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Face to Face with German Films Unveils the Six ‘Faces’ of 2019 (Exclusive)

  • Variety
Teutonic promotional organization German Films has announced that its annual initiative supporting German filmmaking internationally, Face to Face With German Films, will focus on actors and actresses as the campaign enters its fourth year.

Six of Germany’s leading thesps – Maria Dragus, Christian Friedel, Luise Heyer, Jonas Nay, Jördis Triebel and Fahri Yardim – will represent the German film and television industry’s recent accomplishments through activities at next month’s Berlin Film Festival, including a panel event in association with Variety and Drama Series Days, the European Film Market program focusing on serialized content.

The initiative launched in 2016 with six German actresses headlining the campaign – including “Toni Erdmann’s” Sandra Hüller, and Paula Beer of “Frantz” and the Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated “Never Look Away.” In 2017, the second phase of the initiative launched during Cannes and featured six of Germany’s most exciting actors, including established names such as Alexander Fehling and Tom Schilling,
See full article at Variety »

Film Studio Launches In UK With Duncan Jones’s Rogue Trooper Pic; ‘Babylon Berlin’ Series 3 Underway — Global Briefs

  • Deadline
A disused newspaper factory in the south of England is to be converted into a film studio complex. The Daily Mail printing press in Oxfordshire has been acquired by media company Rebellion, the games developer, motion capture firm and publishing outfit which owns the 2000 Ad comic book IP, which includes Judge Dredd. The complex is being lined up as a home for Duncan Jones’s Rogue Trooper film and Judge Dredd TV show Mega-City One. Six sound stages will be available at the 220,000 sq ft site, which is due to open in the spring. Rebellion founders Jason Kingsley and Chris Kingsley were producers on the 2012 feature film Dredd and set up Rebellion Productions in 2017 to develop and produce film and TV based on the company’s IP. Variety first reported news of the studio.

Shoot on hit German crime series Babylon Berlin by Tom Tykwer, Henk Handloegten and
See full article at Deadline »

The Best Foreign Shows to Binge This Summer

  • Variety
The Best Foreign Shows to Binge This Summer
Looking past the regular popular streaming playlists, audiences can find quality television shows to binge made in countries both across the pond and south of the border. Read on to find the best international television shows to watch this summer.

Breathe

“Breathe,” starring R. Madhavan and Amit Sadh, is an Indian thriller that features a cat-and-mouse story as a police detective tries to solve a string of murders of organ donors. His prime suspect is a father desperately seeking a donor to save his dying son.

How to Watch: Amazon Prime

Cable Girls

This Spanish period drama follows four women working in Madrid’s first and only telephone company in 1929 right before the global financial crash. The show showcases the hardships working women faced during the time period and how they overcame them. The series stars Blanca Suárez, Maggie Civantos, Ángela Cremonte, and Nadia de Santiago.

How to Watch: Netflix
See full article at Variety »

Berlinale 2018: First Competition & Special Films Announced

In den Gängen (In the Aisles)

The first ten films have been selected for the Competition and the Berlinale Special for next year’s Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale).

Alongside the previously announced opening film, Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson, seven productions and co-productions from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Serbia, the Russian Federation, and the USA have been invited to take part in the Competition.

So far two productions have been invited to participate in the Berlinale Special. As part of the Official Programme, it screens recent works by contemporary filmmakers, as well as documentaries and works with extraordinary formats.

Benoit Jacquot, Gus Van Sant, Alexey German Jr., Ma?gorzata Szumowska, Philip Gröning, Thomas Stuber, and Laura Bispuri all feature in the Competition, while Isabel Coixet and Lars Kraume feature in the Berlinale Special.

Competition

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

USA

By Gus Van Sant (Milk,
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Berlin Film Festival 2018: Gus Van Sant, Isabelle Huppert movies in competition

The Berlinale has revealed the first films within its Competition and Berlinale Special lineups.

Source: Amazon

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

The Berlin Film Festival (15 - 25 Feb) has revealed the first films within its Competition and Berlinale Special lineups.

Directors including Benoit Jacquot, Gus Van Sant, Alexey German Jr., Małgorzata Szumowska, Philip Gröning, Thomas Stuber and Laura Bispuri will compete in this year’s Competition while Isabel Coixet and Lars Kraume feature in the Berlinale Special strand.

