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Filmfest Hamburg ends its journey through 134 film worlds

Last night the 16th Filmfest Hamburg came to ist close with the German premiere of the Belgian-French road movie “Eldorado” in the presence of director Bouli Lanners.

The 16th Filmfest Hamburg opened with the mountaineering drama “North Face”. The German premiere was attended by director Philipp Stölzl, lead actress Johanna Wokalek and the two actors Simon Schwarz and Georg Friedrich. This year’s Douglas-Sirk-Award was presented to the director Atom Egoyan. The renowned award is presented annually to an individual personality for outstanding contributions to film culture.

Even if last year’s record audience figures were not beaten, the largest film festival in the North was attended by an audience of 35,000 and featured 134 films from 53 countries.

This year Filmfest Hamburg spatially centred around the cinema CinemaxX Dammtor. Albert Wiederspiel: “The change in location of the festival centre to CinemaxX Dammtor took place smoothly and was accepted by the audience from day one. The festival atmosphere was lively from the very start, including the desired dialogue between audience and filmmakers. Furthermore the directors embraced the technical quality of the screenings. ”

This year’s thematic focus “Diversity and Unity” was inspired by “Unification Day” both in content and by its space in time. 13 films were shown besides the film performance “ScareCity” by Peggy Anne Berton and Marc St Aubin. They included the Belgian documentary “Wall to Wall” (director: Patric Jean), the Israeli production “Yolki Palki” (director: Alexander Gentelev), “Nowhere Promised Land” (director: Emmanuel Finkiel) from Great Britain and “It`s Hard to Be Nice” (director: Srdjan Vuletic), a co-production from Bosnia Herzegovina, Germany, Great Britain, Slovenia and Serbia.

The audience was particularly enthusiastic about the French comedy “Welcome to the Shtis” (director: Dany Boon), the North German comedy “Die Schimmelreiter” (director: Lars Jessen), the Israeli-German co-production “For My Father” (director: Dror Zahavi), the biographical feature film “Sagan” (director: Diane Kurys) from France and the Canadian-Brazilian-Japanese co-production “Blindness” (director: Fernando Meirelles).

Altogether 134 national and international feature and documentary films from 53 countries celebrated their world, European or German premieres. More than 150 directors, actors, producers and scriptwriters presented their films from 25th September to 2nd October in person at the 16th Filmfest Hamburg.

The international guests included: Atom Egoyan and Wim Wenders (director and laudator: “Adoration”), Vanessa Redgrave (actress: “A Job”), Kristian Levring and Ulrich Thomsen (director and actors: “Fear Me Not”), Dror Zahavi, Hili Yalon and Shredi Gabrin (director and actor: “For My Father”), Jan Troell and Maria Heiskanen (director and actress: “Everlasting Moments”), Diane Kurys (director and author: “ Sagan”), Claire Denis, Alexander Descas and Ingrid Caven (director and actor: “35 Rhums”), Tayanç Ayadin and Genco Erkal (actors: “Pazar – The Market”).

The national film and TV industry was also strongly represented at this year’s Filmfest Hamburg. Christian Redl, Maria Simon (actors: “Tod in der Eifel”), Markus Imboden, Frank Giering, Anna Maria Mühe, Devid Striesow (director and actor: “Der Tote in der Mauer”), Lars Jessen, Axel Prahl and Peter Jordan (director and actors: “Die Schimmelreiter”), Richard Huber, Mehmet Kurtulus, Peter Jordan and Patrycia Ziolkowska (director and actors: “Tatort: Auf der Sonnenseite”), Christoph Stark, Dieter Pfaff, Florian Bartholomäi, (director and actors: “Bloch: Schattenkind”), Anna Loos, Jan Josef Liefers, Janek Rieke (actors: “Lilys Geheimnis”), Lars Becker, Barbara Auer, Sibel Kekilli (actors: “Nachtschicht – Blutige Stadt”), Ed Herzog, Eva Mattes and Sebastian Bezzel (director and actors: “Tatort – Herz aus Eis”).

The 6th Michel Kinder- und JugendFilmfest Hamburg (Children’s and Youth Film Festival) was opened by patron Jürgen Vogel under the frenetic applause of children. This year the international and national guests included Marko Costic (director: “The Paper Prince”), Lourens Blok (director: “The Seven of Daran”), Arne Lindtner Næss (director: “S.O.S. – Summer of Suspense”), Kjell-Ake Andersson (director: “Butterflies”), Eckart Fingberg (director: “Jasper”), Andreas Kannengießer (director: “Planet Carlos”), Calle Overweg (director: “There is more to come”) and Marc Robitaille (scriptwriter: “Home Run”).

A specialist audience of more than 1000 accredited persons from within and without Germany accompanied one of the largest audience festivals in Germany.

The 17th Filmfest Hamburg starts September 24th until October 1st 2009.

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