A few months has now passed since director Edward Berger and his crew were able to celebrate in Los Angeles. The anti-war drama ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT was named Best International Film at the 95th Academy Awards. And it didn’t stop there. The nine nominations translated into a total of four awards (Best International Film, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Score) for the Netflix production. This soon then had a positive impact for German films as they once more became the focus of greater attention from the international film industry.
It’s fair to say that the film festivals have fortunately changed again. For sure, the aftereffects of the pandemic can still be felt in some places. But our impression of Cannes was that the film festival on the Croisette – with more accredited professionals than ever before and at the Marché du Film in particular – is not only returning to normality, but in some ways also finding a new lease of life for itself. What’s more, Wim Wenders’ documentary ANSELM was a German production that was well received by many critics.
Shanghai held the first proper edition of its film festival in June since the end of the pandemic. From a German perspective, the film festival was special this year because the director Lukas Nathrath opened the International Panorama – Focus Germany section with his tragicomedy ONE LAST EVENING. Another 24 films produced and co-produced in Germany also screened in various sections of the festival. There was a similar success for German productions and co-productions – 19 in total – at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. The productions EMPTY NETS (Special Jury Prize) and DANCING ON THE EDGE OF A VOLCANO (Special Jury Mention) received important awards. These prizes definitely have a special significance since Karlovy Vary is a good launchpad for the films’ international careers.
Film buyers were able to see what a diverse and varied range German cinema has to offer when they attended this year‘s German Films Previews in Potsdam in July. We are delighted that almost 70 international buyers and 13 world sales companies accepted our invitation to come to Potsdam.
Following on from these wonderful experiences at recent film festivals, we are now looking forward to the summer and autumn festivals. The line-up for the Locarno Film Festival includes a total of 19 German productions and co-productions, five of them being in the competitive categories. Moreover, there are six shorts in the festival‘s competition, more than ever before. And several German productions will also have their premieres in Toronto and San Sebastian. Good news has also just been announced by the Venice International Film Festival: THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING by Timm Kröger will take part in the Competition section, and LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION, BUT I‘M WINNING by Julia Fuhr Mann is to screen in the Settimana Internazionale della Critica. Germany is the Focus Country at the 2023 edition of the Venice Production Bridge and this is a great opportunity for presenting new German film and VR projects and their filmmakers to the international film industry.
Despite the many festival successes, attendances for arthouse feature films are still below the pre-pandemic figures. And yet there are rays of hope: David Wnendt‘s drama SUN AND CONCRETE crossed the important threshold of one million cinema-goers in Germany. News that gives cause to be positive.
Yours, Simone Baumann