Alongside the previously announced opening film, Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson, seven productions and co-productions from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Serbia, the Russian Federation, and the USA are announced for the Competition.

Gus Van Sant’s drama Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far, which will debut at Sundance, is the only film announced today which is not a world premiere. Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill,
See full article at Screen Daily Test »

Berlin Film Festival 2018: Gus Van Sant, Isabelle Huppert movies in competition

The Berlinale has revealed the first films within its Competition and Berlinale Special lineups.

Source: Amazon

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

The Berlin Film Festival (15 - 25 Feb) has revealed the first films within its Competition and Berlinale Special lineups.

Directors including Benoit Jacquot, Gus Van Sant, Alexey German Jr., Małgorzata Szumowska, Philip Gröning, Thomas Stuber and Laura Bispuri will compete in this year’s Competition while Isabel Coixet and Lars Kraume feature in the Berlinale Special strand.

Alongside the previously announced opening film, Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson, seven productions and co-productions from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Serbia, the Russian Federation, and the USA are announced for the Competition.

Gus Van Sant’s drama Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far, which will debut at Sundance, is the only film announced today which is not a world premiere. Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara and [link
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Netflix’s ‘Dark’ Review: This Twisty German TV Tale is a Workmanlike Answer to ‘The Oa’ and ‘Stranger Things’

  • Indiewire
Netflix’s ‘Dark’ Review: This Twisty German TV Tale is a Workmanlike Answer to ‘The Oa’ and ‘Stranger Things’
One of the quixotic elements of the entertainment industry is that it’s nearly impossible to manufacture success. Certain shows or movies can fashion a well-tread formula and use it to find favor with a grateful audience, but it’s hard to replicate lightning in a bottle. Nevertheless, Netflix seems intent on trying to continue its recent success in the genre arena, this time looking outside of North America for the next big TV mystery. It may very well have found it in “Dark,” the latest TV effort from “Who Am I — No System is Safe” team of Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese and Netflix’s first German-language original series.

Wrestling with themes of time, family, grief, guilt, and the metaphysical, “Dark” hits all of the finer points that helped propel series like “The Oa” and “Stranger Things” to atmospheric success in a surprise string of 2016 hits. While not merely a rehash,
See full article at Indiewire »

Coming to L.A.: ‘Babylon Berlin’ Celebrating 50 Year Anniversary of Sister Cityhood

Coming to L.A.: ‘Babylon Berlin’ Celebrating 50 Year Anniversary of Sister Cityhood
Two vibrant cities that love making movies, Berlin and Los Angeles will celebrate their 50th anniversary as sister cities by screening the highly anticipated Tom Tykwer series Babylon Berlin (Isa: Beta) in Downtown Los Angeles on October 6th at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. The two cities have a number of other exciting events planned for the anniversary as well.

The City of Berlin and the City of Los Angeles, two of the most exciting places in the world, connected through their inspiring and trend setting art scene, their social freedom, openness and their integration of different cultures and religions will join each other to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their Sister Partnership with events throughout September and October in Los Angeles, culminating with the International Premiere of Babylon Berlin.

Babylon Berlin, the much talked about new TV series, co-written and co-directed by BAFTA and Golden Globe Nominated Tom Tykwer,
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Netflix goes Dark with teaser trailer for new German supernatural drama

Netflix has released a trailer for its first German Original Series Dark, a supernatural drama which is drawing comparisons to last year’s hit show Stranger Things.

Dark takes place “in a German town in present day where the disappearance of two young children exposes the double lives and fractured relationships among four families. In ten, hour-long episodes, the story takes on a surprising twist that ties back to the same town in 1986.”

Watch the teaser trailer here…

Dark is set to premiere on Netflix later this year and features a cast that includes Louis Hofmann, Oliver Masucci, Jördis Triebel, Maja Schöne, Sebastian Rudolph, Anatole Taubman, Mark Waschke, Karoline Eichhorn, Stephan Kampwirth, Anne Ratte-Polle, Andreas Pietschmann, Lisa Vicari, Angela Winkler, and Michael Mendl.
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

10th Annual German Film Currents in L.A.

