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Filmfest Emden-Norderney Numerous premieres on the North Sea coast

 

21st International Filmfest Emden-Norderney Numerous premieres on the North Sea coast

The International Filmfest Emden-Norderney will be taking place for the 21st time with 89 films from 23 countries. 37 films are being shown in Emden and Norderney as German premieres, eleven of them world premieres. 21 feature and documentary films will be competing for the Bernhard Wicki Award, the DGB Film Award, the NDR Young Directors Award and the EZetera Film Award.

Opening films: "Max Manus" and "De Storm"

The opening film in Emden on the 2nd June will be the successful Norwegian film "Max Manus". This true story of the legendary Norwegian resistance fighter was the major prize-winner at Emden's partner festival in Haugesund. The film's star Ken Duken will be present at the opening screening as will be a representative from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Berlin, along with other Norwegian and German guests.

On 3rd June the festival will open on the North Sea island of Norderney with a stormy evening in the form of the Dutch competition entry "De Storm" by Ben Sombogaart ("The Twins"). This dramatic disaster movie tells the story of the worst North Sea floods of the 20th century, which left broad swathes of the Dutch province of Zealand under water and which cost the lives of over 1,800 people. The film is centred around the figure of a strong female character fighting for survival for herself and her child.

Film about and by the sea

Maritime subjects and locations are present throughout all sections of the festival programme - hardly surprising for a seaside festival that has always been consistently oriented towards north-western Europe. Many of this year's films are set on the shores of Europe and the world. The spectrum ranges from contemporary documentaries about piracy around the Horn of Africa to a Norwegian children's film about a seal's adventures, a short film with magnificent shots of the cliffs on the Irish coast and a drama about speed skating on Holland's frozen Ijsselmeer.

Film makers from East Friesland

Of course this year's programme also has an East Friesian element. Aurich director Eicke Bettinga's film "Together" will be competing in the Short Film Competition, following on from his invitation to Cannes in 2009 for the same film. East Friesian Hans-Erich Viet will be screening his cookery comedy "Fasting à la Carte" starring Dietmar Bär. Eike Besuden, who lived in Leer for a long time and previous winner of the Bernhard Wicki Award for "Mad about Paris" will be competing with his latest film "Codename Cor", a docudrama about resistance fighter Max Windmüller, who saved over 500 people from the Nazis. Emden director Bastian Schreitling will be showing his "Snowblind", a "post-apocalyptic spaghetti western", filmed mainly with green screen technology. The closing film on 9th June will be "Beloved Clara", a portrait of Clara Schumann by Emden-born director Helma Sanders-Brahms.

Documentaries

Festival audiences can also look forward towards a programme of outstanding documentary films. "Autumn Gold" is a portrait of competitive athletes between the ages of 80 and 100 and was an award-winner at this year's Hot Docs Festival in Toronto. "Stayed Out Overnight" tells the story of South Korean supermarket workers using unusual strike methods to defend themselves against unacceptable working conditions. "Kinshasa Symphony" examines a Congolese symphony orchestra that puts on open-air performances of Mozart and Verdi on a shoestring budget in front of thousands of people.

British Debuts

The festival's well-established British and Irish section traditionally attracts particular attention. In addition to films by well-known directors such as Jon Amiel, Andrea Arnold, Richard Eyre and John Carney, the festival will also be showing outstanding debut films from the British Isles. Brian Percival's "A Boy Called Dad" is a sensitive study of a 14-year-old catapulted into adulthood. Banksy, the graffiti artist from Bristol and the best-known phantom on the international art scene has joined the ranks of the film makers with his subversive documentary feature "Exit Through the Gift Shop". Oscar-nominated actress Samantha Morton ("Minority Report", "Code 46") also makes her director's debut with "The Unloved", a story told in carefully composed images from the perspective of a child raised in a children's home, and based on the experiences of her own childhood.

New German-language Films

The German-language section includes a total of 15 films. "Themba", a German-South African co-production directed by Stefanie Sycholt is a colourful and exciting drama about football, Aids and social injustice, with Jens Lehmann, former goalkeeper for the German national team, in his first supporting role in a film production.  Sathyan Ramesh ("Beautiful Women") has shot the screenplay that won him the 2008 Emden Screenplay Award: "Last Moment" is a moving story of intergenerational love. "The Moon Conspiracy", a satirical documentary by Thomas Frickel ("Codename Dennis") looks at the crazy parallel world of Germany's esoteric scene, absurdly engaged in bringing the country's darkest past back to life.     

