Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsNewsCannes Film Festival: Prize for Direction for Amat Escalante and co-production „Heli“

Cannes Film Festival: Prize for Direction for Amat Escalante and co-production „Heli“

  • Mexican director presented drama on festival’s second day in Competition
  • Heli“ funded by Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
  • Le prix Cannes Soundtrack Award for „Only Lovers Left Alive“
  • 66th Festival de Cannes (15 – 26 May) ended on Sunday evening with the presentation of the Golden Palm

The 66th Festival de Cannes came to an end on Sunday evening with a gala awards ceremony in the Grand Théâtre Lumière. The distinguished jury under the chairmanship of Steven Spielberg decided to award, among others, the Prize for Best Director to the international co-production „Heli“ of the Mexican director Amat Escalante. The film was co-produced by Cologne’s unafilm and supported by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.

„Congratulations and all credit to the director Amat Escalante and producer Titus Kreyenberg for the prize to ‚Heli‘“, says Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. „And congratulations to Pandora whose films at the festival attracted strong interest. ‚The Congress‘ by Ari Folman and ‚Only Lovers Left Alive‘ by Jim Jarmusch had acclaimed premieres at the festival. The impressive soundtrack of ‚Only Lovers Left Alive‘ had already received a prize. We are now looking forward to the release of the Cannes films in Germany!“

Heli“ is a Mexican-German-Dutch co-production; on the German side, the film was made with participation from the production company unafilm (Titus Kreyenberg) and supported by the Filmstiftung with € 60,000, ZDF/arte was involved as a broadcaster. The film by Amat Escalante, who also wrote the screenplay, describes the life of an average Mexican family whose values depend on a harsh and violent reality. A criminal career seems to be the easiest way to create a future free of any worries. The main actors in the international production are Armado Espitia, Linda González and Juan Edurardo Palacios. „Heli“ was presented on the festival’s second day in the International Competition.

Amat Escalante is a film director, producer and screenwriter. In 2005, he made his first feature-length film "Sangre" which also had its premiere at the film festival in Cannes, in Un Certain Regard. In the following years, he made the feature films "Los Bastardos" and, most recently, "Heli".

Best Film Score: Le prix Cannes Soundtrack Award for „Only Lovers Left Alive“

The Competition also featured the international co-production „Only Lovers Left Alive“ by Jim Jarmusch. It was announced at the weekend that the Le prix Cannes Soundtrack Award for the Best Film Score was presented this year to Jozef van Wissem who is responsible for the film’s score. The Dutchman is known for his minimalist style and has already produced two albums together with Jarmusch.

The screening of „Only Lovers Left Alive“ on Saturday was the last presentation of a Competition film at the festival. The film tells the centuries-old love story of the deeply depressed and reclusive underground musician Adam and his muse. Jim Jarmusch’s variation of the vampire myth has a top-notch cast with Tom Hiddleston,Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska and John Hurt. Half of the film was produced in NRW, with the apartment of the vampire Adam being lavishly recreated in the MMC studios. „Only Lovers Left Alive“ is a production of Cologne’s Pandora Film and Recorded Pictures (GB) in co-production with Le Pacte (F), Sanderfin (CY) and Degeto Film. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW funded with € 1.2 m, and further backing came from the FFA, the DFFF and the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein.

A great deal of interest was also generated by the screening of another international co-production by Pandora Film, which opened the Cannes sidebar of Quinzaine des Réalisateurs on May 16: „The Congress“ by Ari Folman, based on a science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem, which tells the story of an actress (Robin Wright), who sells her digital intellectual property rights to a powerful media concern that wants to implant films directly into people’s heads. Scenes were realised in Cologne and Dortmund on five of the 20 shooting days.

The Golden Palm, the main prize of the Cannes Film Festival, went this year to the French film „La vie d’Adèle“ by Abdellatif Kechiche. A total of 20 films were in the running  fr the Golden Palm in this year’s Competition.


Photo: „Heli“ director Amat Escalante (middle) with Petra Müller, CEO Filmstiftung NRW, and producer Titus Kreyenberg, unafilm, at the press lunch in Cannes last week /©Kurt Krieger/Filmstiftung NRW)