10th Annual German Film Currents in L.A.
Award Winning Director Wolfgang Becker (“Good Bye Lenin!”) will open the festival at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre with “Me and Kaminski” bringing outstanding German cinema and its stars to Los Angeles from October 20 to 23rd.

Full Program Line Up Announced with a selection of the best new German, Austrian and Swiss Cinema

Celebrating its 10th year, German Currents features an expanded program including screenings of ten La premieres, conversations with prolific German directors, writers and actors, as well as the return of the free family matinee film screening for local schools.

Me and Kaminski” starring Daniel Brühl and directed by Wolfgang Becker

2016 has been a successful year for German language cinema, not only in Europe, but across the globe. Beginning on Thursday, October 20th 2016 German Currents will open this year’s 4 day festival with the red carpet event Los Angeles premiere of Wolfgang Becker’s (“Goodbye Lenin”) five-time
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

West review – taut cold-war drama

Friends and informants become indistinguishable in this intriguing Berlin-set counterpoint to The Lives of Others

Christian Schwochow’s adaptation of Julia Franck’s novel Lagerfeuer opens with a young woman exiting East Germany in the late 70s, then subjected to a humiliating interrogation and strip-search before finally being allowed to leave. Yet having arrived in West Berlin, where a grim refugee centre becomes her new home, Nelly (Jördis Triebel, excellent) finds the indignities of the past mirrored and repeated, with the CIA as interested as the Stasi in the increasingly foggy fate of her deceased Russian partner. “Why did you leave East Germany?” she is asked repeatedly, eventually prompting the reply: “Because of questions like these.”

Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

West, film review: 1970s-set drama is an intriguing study of family, love and treachery

Christian Schwochow's late 1970s-set drama about young East German woman Nelly (Jördis Triebel) trying to build a new life in the west has some of the same mix of pathos and paranoia that characterised The Lives of Others. This was a period when the Stasi secret service was poisoning the lives of its citizens in the east but in which western authorities were hugely suspicious of refugees. The film doesn't quite deliver on its initial promise but is still an intriguing study of family, love and treachery.
See full article at The Independent »

Beyond the Wall: Dir. Christian Schwochow on His Intriguing Historical Drama 'West'

Announcing the end of the Cold War in Europe and representing the long-awaited reunification of Germany, the fall of the Berlin Wall became a moment in history engraved on the world’s memory as a symbol of regained freedom and the end of oppression. But while the physical division no longer exists, the fears and unaddressed violations of privacy continue to be a delicate subject 25 years after. Both sides had their own assumptions about the other. For those living on the Stasi-controlled state, the West was perceived a mythical land of prosperity and life out of the shadows. Evidently, for those in the capitalist side, the East was a gloomy house of horrors in which everything you did or said could be used against. But as with most situations, things weren't as clear cut as popular belief made out to be.

As someone who lived on both sides of the wall, German filmmaker Christian Schwochow can testify of these stereotypical assumptions. To him, Germany is still a country quietly divided by an invisible wall built on the notion that most people don't have any interest in revisiting this time period. At the same time, he is concerned about the unquestioning compliance and passiveness most citizens show. He believes we talk about the infiltration of secret organizations in people's lives as if this was a thing of the past, when it's more aggressively present today than ever before.

In his latest film "West," Nelly (Jördis Triebel), a strong-willed mother, and her son Alexej (Tristan Göbel) leave the East and arrive in the West to become refugees. Their new home offers more challenges than benefits. Nelly is constantly interrogated by an American intelligence agent John Bird (Jacky Ido) about her partner's whereabouts. In their eyes she is a criminal by default, and her every move is analyzed for any trace of subservient defiance. Meanwhile young Alexej is humiliated and mistreated based on the place he was born, even if that is simply on the other side of the infamous concrete border. Suddenly the land that promised endless wonders doesn't seen so different from the image of what the East is supposed to be like.

Schwochow talked to us from Ireland where he is working on his next film.

Carlos Aguilar : As a German filmmaker why was it important for you to make a film about this dark period in your country’s history? Was it because you felt compelled by the source material? Was it the political implications of it?

