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19. exground filmfest in Wiesbaden sets submittal records

From November 17th until November 26th 2006, the exground filmfest in Wiesbaden, one of the most important festivals of Independent Films in Germany, will present for the 19th time the highlights of independently produced short- and feature films in the Hessian capital – the best out of a record high of more than 2000 entries. In the sections American Independents, News from Asia, International, Documentary, and Shorts there will be more than 250 productions to be seen, among them several premieres. This year´s country focus lies on Canada and will present – amongst others - the opening film THE NOVENA by Bernard Émond. Correspondingly, the retrospective is dedicated to David Cronenberg: six works by this innovative director will be shown, among them early works like THE DEAD ZONE, SCANNERS und RABID, and classics like VIDEODROME and CRASH. The Focus on Canada and the retrospective on Cronenberg are generously supported by the Canadian embassy in Berlin.

Among the highlights of the 19th exground filmfest in the section American Independents are A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, a film by Robert Altman about an American radio show of the same name (as premiere before the official cinema release 2007), the directing debut of Tommy Lee Jones, the western THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA as a German premiere, and LONESOME JIM - a comedy starring Liv Tyler and Casey Affleck which was directed by Steve Buscemi.
Futhermore, exground filmfest presents, in the section Focus on Canada, the European premiere of UNNATURAL & ACCIDENTAL, a thriller which deals with the disregard of the Canadian society for the Native Americans.

This time, the section Documentary is dominated by music topics. Amongst the highlights is BEASTIE BOYS – AWESOME, I FUCKIN’ SHOT THAT! by Nathanial Hörnblowér, a mixture of shots filmed by members of the audience at a Beastie Boys concert. Hip Hop from a totally different point of view is shown in the American production LA FABRIK: THE CUBAN HIP-HOP FACTORY by Lisandro Perez-Rey. The portrayed artists rap with class awareness about the future of the revolution, miles away from the fake glamour of American mainstream hip hop. A totally different kind of music is the topic of BEIJING BUBBLES – ROCK UND PUNK IN CHINAS HAUPTSTADT by Susanne Messmer and George Lindt as well as of JERICHO’S ECHO: PUNK ROCK IN THE HOLY LAND by Liz Nord: Punk musicians from the underground scenes of China und Israel. Other documentaries with cultural and political backgrounds are also featured: IMPORT-EXPORT by Eren Önsöz unearths astonishing facts about the German-Turkish relations, and in HAVANNA – DIE NEUE KUNST RUINEN ZU BAUEN, director Florian Borchmeyer shows the decay of the city as an allegory for the decay of the state.

The section News from Asia offers plenty of material for expeditions into the unknown, particularly from Japan. Among them are the allegedly last film by star director Takeshi Kitano TAKESHIS and the new masterpiece by Toshiaki Toyoda, HANGING GARDEN, a kind of Japanese version of LIES AND SECRETS.
As a German premiere exground filmfest presents a special discovery from Thailand: MIDNIGHT MY LOVE by Kongdej Jaturanrassamee, a beautifully shot film about the tragic love between a cab driver and a prostitute.

In the section International, seven Films from Argentina, Australia, India, Iran, Spain and Czech Republic cover a wide array: from the philosophical horror film (Lunacy by Jan Švankmajer) to an equally breathtaking as well as bizarre thriller about a taxidermist from Buenos Aires (THE AURA by Fabián Bielinsky,
- the much too early deceased hope of Argentinia’s Cinema) - and a moving story of two prostitutes, which was showered with Spanish cinema awards (PRINCESSES by Fernando León de Aranoa). And last but not least the Bollywood hit CHANDRAMUKHI by P.Vasu offers terrific entertainment.

In the section Youth Days – the youth film festival within the exground filmfest – five productions compete for the 2nd “Youth Days – Internationaler Jugendfilm Wettbewerb”. Like last year, a young jury will select the best
youth film and award it with a 2500 € prize (sponsored by the Hessian capital Wiesbaden): The section will be opened by WHOLETRAIN by Florian Gaag, a thrilling showdown between two graffiti gangs, and continues with KAMATAKI by Claude Gagnon and SONJA by Kirsi Marie Liimatainen – two films which place their emphases on the quiet notes. The two remaining contest participants focus on unequal twosomes: a Hip Hop DJ and the daughter of wealthy family (BEAUTY AND THE BASTARD by Dome Karukoski) and a delinquent girl and a strange old Lady. (FOUR WEEKS IN JUNE by Henry Meyer).

The short film section will present about 200 shorts, in such differing categories as ANIMATION, BEST OF, BRAZILIAN SHORTS, DESIRE, DOKUMENTATION, LOVE IS JUST A FANTASY? – BRITISH SHORTS, and PRIX UIP 2005. Furthermore there will be three short film sections with new short films, experimental films and animations, as well as documentaries from Canada.

Once again the contests will be one of the highlights of the exground filmfest: The “Deutsche Kurzfilm Wettbewerb” (German Short film contest) is endowed with a total of 6000€ (the prize money for the first and third place is sponsored by the Cultural Offices of the state capital Wiesbaden – the prize money for the second place is sponsored by the ESWE Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH). The prize money of 1500€ (sponsored by the state capital Wiesbaden) for the international ON VIDEO-contest for the best short film shot in a video format will be awarded by a jury. For the second time, the audience of the „Wiesbaden-Special – Kurzfilm-Wettbewerb“ will decide which production company or director from Wiesbaden will win 500€ (sponsored by our media partner “Wiesbadener Kurier”) for their film.

The festival centre will once again be at the Caligari FilmBühne, one of Germanys most beautiful cinemas from the golden era of movies. Other cinemas are the Alpha Kino, Kulturpalast and Gestüt Renz.
Framing the events will be the opening and the closing parties, concerts, workshops and panel discussions.


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