Simone Baumann © Slawomir Grenda
Simone Baumann © Slawomir Grenda

Dear Readers,

2024 has begun with some great news: for the second year running, the German entry has again made it to the final list of five nominees for the Best International Feature Film category at the 96th Academy Awards®. The social drama THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE by İlker Çatak will be in the running for Germany.

But there is also positive news to report from the German cinema landscape: box office in Germany recovered in 2023 and is approaching the pre-pandemic level. German productions have also been attracting many filmgoers back to the cinemas and broke the 10 million Dollar barrier at the box office with such films as MANTA, MANTA: LEGACY (13 million), DIE DREI ??? – ERBE DES DRACHEN (11.6 million) and SUN AND CONCRETE (10 million).

Numerous German productions also appeared at international film festivals around the world. ANSELM by Wim Wenders, AFIRE by Christian Petzold and THE TEACHERS‘ LOUNGE by İlker Çatak featured in the line-ups of many film festivals. There were some great awards, for example, in Karlovy Vary for EMPTY NETS and DANCING ON THE EDGE OF A VOLCANO, as well as in Zurich for HOLLYWOODGATE or in Tallinn for FALLING INTO PLACE. This positive energy is also with us at the beginning of 2024. The upcoming Berlinale in February will have almost 50 German productions and co-productions screening in its programme. Three German productions – FROM HILDE, WITH LOVE by Andreas Dresen, DYING by Matthias Glasner and ARCHITECTON by Victor Kossakovsky – will be vieing for the Golden Bear in the Competition. Meanwhile, the German productions DIRECT ACTION by Guillaume Cailleau and Ben Russell (DE/FR, CASKFILMS) and IVO by Eva Trobisch can be seen in the Encounters section.

We are also especially pleased that our talent campaign FACE TO FACE WITH GERMAN FILMS is now embarking on its ninth edition. This year will again see seven young and impressive personalities from different crafts serving as our ambassadors to represent German cinema at many events on the international stage. Moreover, this edition will be focusing on a historical reappraisal. After reports emerged in 2020 about Alfred Bauer, the first director of the Berlinale, and his role in the Nazi regime, investigations were also instigated on the past of other film institutions and people who had connections with him. One of these people was Dr Günter Schwarz, the first managing director of the Export-Union des deutschen Films GmbH. There is an article reporting on the findings of this investigation as presented in the study entitled “Multifunctionary in the Nazi film export system – Biographical study on Dr Günter Schwarz (1902-1966)“ by Andreas Malycha and Wolf-Rüdiger Knoll.

However, there is another reason why 2024 will be a very special year for GERMAN FILMS. We will be marking the 70th anniversary of our founding in 1954. We would like to take this opportunity to look back on 70 years of German cinema abroad. There will be a spotlight on 70 years of GERMAN FILMS at various events throughout the year such as film festivals with a German focus (Raindance Festival or Tallinn) as well as at all of the German Film Weeks. A film programme with outstanding German films from seven decades has been specially compiled for the anniversary. In addition, there will be reviews of films from this period in our newsletter each month. Join us in looking forward to a very special (anniversary) year!

Yours, Simone Baumann
Managing Director