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19th International Film Festival Emden-Norderney highlights

19th International Film Festival Emden-Norderney from 4th – 11th June 2008
20 Feature Films in Competition at the Film Festival on the North Sea Coast
The competition nominations for the 19th International Film Festival Emden-Norderney have been finalised. A total of 20 feature films from 13 countries will be competing for the three full-length film awards - the Bernhard Wicki Award, the DGB Film Award and the NDR Young Directors Award. 40 percent of the nominees are women. A further 9 films from 5 countries are competing for the East Friesian Short Film Award. Over the eight exciting days of the Festival a total of 98 films from 22 countries will be shown, including 52 full-length feature films and 46 short films. Many of the films will be screened for the first time. 19 features will have their German premiere at the Festival, including 6 international premieres, as well as an additional 6 German premieres among the short films. The Festival organisers, led by Festival Managers Silke Santjer and Rolf Eckard, are expecting over 22,000 visitors.
Opening Films: Clara and Finnish Tango
The Festival opens in Emden on 4th June with Clara, a recently finished film by the Emden director Helma Sanders-Brahms about Clara Schumann (due for general release in December 2008). Music, love, jealousy, drama: the story of Clara Schumann has all the elements that great cinema needs. Martina Gedeck plays the pianist and composer, whilst French stars Pascal Greggory and Malik Zidi play the two most important men in Clara’s life: Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. The director and other guests will be present at this preview showing of Clara. There will be something extra special to celebrate at this year’s Festival opening on the island of Norderney on 5th June. This will be the 10th year that the island will be taking part as a Festival venue. The programme includes the very first screening of a production that is connected in many ways with the region and the Festival. The film was directed and produced by two previous winners of the Wicki Award, Buket Alakus and Eike Besuden, and was filmed in Bremen and on Norderney. The dramatic comedy Finnish Tango follows in the footsteps of Mad about Paris and promises to enchant East Friesian audiences. Christoph Bach and Nele Winkler play the lead roles. (General release: 28.08.)
Main themes of the Festival: Science Fiction and Intercultural Tensions
The science fiction genre is present throughout all the Festival’s programme sections. Exodus shifts the Bible story of the flight from Egypt to contemporary Margate on the English south coast. In Time Crimes a man finds himself quite by chance in a time machine and has one hour to try to stop a previous event from happening. In Trust Wohltat by local Aurich-born filmmaker Eike Bettinga, implanted biometric chips mean that people can be monitored and controlled at all times by an omnipresent state. White Lilies by director Christian Frosch mixes the science fiction and conspiracy thriller genres, whilst in Ijon Tichy. Space Pilot – The Star Diaries the eponymous cosmic tramp, kitchen anarchist and grammatical acrobat boldly goes to galaxies where no-one has gone before in his “three-room rocket”. The latter film was directed by Dennis Jacobsen from Emden and has received a nomination for the Adolf Grimme Award 2008. The tensions between Western and Islamic culture are the subject of the Dutch teenage drama Dunya and Desie. In the Name of God shows the different ways that Islam can be interpreted by confronting Pakistani radical Islamists with moderate Muslims. The conflicts in the Near and Middle East also form the focus of Lemon Tree, Battle for Haditha and Staring into Night, a drama about a German soldier returning from Afghanistan.
Programme sections
Hommage to Ulrich Mühe
The Festival organisers dedicate this programme section to actor Ulrich Mühe, who died in 2007. He has also been posthumously awarded the Festival’s Honorary Award. The Award will be presented to his son Jakob and to his wife, actress Susanne Lothar, in Emden on 8th June 2008. Seven films will be shown in the Hommage section, including Bernhard Wicki’s Spider’s Web, Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and of course the Oscar-winning The Lives of Others. The Festival Award is the first honour of this kind for Ulrich Mühe at a German film festival.
Emma Thompson Special
A special section is dedicated to the universally popular and two-time Oscar winning multitalent of British cinema, Emma Thompson. The section is made up of seven films, including Emma as chain-smoking author Kay Eiffel in Stranger than Fiction, as shy Elinor Dashwood in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility and as a socially committed lawyer in Gareth Pierce’s Northern Irish Thriller In the Name of the Father. Naturally the section also had to include James Ivory’s famous costume dramas, as well as her role as the eccentric British nanny in Nanny McPhee, which she scripted herself.
