26th FilmKunstFest Schwerin
Germany, May 3 - May 8 2016
The Filmkunstfest in Schwerin is the most important film festival of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a federal state in the north-east of Germany. Traditionally it shows German-language art-house films. In 2014 Volker Kufahl was appointed artistic director, and in 2015 he expanded the radius of the festival’s field of vision by “Focus Baltic Sea”, a section intended to stimulate the cultural exchange with the countries around the Baltic Sea. This year, nine feature-length and nine short films from this region were screened. Further international flair was added by a traditional focus on a country, this year Belgium, which presented 18 films.
Overall, visitors to Schwerin could see 131 films from 24 countries, among them nine world premieres. The films were screened in four competition programmes and seven sidebar programmes. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s capital city was lucky this May: sunny springtime weather created a relaxed atmosphere, so many guests had to decide between film screenings and lovely beer garden in the idyllic historic centre. Finally 17,000 people made it into the cinemas. The main cinema was the excellent Filmpalast Capitol, while further screenings took place in smaller venues, such as Der Speicher (The Attic) and Kino unterm Dach (Cinema under the Roof).
The feature film competition is deemed to be the most important section of the festival. It presented a fine selection of ten films from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, all of which were worth seeing. Two titles were indeed outstanding: the Austrian war-reporter drama Thank You for Bombing, directed by Barbara Eder; and the German family drama 24 Weeks (24 Wochen), directed by Anne Zohra Berrached, which had already drawn a lot of attention in the Berlinale competition.
Thank You for Bombing won The Flying Oxen – the festival’s main award with 10,000 Euro, as well as the FIPRESCI Award. 24 Weeks won three awards: the Audience Award; the Sponsorship Award of the DEFA Foundation; and the Director’s Award of the regional broadcaster NDR, which was handed out by the Grand Jury.
The Youth Jury, in which children from refugee families took part for the first time, awarded their Leo Prize to the German fantasy film Offline: Are You Ready for the Next Level? (Offline – Das Leben ist kein Bonuslevel, directed by Florian Schnell). The award for the Best Documentary was divided between two German films, Stefan Eberlein’s Parchim International and Sung-Hyung Cho’s My Brothers and Sisters in the North (Meine Brüder und Schwestern im Norden). The award for the Best Short went to “Kaputt” by German directors Volker Schlecht and Alexander Lahl. The Honorary Award “The Golden Oxen” was given to the German actress Christine Schorn and presented by the Minister-President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Erwin Sellering. (Reinhard Kleber, edited by Birgit Beumers)
FilmKunstFest Schwerin: www.filmland-mv.de/filmkunstfest-m-v