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Filmfest: Chatting stars and political prizes at the Munich Film Festival

Filmfest: Chatting stars and political prizes at the Munich Film Festival
Filmfest: Chatting stars and political prizes at the Munich Film Festival

Cinema is alive – the Munich Film Festival is making this clear again under new management. There were stars and lots of good films. How was the 2024 festival received?

Ten days packed with cinema, receptions, talks and parties – and the Munich Film Festival is already over. For those responsible, it’s time for some relaxation – and joy. This year’s festival counted around 71,000 visitors, around 13,000 more than in 2023 and even slightly more than before the Corona pandemic in 2019, when around 70,000 tickets were sold. This is a confirmation for the new dual leadership of festival director Christoph Gröner and artistic director Julia Weigl. “Cinema simply has the power to connect people – we thank you for the curiosity, the cheering and the enthusiasm for cinema and television in all its facets,” they commented on the figures.

Stars in a chatty mood

In fact, the film festival seemed pleasantly relaxed, a fact that also had an effect on the celebrity guests. Hollywood star Jessica Lange, for example, chatted about her childhood on stage in the packed Deutsches Theater. “I invented stories, characters and scenes that I then acted out myself,” she revealed after receiving the honorary CineMerit Award. Oscar winner Kate Winslet, who presented her new film “The Photographer,” enjoyed the moment when she accepted her CineMerit Award. Since arriving at the film festival, she has felt very celebrated. Her thought: “Wow, I’m a film star!” There was great laughter and applause in the sold-out theater.

It is moments like these that make the film festival so special for guests. Anyone who manages to get a ticket can meet the stars in person and, with a bit of luck, even ask them a question. The film discussion with the director or actor after a screening or as a separate event is an integral part of the festival. Good conversations instead of glamour was the motto of the festival 20 years ago. The new organizers are continuing this tradition.

Political accents in the competition

Despite all the fun, serious topics were not left out. The winners of the competition, who were honored on Saturday, were political. The drama “To a Land Unknown” about two Palestinian cousins ​​on their way to Germany was named best co-production. Mahdi Fleifel’s film takes the audience into a world in which the characters have no choice but to do the wrong thing, said the jury in justifying the award of the CineCoPro Award, which is endowed with 100,000 euros. In order to maintain their dream of a safe life in Europe, the stranded men must cross all borders in their desperation.

The best international film was the Slovakian-Hungarian production “An Explanation for Everything”, in which a young man fails his final exam because of love, possibly because of his political views. “At a time when freedom of speech and opinion are seriously threatened, it is essential that art deals with the complex realities of contemporary life,” said the jury, which awarded the CineMasters, worth 50,000 euros, to Gábor Reisz.

The audience award among the German entries went to the German-Slovak production “Führer und Verführer” by Joachim A. Lang with Robert Stadlober, Fritz Karl, Franziska Weisz, which will be released in cinemas on Thursday (July 11). The film focuses on the power structure of Joseph Goebbels, once the Nazi propaganda minister. The international audience award went to “Samia” by Yasemin Samdereli. The film is about a Somali sprinter who dreams of the Olympic Games.

Source: Stern

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