Christian Schwochow: With her novel Lagerfeuer (Campfire), upon which the film is based, Julian Franck became one of the first young writers to have a different perspective on this time period. When I read it, what she described felt, on one hand, very strange because I didn’t know about these places, these refugee centers. On the other hand, it felt very familiar because I grew up with parents who always discussed the state of the country we lived in. They were always reflecting on “Should we stay? Or should we leave?” My dad was 18-years-old when he went to prison because he tried to escape from East to West.

When I read the book for the fist time I was in first year of film school, so it was totally out of reach to get rights for a novel like that. It took me almost 10 years to come back to this story. There are so many things that people, East Germans included, experience when they have hopes for a new life somewhere else. They take a big risk to leave their country and start in a new place. Most of them succeed in starting a new life, but many have a very hard time in the process.

I feel this is a subject that becomes more and more important nowadays because we have millions of refugees all over the world who come to Western Europe or the U.S. and in many cases they are just not welcome. This combined with the special atmosphere of the Cold War years in West Berlin struck me in a way. There are so many things in this story that relate to my personal family history that once I read this novel it just never left my heart.

Aguilar: Tell me about the social mechanics in Germany today regarding the legacy of the East and the West. It's only been 25 years, relatively a short time, since Germanay became a unified country once again. Is there still a sense of separation, of families divided by this border even if it's no longer there physically?

Christian Schwochow: I think there were quiet many families who were divided. However, there are also people who lived in either side of Germany, but who never had or have any relationship with the other side whether it was former East or former West Germany. There are people who are still not very curious about how people lived on the other side of the wall. Therefore, there are still so many stereotypes and misguided ideas about both sides.

It’s still very common for someone from the West to believe that a former Eastern person or a former Eastern family must have been unhappy living in East Germany. There is also the common assumption that a family or a person who left the East and moved to the West must have found happiness right away, which was far more difficult in most cases.

Aguilar: In your film, East and West don't seem to be so different. When Nelly and Alexej arrive in West Germany they immediately become suspects by the mere fact that they came from the East. They were running from the Stasi and came to find a similarly invasive system in the West. They find another group in control that wants to know everything and hide it away.

Christian Schwochow: It’s a historical fact that the Stasi did horrible things and that they monitored a lot of people in East Germany, but I find it very interesting to think about the importance of the Western secret services back then and still working today. Since what happened with Edward Snowden we know that there is still so much going on. Secret Services are everywhere. They are part of out daily life. We just don’t really care. We are not concerned at all.

I’m not sure how it is in America, but for what I can say about Germany, most people give their information willingly to anyone who asks for it such as companies like Google. We just don’t question it anymore. When it we learned that our chancellor’s phone was being monitored there was very little debate or outcry. I can’t understand that. It’s a bit of a coincidence that my film was released in Germany just a bit after Edward Snowden share all these details with the public. Still, people don’t really discuss it for some reason.

Aguilar: In order to support the information on the novel with more historical accuracy, what kind of research did you do? Were you able to find reliable information on such a secretive time period for both sides of Germany, and most of Europe for that matter?

Christian Schwochow: There was quiet a lot of research from my part. I’m lucky to have parents who were very involved in political issues during the Cold War. I wrote this script together with my mother. In their work as journalists they always dealt with these issues related to the country’s separation. We had many friends we could talk to about this, including Julian Franck, the author of the novel.

She spent many months in a refugee center in Berlin when she was a child. I also spoke with people who worked in these camps. I spoke with an American Secret Service agent. I talked to a former headmaster of the refugee center. This was the historical and political research I did, but I also tried to get a sense of how it felt to live in a place like this.

For weeks I kept going back to this big refugee center in Berlin for people from Syria, Iraq, and other countries. I also spent time in a center for homeless people to get a sense of the physical and psychological experience these people had to go through. There are refugee and homeless centers all over the world, and it hasn’t really changed much.

Aguilar: Writing a script about a mother and a son with your mother must have been a rather interesting experience. How is your relationship with her as a creative partner? Did you infuse this work in particular with the personal experiences you share with her?

Christian Schwochow: We’ve written the scripts for my three features together, “West” included. We are already a team and it has always worked out pretty well because we share a similar sense of humor. We have a similar curiosity about the world. We have our own great way of discussing things and even fighting. There are no egos between us. Things that usually can get difficult while collaborating with another artist are not difficult between us. We left East Germany right after the fall of the wall.

