Festival favourite Mustang took the festival’s art cinema prize, while documentary Nice People won the audience award.

Mustang 1

Festival favourite Mustang and the documentary feature Nice People were among the prize-winners at this year’s Filmfest Hamburg (October 1-10) which came to a close at the weekend with an awards ceremony before the German premiere of the Iranian film Paradise.

Turkish director Denize Gamze Ergüven’s debut Mustang – which premiered in Cannes this year - won the CICAE Art Cinema Award, including prize-money of $5,700 (€5,000) towards the promotion of the film’s German theatrical release next spring by Michael Kölmel’s Leipzig-based Weltkino Filmverleih.

Neue Mediopolis Filmproduktion’s Alexander Ris and Jörg Rothe, the producer of Romanian director Radu Muntean’s One Floor Below, received the $28,400 (€25,000) Hamburg Producer Prize for European Cinema Co-Productions, while Romanian partner - Multimedia East - was awarded $17,000 (€15,000) worth of cinema grading by the Hamburg-based postproduction house.

After accepting the Producer Prize from the hands of jury chairman and Eurimages President Jobst Plog at Hamburg’s City Hall, Neue Mediopolis’ Christine Haupt revealed to ScreenDaily that One Floor Below will also screen at this year’s 25th anniversary edition of FilmFestival Cottbus next month.

Muntean’s film had been pitched at Cottbus’ East-West co-production market connecting cottbus in 2012.

Earlier in the week, the children and young people’s jury for the Michel Film Prize competition chose Little Gangsters by Dutch filmmaker Arne Toonen as their winner, while the Hamburg Producer Prize for German TV Productions went to Calypso Entertainment’s Brit Possardt for the TV movie Frauen by Jan Ruzicka.

Political tone

The Filmfest showed its solidarity for the migrants arriving in Germany and the rest of Europe by screening the 75-second Refugees Welcome spot, directed by Hamburg-based Lars Becker, before each festival film, giving a face and voice to refugees from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan, among others.

The political tone of this year’s edition was also underscored during by the awards ceremony at the weekend.

A new sidebar dedicated to socially committed films, Veto!, was launched this year, with the award sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation going to Swedish filmmaker Magnus Gertten’s documentary Every Face Has A Name about the fates of Holocaust survivors.

Another Swedish production with a distinctly political message, the documentary feature Nice People, by Karin af Klintberg and Anders Helgeson, was voted overwhelmingly by the Filmfest audience as the recipient of the first Commerzbank Audience Award.

Speaking in a video message to the audience at the CinemaxX in Hamburg, co-director af Klintberg said that the film’s story of a group of Somali refugees taking part in ice hockey championships in Siberia could be the beginnings of what she called a new genre, the feelgood immigrant movie.

Meanwhile, the NDR Young Cinema Award went to Belgian director Guillaume Senez for his feature debut Keeper, and the Hamburg Film Critics Prize was presented to Gabriel Mascaro for Neon Bull.


This year’s edition of the Filmfest - the 13th under the tutelage of festival director Albert Wiederspiel - had opened on October 1 with the German premiere of Jaco van Dormael’s The Brand New Testament in the presence of actress Catherine Deneuve who was presented with the Douglas Sirk Film Prize for outstanding achievements in cinema.

International guests attending the festival included Atom Egoyan (Remember), Karolina Bielawska (Call Me Marianna), Peter Strickland (Duke of Burgundy), Alexander Mindadze (My Friend Hans), Dheepan lead actor Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Yishu Yang (One Summer), Sophie Deraspe (The Wolves), Ben Hopkins (Hasret - Yearning), Josh Mond (James White), Tom Harper (War Book), and Edie Cahyono (Siti).