Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon continued its run of awards by sweeping the board at this year’s German Film Awards with ten Lolas, including Golden Lolas for best feature film, direction, screenplay, cinematography and leading actor for Burghart Klaussner.
The ten prizes for Haneke’s film, which had begun its triumphant run last year after winning the Golden Palm in Cannes, was one more than for another X-Filme Creative Pool production, Good Bye, Lenin!, which received nine Lolas in 2003.
Celebrating its 60th jubilee this year, the German film industry’s annual bash – which sees more than €2.8m in prize-money distributed to 16 prize categories – was held in Berlin’s Friedrichstadtpalast before an audience of 1,800.
Among the guests were Chancellor Angela Merkel, Culture Minister Bernd Neumann, Sir Ken Adam, producer Branko Lustig, Michael Ballhaus, and actors Christoph Waltz, David Kross, Alexandra Maria Lara, Sam Riley and Michael “Bully” Herbig.
While Haneke’s film had been the evening’s clear favourite with 13 nominations, other popular winners were Hans-Christian Schmid’s political thriller Storm (Silver Lola best feature film, best editing and best score) and Feo Aladag’s debut When We Leave (Die Fremde) (best feature film, Bronze Lola, and best female lead for Sibel Kekilli).
The Lola for best documentary went to Marcus Vetter and Leon Geller’s The Heart Of Jenin, while Christian Ditter’s family film The Crocodiles received the best children’s film Lola.
A particularly emotional highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Honorary Award to a visibly moved producer Bernd Eichinger who was greeted by a standing ovation and stressed that he did not see the distinction as a “consolation prize”, but rather as “a great honour” from the German Film Academy.
Attending the awards ceremony for the first time, Chancellor Merkel declared that “without question, film is an expression of our cultural identity. Therefore, we still need a lively German film culture.”
She argued that “good parameters” were necessary to ensure that there was continuity for this film culture despite economics highs and lows, and pointed to the success of the incentive model of the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF).
“I can confirm that we will continue this commitment,” Merkel said, adding that “the protection of intellectual property in the area of film” was also an important issue for her administration.
At an event hosted by the conservative CDU and CSU parties ahead of the ceremony, leading CDU politician Volker Kauder said that he would do all in his power to ensure that the DFFF’s annual budget of €60m was not reduced in the current debate on the national German budget and there was a perspective for the incentive past 2012 when the current scheme comes to an end.
In addition, State Minister Neumann noted that his party “firmly intends to push for the national digitalisation [sic] of the cinemas. We don’t just want to have the big chains in the cities, but also want to see the small cinemas, the communal cinemas, the arthouse screens and the repertory cinemas continue existing on a wider level.”
While the large cinema chains were in a better position to finance the digital conversion, he suggested that the public institutions on a national and regional level in Germany were prepared to work together with film industry to hammer out a suitable model for the financing of the rollout for the smaller exhibitors.
Neumann is expected to unveil a concrete proposal for such a collaboration with the film industry at the beginning of May.
The complete list of prize-winners can be found at www.deutscherfilmpreis.de