Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsPress10 Filmstiftung-backed productions at Sarajevo Film Festival

10 Filmstiftung-backed productions at Sarajevo Film Festival

  • Competition Opening Film: „Grain“ by Semih Kaplanoğlu (Heimatfilm)
  • Documentary Competition: „Mr. Gay Syria“ by Ayse Toprak (Coin Film)
  • Opening Film for Audience Festival: „The Other Side of Hope“ by Aki Kaurismäki (Pandora Film)
  • 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival from 11 to 18 August, 2017

10 Filmstiftung-backed films have been invited to the 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival which begins today. The international co-production „Grain“ by the Turkish director Semih Kaplanoğlu can be seen as a world premiere and the opening film in the Competition. „Mr. Gay Syria“ by the woman director Ayse Toprak will celebrate its premiere in the Documentary Competition. The „In Focus“ sidebar will be showing „Jupiter’s Moon“ by the Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó and „My Happy Family“ by the directorial duo Nana & Simon. The sidebar of „Kinescope“ will feature „Nocturama“ by Bertrand Bonello, while „Summer Screen“ will present If I Think of Germany At Night („Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht“) by Romuald Karmakar. The „Children’s Programme“ will be showing At Eye Level („Auf Augenhöhe“) by Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf and „Wendy – The Movie“ („Wendy – Der Film“) by Dagmar Seume. Aki Kaurismäki's „The Other Side of Hope“ will be the opening film on 11 August for the open-air audience festival which will also feature „In The Fade“ („Aus dem Nichts“) by Fatih Akin.

„Sarajevo has shown a sure hand in selecting ten very special films which were partly made as international co-productions and partly made in NRW in their entirety. The films and their producers stand for a sophisticated European cinema which the Filmstiftung has championed from the very beginning of its operations“, says Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. „We are delighted that Semih Kaplanoğlu’s new film could convince the prestigious Sarajevo festival and cross our fingers for the Competition.“

Competition (opening film)

Grain“ by Semih Kaplanoğlu
In his new film „Grain“, the Turkish director Kaplanoğlu creates a world which is threatened by a massive crop failure. The scientist Erol  sets off on the quest for core insights and is confronted after his encounter with Cemil by ethical, moral and philosophical questions about the consequences and correctness of their actions. „Grain“ was produced by Cologne’s Heimatfilm, Kaplan Film (Turkey), Sophie DuLac Productions (France) and The Chimney Pot (Sweden) in co-production with ZDF/Arte. The leads are taken by Jean-Marc Barr, Ermin Bravo, Grigory Dobrygin and Cristina Flutur. There were 12 shooting days in NRW, wth other shooting in Cappadocis in Central Anatolia/Turkey and in Detroit/USA. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed the production with 700,000 Euros. Cologne’s The Match Factory is handling international sales.
Semih Kaplanoğlu won the Golden Bear at the 2010 Berlinale with his film „Bal – Honey“ which was also made in collaboration with Heimatfilm.

Documentary Competition

"Mr. Gay Syria“ von Ayse Toprak (CoinFilm and others)
Two Syrian refugees attempt to rebuild their lives after they were forced to leave their country. Husein is a gay barber in Istanbul. Mahmoud fights for the rights of homosexuals in Berlin. What brings them together is a crazy dream: they want to take part in an international beauty contest, the Mr. Gay World, as an escape from their trapped lives and an answer to their invisibility. „Mr. Gay Syria“ by Ayse Toprak is an international co-production between Les Films d’Antoine (France), Coin Film (Cologne) and Toprak Film (Turkey). The Filmstiftung backed the documentary with 80,000 Euros, world sales are being handled by Taskovski Films.

In Focus

Jupiter’s Moon“ by Kornél Mundruczó
An underage boy with a unique ability is interned in a Hungarian refugee camp. The boy can hover like an angel. A doctor wants to capitalise on the boy’s gift to make some money, and the boy soon captures his heart. On their run from the law, he remembers why he became a doctor in the first place and decides to use every means to protect the boy from his pursuers. „Jupiter’s Moon“ had its world premiere in the Official Competition at Cannes a few weeks ago. A tragicomedy of enormous visual power was created under the direction of the Hungarian film and theatre director Kornél Mundruczó. Merab Ninidze, György Cserhalmi, Móni Balsai and Zsombor Jéger can be seen in the lead roles. „Jupiter’s Moon“ is a co-production  between Cologne’s Match Factory Productions and Proton Cinema (Hungary), KNM (Switzerland) and Chimney (Sweden), in association with the broadcasters ZDF and Arte. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed the film with 200,000 Euros, other backers are the Hungarian National Film Fund, Eurimages, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung. International sales are being handled by Cologne-based The Match Factory.

„My Happy Family“ by Nana & Simon
„My Happy Family“ is the name of the new film by the directorial duo Nana & Simon. The film centres on the literature professor Manana who announces on the evening of her 52nd birthday to her completely astonished family that she is going to move out after having been married for 30 years and living with her husband, her parents and her two grownup children plus son-in-law in a three-room flat in Tbilisi. But when she actually packs her suitcase, they are all shocked. Manana is long past 'divorce age' and has a perfect husband who doesn’t drink, take drugs or beat her. But Manana remains resolute and does something that is unthinkable in the patriarchal Georgian society – she moves into a small flat to live on her own. The drama is a production of Cologne-based augenschein Filmproduktion with Polare Film (Georgia) and Arizona Productions (France) and was made in association with ZDF – Das kleine Fernsehspiel. The Filmsupported the film with 250,000 Euros, other backers were Eurimages, BKM, DFFF, GNFC Georgian National Film Center, CNC and Media Development. „My Happy Family“ screened in the competition of the Sundance Festival as well as at the Forum of this year’s Berlinale. Zorro Film released the film in German cinemas in mid-July.


