike Fleiss and Mike Piscitelli’s God Bless Ozzy Osbourne.

This year’s Deluxe sidebar focuses on classic films from Iceland ranging from Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s experimental film The Ring Road from 1985 through the late Einar Heimisson’s 1997 drama Maria to August Jakobsson’s 1998 documentary Pop In Reykjavik.

Meanwhile, its Agenda section will present 39 films from 30 countries including the German premieres of such Cannes titles as Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, Gus van Sant’s Restless and Andreas Dresen’s Stopped On Track as well as Libyan filmmaker Samer Daboul’s Out Loud and Cary Fukunaga’s new adaptation of the Bronte classic Jane Eyre.

In addition, Wiederspiel and his team have showcases of new films from Argentina and northern Germany and nine international documentaries on environmental issues in its Drei Farben Grün sidebar.

This year will see a first for the Filmfest’s Douglas Sirk Award with the  honour for a personality who has rendered outstanding services to film culture being given to a German filmmaker and the longtime collaboration of director Andreas Dresen and producer Peter Rommel.

“Deep humanity characterizes their films and their creativity shows no fear towards important and existential subjects,” Wiederspiel said.

The Award will be presented to Dresen and Rommel on October 1 before the screening of Stopped On Track.

Meanwhile, another North German film festival Internationales Filmfest Oldenburg comes of age tonight (Wed) with the world premiere of Torsten Wacker’s No Sex Is No Option (Kein Sex ist auch keine Lösung) as its opening film in the city’s 1,200-capacity EWE Arena.

The comedy about a womanizer who gets his come-uppance is the first bonafide co-production by StudioCanal’s German operation (formerly known as Kinowelt) and will be released in German cinemas on 1 December.

Oldenburg’s 18th edition features world premieres of Tan Siok Siok’s interactive documentary Twittamentary, Lawrence Silverstein’s Freerunner, Anno Saul’s detective film Eiserne Hochzeit, and Vivian Naefe’s comedy Nebenwirkungen, while Stefan Schaefer’s New York-set My Last Day Without You, Chris Sivertson’s Brawler, and Jacques Richard’s The Orphan Girl Without An Arm will be shown as European premieres.

This year’s retrospective is dedicated to the veteran Canadian director-producer Ted Kotcheff with a selection of six titles including the Australian outback drama Wake in Fright, the comedy The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, First Blood and Joshua Then And Now.

In addition, film historian Robert Fischer will be in Oldenburg to present his brand-new documentary Ted Kotcheff’s Gourmet Cinema about the making of the director’s 1978 film Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe?

Moreover, four German-language films – actor-director Karl Markovics’ Breathing (Atmen), Linus de Paoli’s graduation film Dr. Ketel (as a world premiere), Lawrence Tooley’s Headshots, and Brigitte Maria Bertele’s Montreal prize-winner The Fire (Der Brand) – will be competing for the German Independence Award – Best German Film.

An international jury headed by US actor-director Matthew Modine and including veteran director Radley Metzger, South Korean filmmaker Soopum Sohn and sales agents Ildi Toth Davy (Altadena Films) and Matteo Lovadina (Reel Suspects) will announce its winner on September 18 before the Filmfest’s closing film Anduni – Fremde Heimat by Samira Radsi.