My parents had submitted an application to East German government so we could leave to the West, the application was accepted on the morning of November 9 th, the historic date. We left East Germany and we move to the West. Many of the things that Nelly and her son Alexej experience in the film come from what we experienced, mostly details. My mother was always a person who wouldn’t just say what people wanted her to say. She would always question things, and she would always stand for her own opinions and ideas.

The situation Alexej experiences at the day care when he talks about his red neckerchief and what people thought it mean, it was exactly what I experienced at school. People didn’t really know how to deal with us coming from the East. Our personal experiences were of crucial help when writing this script.

Aguilar: As you mention, it seems that as time goes by young people have less and less interest in looking back at the past. In those terms, was it challenging to work with Tristan, who plays Alexej, and explain to him the historical context in which the story takes place?

Christian Schwochow: As you can imagine for a 10- year-old boy - which is how old Tristan was when we shot the film - the whole historical background is very theoretical. Working with him on certain scenes I tried to find things that he can relate to from his personal life. He lives with his mother and four siblings. Therefore, he understand that sometimes a mother can’t concentrate only on one child and she has difficulties spending time with each one as much as they need it. I tried to find ideas that he, as a 10-year-old living today, could connect with.

We taught him Russian for the part. He did pretty well. I had great adult actors like Alexander Scheer, who plays Hans, took good care of Tristan. The same goes for Jördis Triebel. She has two small children of her own, and it was very easy for her to create the mother and son relationship with him. We tried to act very professionally with the young actor. We didn’t want to treat him too much like a child.

What also helped was that we had numerous extras in this film. We had many people, adults and children, from Eastern European countries that had gone through similar experiences. Many of them share with us what they had gone through, sometimes just a few weeks before we met them to make the film together. I tried to help him create his own truth with his character by showing him as much as possible about the historical details and searching for those things that he could relate to today.

Aguilar: The character that I found the most intriguing was Hans. He becomes a target for people at this center to express their resentment and anger towards the repression they experienced in the East. Why was it important for you to include an ambiguous character like in the story?

Christian Schwochow: He is very important for me because it’s a fact that there are many people that left their lives behind and tried to start a new life in the West but didn’t succeed for many reasons. They probably were too scared, too overwhelmed, they were shocked by what they found or by how they were treated, or they just developed certain fears. Hans is one of them. I needed a character like him in the film because these people never really spoke about their experience. Still now, people assume that those who lived in the East where unhappy and once they escaped everything turned into something wonderful and free. They believe in that cliché of the “Golden West.”

The ones who didn’t succeed couldn’t tell success stories. Even today they don’t talk about it because it’s just too difficult for them to speak about plans that failed. You will hardly ever find this kind of people in the media doing interviews or mentioned in books. Hans is a voice for these people. It was also important that the man who everyone suspects of being a villain is in the end the person who carries hope for Nelly and Alexej. She decides to trust this man even though she probably will never find out what’s the truth about him.

Something very unique about Germany these days is that once you are suspected or accused of having worked for the Stassi, it doesn’t matter if you were 18-years-old, or a child, or an adult back then. Even if you deny it you won’t get rid of this suspicion. It doesn’t matter what you do, this stigma will stick with you. In some cases it’s true because there are many people who collaborated with them, but there are many other cases in which someone suspected them without proof. These people will never get rid of this.

Aguilar: Nelly is a determined woman with a strong personality. Besides what's on the novel, did any qualities from your mother or other people in your life influence you while writing this character?

Christian Schwochow: I grew up with very strong women who would have their own strong opinions and who would speak their minds. My mother is like this. My grandmother was like this. They were women who tool the risk not to fit in because they were strong characters. In East Germany it was very normal for a woman to go out and work even if she had children. A few weeks after giving birth women would return to their normal working life. We never had housewives in East Germany. Nelly is a very familiar person for me because I think I know quiet many “Nellies. ”

Looking at it from an outsider’s perspective one could say, “She is stubborn,” “She could have cooperated with them,” “She could just say what they want to hear from her,” but she is not like that. She is a woman with characteristics we usually attribute to a male protagonist. She defies this.

There is also the fact that she has a secret. I feel like we can believe everything she says in this film. I believe everything she says, but I know that for the audience she might be a character that you can’t really see through in the beginning. I hope that eventually people can feel her emotions, her trauma, and her fears. I just thought it was more interesting for her not to be nice or understandable right from the start.