Nocturama“ by Bertrand Bonello
One morning in Paris, a handful of adolescents from different social backgrounds individually begin a strange dance through the labyrinth of the metro and the streets of the capital. They all seem to be following a plan. Their gestures are almost dangerous in their precision. They come together in the same place, a department store, shortly before closing time.  The attack runs its course.. The leads in the German-French co-production between Cologne-based Pandora Film Produktion with Rectangle Production, My New Picture (both F) and Scope Pictures (BE) are played by Finnegan Oldfield, Vincent Rottiers, Hamza Meziani, Manal Issa, Martin Guyot, Jamil McCraven, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laure Valentinelli, with Adèle Haenel in a guest role. Arte G.E.I.E. and WDR were involved as broadcasters in the production. The Filmstiftung NRW backed the film with 200,000 Euros, with additional support coming from the German-French Funding Committee and Eurimages. Wild Bunch released the film in German cinemas in May.

Children’s Programme

At Eye Level by Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf
The multiple award-winning film „At Eye Level“ by Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf, a project of „The Special Children’s Film“ initiative, can be seen in the Children’s Film Programme. Rat Pack Filmproduktion produced the film with Westside Filmproduktion and Martin Richter Filmproduktion  (involved broadcasters: ZDF, KiKa), with backing of 250,000 Euros from the Filmstiftung NRW. Other backers were FFF Bayern, BKM, FFA and DFFF. The lead roles were taken by Luis Vorbach, Jordan Prentice, Anica Dobra, Mira Bartuschek, Sebastian Fräsdorf and Phil Laude. The story: Michi is living in a children’s home where he has to fight for the respect of the other kids. His greatest dream looks like being realised when he comes across the address of the father he had never known – until he learns that his father Tom is vertically challenged. Michi’s idea of his ideal father figure is consequently turned completely upside down. The film had its premiere at last year’s Filmfest München and was theatrically released by Tobis Film.

Wendy – The Movie by Dagmar Seume
Wendy doesn’t care too much for the idea of spending her summer break with her parents at Rosenborg, the riding stable that her grandma has to manage on her own. But then she becomes friends with the injured horse Dixie which had escaped the butcher. She hides Dixie and even wants to start riding again. She had given up her passion after an accident. Together with Dixie, she wants to show the neighbours, a successful manager of a riding stable and her daughter, what she is capable of. The lead roles are taken by Jule Hermann, Jasmin Gerat, Benjamin Sadler, Maren Kroymann and Waldemar Kobus. „Wendy – The Movie“ by Dagmar Seume was produced by Cologne-based Bantry Bay Productions. The Filmstiftung supported the production with 800,000 Euros and development of the screenplay with 20,000 Euros. Other funding came from the German Federal Film Board (FFA). Sony Pictures released the film in German cinemas at the end of January.

Summer Screen

If I Think of Germany At Night¨ by Romuald Karmakar
Romuald Karmakar places techno at the centre of his new film „If I Think of Germany At Night“. Techno frrom Germany is unique worldwide and one of the most important cultural exports. This film gets to the bottom of this phenomenon. Interviews are conducted with the most important music producers and Djs from Germany, and they are exclusively accompanied to the stages of the leading clubs and festivals in Germany and Europe. The production of Arden Film in co-production with Cologne’s Rapid Eye Movies was made in association with the broadcasters ZDF and Arte and supported by the Filmstiftung NRW with 50,000 Euro; other backers were MBB, Hesse Film Fund, DFFF and the FFA. Rapid Eye Movies released the film theatrically.


„The Other Side of Hope“ by Aki Kaurismäki (opening film)
The Syrian refugee Khaled arrives in Helsinki after an odyssey during which he lost his sister. He is due to be deported and runs away from the hostel. He ends up in the courtyard of a restaurant that is now being run by the former shirt salesman seller Wikström. They come to blows. But Wikström then lets Khaled live in his former storehouse and work with him in the restaurant. The Filmstiftung-backed tragicomedy „The Other Side of Hope“ by Aki Kaurismäki was produced by Sputnik OY (Finland) in co-production with OY Bufo AB (Finland) and Cologne’s Pandora Film and in association with YLE and ZDF/Arte. The leads are taken by Sherwan Haji, Sakari Kuosmanen and Ilkka Koivula. The Filmstiftung backed the German distribution with 40,000 Euros. Pandora Film Verleih released the tragicomedy in German cinemas on 30 March, 2017.

In The Fade“ by Fatih Akin
Fatih Akin’s thriller centres on a woman’s love for her family beyond the grave. Her life suddenly implodes when her husband and son die in a bomb attack. The police arrests two suspects: a young couple from the Neo-Nazi scene. The young woman wants justice – there isn’t any alternative for her. Diane Kruger, Dennis Moschitto and Ulrich Tukur are cast in the leads. „In The Fade“ is a production by bombero international in co-production with Warner Bros. Film Productions Germany, Macassar Productions (F), Pathé (F) and corazón international. The Filmstiftung NRW backed the film with 250,000 Euros, other funding came from Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, FFA, BKM and DFFF. Warner will be releasing the film theatrically in Germany.