Short Films

Ten films have been chosen from among the 600 or so entries and viewings from six European countries for this year's competition for the VGH East Friesian Short Film Award at the International Filmfest Emden-Norderney. The festival's north-western European focus is also reflected in the selection of short films. In addition to productions from Germany, films are also present from the British Isles, the Netherlands and Norway. Other highlights of the Short Film section include a programme of films from Norway's west coast and the popular "Einstein Programme".

The other festival sections are the International section, a portrait of Ken Duken, and the programme of films for children and schools.

Film Guests

Around 70 guests from the film industry will be attending the festival in Emden and on Norderney. Most of the directors with films in competition will be accompanying their films in person, along with numerous actors. Confirmations from Germany so far include Horst Janson, Ulrike C. Tscharre, Anna Brüggemann, Jacob Matschenz, Burak Yigit, Robert Gwisdek and of course Ken Duken. International guests include newcomer actor Kyle Ward ("A Boy Called Dad") from Great Britain, and Ireland's Simon Delaney ("Zonad"). Danish actress Iben Hjelje ("The Eclipse"), well known for her role in "High Fidelity", will also be attending. Young audiences can look forward to a genuine film dog along with its trainer. The guest with the longest journey will be director Mi-re Kim from South Korea ("Stayed Out Overnight").

Cinema in historic surroundings

Two new film auditoria and a freshly-renovated screening location will be available to meet the enormous public interest in the festival. Emden's third film theatre will be opened at the CineStar cinema at the weekend, and films from the 21st International Filmfest will also be shown in the historical Apollo Theater. The listed building was threatened by demolition following closure last summer but was saved by a local initiative to preserve the building as a cultural centre. However, the most impressive film theatres are on the island of Norderney. In addition to the sumptuous Kurtheater, the island can now offer the Great Hall in the historical Conversationshaus as a viewing location, meaning that audiences on the festival island are now spoilt for choice.

Galas and Events

Of course such a glamorous festival cannot go without a festive and entertaining programme of accompanying cultural events.  In addition to the gala opening and awards events, the programme also includes talks and film conversations, as well as the awards ceremony for the Emden Screenplay Award and the traditional boat trip to Norderney plus beach volleyball championship for guests and accredited visitors.

Thomas Heinze, who has been a friend and guest of the festival for many years, will act as moderator at Sunday's Gala Awards Ceremony along with Hilke Theesen from Nordwestradio. Lower Saxony's Minister for Science Johanna Wanka has already confirmed that she will be attending.

- Festival opening, Wednesday, 2nd June, 7 pm

- Opening on Norderney, Thursday 3rd June, 7 pm

- Midnight Talk in the Grand Café, Thursday 3rd June to Saturday 5th June, from 11.15 pm

- DGB Film Talk, Friday 4th June, 3 pm

- Screenplay Award Ceremony, Friday 4th June, 7.30 pm

- Dune Talk on Norderney, Saturday 5th June, 12 noon,  NEW LOCATION: Conversationhaus

- Panel discussion on "Film Biz on the Net", Sunday 6th June, 2.00 pm

- Awards Ceremony for the Film Awards and the Honorary Award, Sunday 6th June, 7.30 pm

Awards

A number of different prizes will be awarded at the grand gala event on Sunday, including the Bernhard Wicki Award, with its total purse of 15,000 Euro, the DGB Film Award, the East Friesian Short Film Award, the NDR Young Directors Award, the EZetera Youth Jury Award and probably the most unusual award presented at any German film festival, "A writing desk by the sea". The latter consists of peace and quiet, the sound of the sea, beach walks and a unique working environment in the form of a two-week "short grant" to work on a project in the loft of the small, exclusive and very comfortable Hotel Seesteg located directly on Norderney beach. The Emden Screenplay Award will be presented by the Grimme Institute's jury on Friday, 6th June. Award purses for the festival as a whole will total 43,500 Euro.

No festival without our sponsors

Even in these times of economic difficulties the festival enjoys broad regional and national support. The spontaneous commitment on the part of entrepreneur Jakob Weets saved the Emden Screenplay Award, which is highly thought of throughout Germany. In 2009 the East Friesian Short Film Award had no award sponsor; this year the insurance company VGH has agreed to sponsor the competition. For the first time, the "Ostfriesische Landschaft" (Assembly of East Friesian Estates) will act as sponsor for the festival as part of its funding for regional culture. The East Friesian Culture Award 2010, presented to the festival by the East Friesland Foundation, will also contribute to the festival budget. And this year the festival also receives funding from the European Union's MEDIA programme for the first time. Numerous other festival partners have tirelessly supported the festival for many years and continue to ensure that an event of such dimensions can take place on East Friesian cinema screens.

Further information on the International Filmfest Emden-Norderney can be found at 

http://www.filmfest-emden.de/

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