Aguilar: 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall where do things stand?

Christian Schwochow: In Germany we have started to make many films about our own history. However, we tend to make the stories as simple as possible in order to find very simple truths. I made this film to provide another perspective and to show people something they have probably never heard about.

On the other hand, the secret services still play such a prominent role on our daily life and we seem not to care anymore. This has nothing to do with East and West. It’s so easy to look back and say, “There were two different countries, one was the free country and in the other people weren’t free,” but it was so much more complicated. Looking back at this time I’ve realized why it’s still so difficult for German people to communicate with each other.

At the same time I wanted to make a film about what it means to be a refugee today. I believe this will become an increasingly bigger issue for the Western World. We are still desperately trying to find answers for this problem.

For a list of screenings and events where the film will play visit Here
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Simple Physics: ‘The Theory Of Everything’ Is Specialty Box Office Whiz — Preview

Simple Physics: ‘The Theory Of Everything’ Is Specialty Box Office Whiz — Preview
This weekend is shaping up to mirror early fall, when specialty distributors packed theaters with new titles. Many of those disappeared quickly, and this weekend could be similar as companies usher in about a dozen limited-release theatrical newcomers. Focus FeaturesThe Theory Of Everything, however, has amassed a good amount of attention. Directed by Oscar winner James Marsh (Man On Wire), the Stephen Hawking biopic is opening two months after its Toronto debut. Two notable nonfiction titles also join the fray this weekend: Cinema Guild’s Actress, from director Robert Greene, and Zipporah FilmsNational Gallery by nonfiction maverick Frederick Wiseman. Both deserve attention as the awards-race heats up. Two years after the theatrical bow of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, the 16th U.S. President is the focus of Amplify’s The Better Angels — though it focuses a very different phase of his life. Distrib Films is opening Italian political
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

Twenty-Five Years After the Wall Fell, West Offers an Insightful Berlin Immigration Drama

Twenty-Five Years After the Wall Fell, West Offers an Insightful Berlin Immigration Drama
In this insightful immigration drama, what surprises Nelly Senff (Jördis Triebel) about the West Berlin emergency camp where she takes shelter in 1978 is how much it resembles the East Germany she recently fled. The clinical examination Nelly is required to pass upon arrival (complete with lice check) is no less humiliating than the "routine" strip search she endured before being allowed to pass through the Berlin Wall. The incessant questioning by camp-based security services about the Russian-born father of her son Alexej (Tristan Göbel) reminds her of the Stasi inquiries following her boyfriend's reported death. A naive Nelly doesn't always tell immigration officials what they want to hear, and her adjustment is rocky and painful, her euphoria tempered with regret ...
See full article at Village Voice »

Watch an Exclusive Trailer for Christian Schwochow's Spy Drama 'West'

Independent production and distribution company Main Street Films (which recently had a domestic success with the male stripper doc "La Bare") will theatrically release Christian Schwochow’s acclaimed spy drama "West" across the U.S. on November 7. Set during the Berlin Wall-era, the film’s release date will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9. "West" was also one of the films shortlisted to be Germany’s candidate for the Foreign Language Academy Award.

The film was also part of the Kino! Fetival of German Films, which we covered back in June. Read More Here

"'West' is a strong and emotional film that accurately portrays the fear and tension that existed between the East and the West during the Berlin Wall-era and is an important reminder of Germany’s recent history,” said Craig Chang, Chairman of Main Street Films.

“This is a very personal film for me,” said Christian Schwochow, director. “My family left in 1989 just after the wall came down, but it was still a time of great uncertainty. All we had was hope that life would be better and that’s a great motivator. Releasing "West" during the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is very special, especially after having the opportunity to collaborate with my mother, who wrote the screenplay.”

Winning the Fipresci prize at the 2013 Montreal Film Festival and the Best Actress award for Jôrdis Triebel at the 2014 German Film Awards, West is based on Julia Franck’s autobiographical novel Camp Fire and adapted by the director’s mother and regular screenwriting partner, Heide Schwochow.