New British and Irish Cinema
In our traditional section on New British and Irish Cinema, audiences can see for themselves that films from the British Isles can offer more than just teenage magicians and invincible secret agents – although even here, the action thriller Bank Job with Jason Statham or the enchanting fairy tale Penelope with a pig-nosed Christina Ricci can certainly hold their own. In Emden we will be screening the German premiere of Nick Broomfield’s hard-hitting Battle for Haditha about a massacre by the US Army in Iraq. The section also includes Ken Loach’s globalisation drama It’s a Free World, which was shown recently at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, as well as the opulent biblical science thriller Exodus by Penny Woolcock. Fans of Irish humour can look forward to How About You?, a quirky comedy set in an old people’s home, featuring a star-studded cast including Brenda Fricker and Vanessa Redgrave.
New German Cinema
Humour, drama and social criticism – the films of the New German Cinema section effortlessly combine all of these genres, whether it is Oliver Jahn’s green comedy The Ice Bomb about an unidentifiable lump of ice slamming into the roof of a house and causing the inhabitants to flee to their garden bunker, or the premiere of Remarque - his path to fame, produced by the NDR and directed by Hanno Brühl, a docudrama about the best-selling “All Quiet on the Western Front”. The two films that open the Festival – Clara and Finnish Tango – are also included as German productions in this section, as well as three film versions of screenplays that have already received awards here at Emden, namely: Up! Up! To The Sky (Award 2007) by Hardi Sturm, Beautiful Bitch (Award 2006) by Martin Theo Krieger and a premiere screening of Innocence (Award 2005) by Kai Hafemeister.
International Section
The Bollywood spectacle Om Shanti Om caused an all-time record demand for tickets at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. In Emden the film will be screened in the German version and looks set to stir up similar enthusiasm. This year’s range of films in the International Section will be very broad. The Bird Can’t Fly tells a magical African story in panoramic images, the moving Spanish film Under the Snow shows the different ways people spend their working hours and from Belgium we will be screening The Box Collector, a psycho-thriller set in the USA.
Children’s Films and School Events
The Festival programme also contains six films for the youngest members of our audience, including a German premiere of the family film Nim’s Island with Jodie Foster. School classes will also be able to turn the cinema into a classroom during the Festival and have the chance to watch films and talk to directors and actors.
Short Films
The centrepiece of the short film programme is the Short Film Competition evening, during which the audience can choose its favourite film from among nine short films of 20 minutes or under. The film directors will be coming to East Friesia and will be travelling together to present their films first in Norderney, then in Emden. Five other programmes of short films will also be on show in Emden, including films by Amsterdam’s Netherlands Film and Television Academy NFTA, a programme of short films by Basque directors and animation highlights from the Stuttgart International Animation Festival.
Film Guests
A number of guests have announced they will be coming, in particular from the New German Cinema section. Such well-known actors as Karoline Eichhorn, Katharina Schüttler, Max von Thun and Susanne Lothar will all be coming to Emden. Almost all the films will be personally introduced by their directors, with for example Emden-born director Helma Sanders-Brahms introducing her film Clara and Erick Zonka presenting his film Julia with Tilda Swinton. As in previous years, around 70 film guests will be visiting the Festival. Details about the venues and Midnight Talk sessions that our stars and prominent guests will be visiting will be available in a separate press release at the beginning of June.
A number of awards will be presented on Sunday at the grand Gala Awards Ceremony, including the Bernhard Wicki Award, with a purse of €15,000, the DGB Film Award, the East Friesian Short Film Award, the NDR Young Directors Award and possibly the most unusual award made by a German film festival, “A Writing Desk by the Sea“. The latter award consists of peace and quiet, the sound of the sea, walks on the beach and a unique working environment – a two-week “short grant” to develop a project in the loft of the Hotel Seesteg, a small, exclusive and comfortable hotel located directly on Norderney beach. The Volkswagen Screenplay Award, whose three previous award-winners have already had their screenplays turned into films, will be presented on the previous Friday.
No Festival is complete without its Gala and events, and the harbour town of Emden and the Festival Island of Norderney can provide the right atmosphere for glamorous, entertaining and exciting events:
- Festival Opening, Wednesday 4th June
- Norderney Opening, Thursday 5th June
- Midnight Talk in the Grand Café, Thursday 5th June to Saturday 7th June
- DGB Film Talk, Friday 6th June
- Award Ceremony for the Volkswagen Screenplay Award, Friday 6th June
- Talk in the Dunes on Norderney, Saturday 7th June
- Awards Ceremony for the Film Awards and the Honorary Award, Sunday 8th June

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