Set during the late 1970s, three years after Nelly Senff’s boyfriend Wassilij’s apparent death, she decides to escape from behind the Berlin Wall with her son Alexej, leaving her traumatic past behind. Pretending to marry a West German, she crosses the border to start a new life. But soon her past starts to haunt her as the Allied Secret Service begin to question Wassilij’s mysterious disappearance. Fraught with paranoia, Nelly is forced to choose between discovering the truth about her former lover and her hopes for a better tomorrow.

"West" stars Jördis Triebel, Alexander Scheer, Tristan Göbel, and Jacky Ido (who is currently the lead actor in Luc Besson's TV series Taxi Brooklyn), and is produced by ö Filmproduktion’s Katrin Schlösser, zero one film’s Thomas Kufus, and Terz Filmproduktion’s Christoph Friedel. Helge Sasse of Senator Film Produktion, Barbara Buhl of Wdr, Stefanie Groß of Swr, Cooky Ziesche of rbb, and Georg Steinert of Arte are co-producers.

Take a look at this exclusive trailer courtesy of Main Street Films

About Main Street Films

Established in 2007, Main Street Films is an independent film entertainment company and has emerged as one of the industry's most exciting production, acquisition, and distribution driven ensembles. On the distribution side, Main Street Films focuses on creating and distributing high quality films across multiple genres for diverse audiences within the entertainment space. Opening later this year is the critically acclaimed The Turning starring Oscar® winner Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving, based on Tim Winton’s award-winning collection of short stories.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Christian Schwochow in conversation on West

Refugee Nelly in pursuit of 12 stamps: "The reality was that people either came out of the camps after one or two weeks."

I met with director Christian Schwochow in the lobby of the Malton Hotel, a couple of days before West (Westen), starring Jördis Triebel with Tristan Göbel, Alexander Scheer, Jacky Ido and Carlo Ljubek, opened this year's edition of Kino! Festival of German Films in New York at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Over coffee, I found out that Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three from 1961, starring James Cagney as a Coca-Cola executive, and Christian Petzold's Romy Schneider costume research for Barbara cannot even start to compete with a candy wrapper as inspiration for an East German boy. See Stephanie Soechtig's vital documentary Fed Up. I was reminded that Pierre Richard and Gérard Depardieu were a successful comedy team and that the stigma of day care
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Kino Festival Of German Films Highlights: Personal Stories of Change

Playing at the Museum of the Moving Image and the Quad Cinema in New York June 13-19 the Kino! Festival Of German Films returns for its 36th year. Once again, the festival continues to offer the best in German cinema produced in the last year. The program features documentaries and narratives that not only focus on the German experience but also on its filmmakers’ points of view on what happens around the world. Quality is always a given with Kino and these wide-ranging stories are no exception. Some revisit the country’s historical past, others travel to distant lands in search of images, and there are also those that feel specific to our time. Here are some highlights of what we've seen so far with some additions to come soon.

For more information on the festival visit Here

West

Dir. Christian Schwochow

In search of a more promising and free life for her and her son, Nelly Sneff (Jördis Triebel) a young East German chemist flees to the more modernized West side. Even though she speaks the same language and is as German as everyone else living in the communal living facilities for refugees, Nelly finds it difficult to adapt to the new system. Ironically, she comes to realize that she is seen as the enemy on this side of the wall. The constant questioning about the whereabouts and affiliation of her Soviet partner, who until now she believed dead, take a toll on her already complex life putting her in a state of paranoia. Her son Alexej (Tristan Göbel), who is bullied at school, befriends a neighbor, Hans ( Alexander Scheer) whose good intentions will put Nelly on the edge. Distrust is at the core of Schwochow’s film that plays as thoughtful answer to films like “The Lives of Others” and “Barbara.” While those examples condemned the system enforced by the Stasi, in “West” the tables are flipped. Nelly feels unsafe, watched, and harassed in a land that was supposed to be against those practices. Triebel's intense performance escalates from hopeful to enraged in a marvelously directed story about an unexamined subject within German history.

Nan Goldin : I Remember Your Face

Dir. Sabine Lidl

In a concisely executed documentary that runs just over 60 minutes, director Sabine Lidl manages to capture the essence of renowned photographer Nal Goldin. Given that her friendships are the inspiration and subjects for her work, the filmmaker follows the eccentric artist as she visits old friends and reminisces about their youth, her failed attempts at seducing attractive gay men, and their role in her career. Her photos are raw and vivid. They shine with colorful nuances that only intimacy can provide. Drunk, naked, and unique people experience sadness and joy in front of her camera. Goldin’s extravagant collections and her turbulent past with drugs and alcohol also make an appearance in this short portrait of a fascinating woman across her beloved Berlin and other European cities.

Art War

Dir. Marco Wilms

While shot by a German filmmaker, the film is very similar to the Academy Awards-nominated film “The Square.” It follows the revolutionary youth of Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring that brought down the Mubarak regime. While the aforementioned film tries to depict a holistic picture of the events, the deaths, and the shaky political processes that followed, Wilms decides to focus on the artistic expression that emerged from the movement. Including politically charged rap songs, and more extensively graffiti, the documentary advocates for the youth’s effort to protests by peaceful means. However, it also points at the non-stop attacks by Islamist conservative groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Among their many undertakings, the art on Mohamed Mahmoud Street near the iconic Tahrir Square is of particular importance because it is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the carnage. Young Egyptians turned martyrs are immortalized on the city’s walls as constant reminder of an incessant struggle. There are clearly a great number of similarities between the two films, and though this is less achieved in scope, it can definitely work as a complementary piece.

Finsterworld

Dir. Frauke Finsterwalder

With a multi-story concept that scrutinizes modern German society, the tonally eclectic “Finsterworld” provides some vexed assumptions about the country’s history of violence. A high school class is taking a fieldtrip to a concentration camp, Dominik (Leonard Scheicher) and his unofficial girlfriend Natalie (Carla Juri) are enjoying the day despite having to deal with obnoxious spoiled kid Maximilian (Jakub Gierszal). Meanwhile Franziska (Sandra Hüller), an pretentious aspiring filmmaker wants to capture something profound, inevitably her egocentric personality crashes with her loving boyfriend police officer Tom (Ronald Zehrfeld), who is also a closeted “furry.” Then there is Claude (Michael Maertens), a lonely masseur specialized in feet, and his friendship with elderly woman Frau (Margit Carstensen). Lastly, there are the Sandbergs (Corinna Harfouch &Bernhard Schütz), a wealthy couple on the road who encounter a difficult situation. Touching on the subject of German identity having Hitler as only representative figure and being a nation defined by guilt, Finsterwalder’s feature is heavily provocative. It’s strange tone that shifts between absurd comedy and gruesome violence can come across as uncomfortable or even offensive, but there are a handful of brilliant moments that make the film rather compelling.
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Christian Schwochow to attend West Q&A

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Christian Schwochow to attend West Q&A
German director Christian Schwochow will present his film West and participate in a Q&A on the opening night gala of Kino! Festival Of German Films in New York on June 12.

West won the Fipresci prize at the 2013 Montreal Film Festival and is based on Julia Franck’s novel Lagerfeuer.

Heide Schwochow adapted the Berlin Wall-era mystery starring Jördis Triebel, Alexander Scheer, Tristan Göbel and Jacky Ido.

Ö Filmproduktion’s Karin Schlösser produced with zero one film’s Thomas Kufus and terz Filmproduktion’s Christoph Friedel.

Main Street Films chairman Craig Chang and president Harrison Kordestani plan to release the film theatrically later this year.
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Gold for Reitz's Home From Home

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Gold for Reitz's Home From Home
The Golden Lola for best feature film went to veteran director Edgar Reitz’s Home From Home - Chronicle of a Vision at the German Film Awards.Scroll down for full list of winners

The black-and-white epic, set in a fictitious village in Germany’s Hunsrück region in the mid-19th century, also received awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay (shared with co-author Gert Heidenreich) after being nominated by the members of the German Film Academy in a total of six categories.

The co-production with Margaret Ménégoz’s Les Films du Losange is handled internationally by Arri Media Worldsales and was released theatrically in Germany by Concorde Filmverleih.

The prizes were handed out at the 64th annual film awards, held in Berlin.

Austrian accent to ceremony

The night belonged to Austrian film-maker Andreas Prochaska and his producers Helmut Grasser of Allegro Film and Stefan Arndt of X Filme Creative Pool with their Alpine western The Dark
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