Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsNewsEight NRW-funded films at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival

Eight NRW-funded films at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival

  • New competition Platform: world premiere of Fabienne Berthaud’s „Sky“ with Diane Kruger
  • Contemporary Arts Cinema: Lars Kraume’s “The People Vs. Fritz Bauer” („Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer“)
  • Discovery: Sebastian Ko’s “We Monsters” („Wir Monster“)
  • Masters of Cinema: Alexander Sokurov’s „Francofonia“
  • Contemporary World Cinema: Florin Serban’s „Box“ and world premiere of Christian Zübert’s “One Breath” („Ein Atem“)
  • TIFF Docs: world premiere of Mika Taanila’s „Return of the Atom“
  • Special Presentation: Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s „Mustang“
  • Anniversary: 40th Toronto International Film Festival from 10 – 20 September, 2015

Anniversary with strong NRW presence: the Toronto International Film Festival, North America’s largest film festival, is celebrating its 40 years of existence this year. Eight NRW-backed films received an invitation to the anniversary edition (10 – 20 September). This year has seen the festival launching the new competitive section Platform where 12 artistically ambitious films compete for the main prize with a purse of 25,000 Canadian Dollars.

Platform: „Sky"
The international co-production „Sky" by Fabienne Berthaud will have its world premiere in Toronto in the Platform competition. Romy sets off on a journey through California after a big argument with her husband and breaks free in the truest sense of the word. She embarks on an adventure into a new life in this alien world. In doing so, she crosses paths with the solitary Diego with whom she shares a supposedly inconceivable love. The leads include Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus, Gilles Lellouche, Q’orianka Kilcher and Lena Dunham. „Sky" is a production by Le Bureau Films (F) in co-production with Cologne’s Pandora Film Produktion. The Filmstiftung backed the project with 160,000 Euros. Alamode will release the film in the cinemas, world sales are being handled by The Bureau Sales (F).

Contemporary Arts Cinema: „The People Vs. Fritz Bauer"
The new film by Lars Kraume addresses recent German history. "The People Vs. Fritz Bauer" is set in Germany in 1957. While the young Federal Republic is wanting to leave the Nazi era quickly behind it, a man is fighting tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice in their own country: twelve years after the end of the war, the uncompromising prosecutor general Fritz Bauer (Burghart Klaußner) receives crucial evidence as to where the former SS officer Adolf Eichmann is said to be hiding. Together with the young public prosecutor Karl Angermann (Ronald Zehrfeld), Bauer begins to research the background. But they are faced with resistance through to the highest echelons: documents keep on disappearing in his own offices, and even the senior public prosecutor and Ulrich Kreidler and BKA secret service officer Paul Gebhardt try to hijack the unwelcome Bauer’s investigations. A seemingly futile struggle begins against invisible opponents, but Bauer and Angermann don’t give up, even though they are fully aware that the hunt for Eichmann will demand everything from them on both a professional and private level. The lead roles are taken by Burghart Klaußner and Ronald Zehrfeld. The other roles feature: Lilith Stangenberg, Sebastian Blomberg, Jörg Schüttauf, Laura Tonke, Götz Schubert, Rüdiger Klink, Michael Schenk and many others. Principal photography for the film whose screenplay was written by the director Lars Kraume and Olivier Guez, lasted from October to December 2014 in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bad Honnef, Mönchengladbach, Königswinter, Hürth as well as Israel. zero one film produced with Cologne’s Terz Film in association with the broadcasters WDR, HR and ARTE. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed the historical drama, which recently won the Audience Award at the Festival del Film Locarno, with a total 1.2 Mn Euros. Other funders were the Hessische Filmförderung, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, the FFA and the DFFF. Alamode will release the film theatrically on 1 October, 2015, and world sales are being handled by Beta Cinema. On 22 September, the film will begin a cinema tour to 15 cities with the German premiere in Essen’s Lichtburg.
Discovery: „We Monsters"
The drama „We Monsters" by Sebastian Ko will now be having its fourth festival appearance this year. Paul and Christine know: ever since their separation, the adolescent Sarah is capable of everything, even the murder of her best friend. Wanting to protect their daughter, they hide the crime, and their join guilt forces the family back together. There is then no way out from the web of lies and deadly intrigues when it’s clear what really happened. Cologne’s Ester.Reglin.Film produced the feature film debut by Sebastian Ko as a co-production with WDR and ARTE. The lead actors include Mehdi Nebbou, Ulrike C. Tscharre, Janina Fautz, Ronald Kukulies, Britta Hammelstein, Daniel Drewes and Marie Bendig. The film was shot over a total 24 shooting days, including 19 in NRW at locations in Cologne, Leverkusen, Erftstadt and at the Urfttal Dam in the Nordeifel region, among others. The Filmstiftung supported the script development and production with a total of 350,000 Euros. International sales are being handled by Pluto Film Distribution Network.
Masters of Cinema: „Francofonia"
The documentary essay „Francofonia" by Alexander Sokurov focuses on Count Franz Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht, the director of the German Kunstschutz organisation to protect works of art, and the Louvre’s director at that time, Jacques Jaujard. The two remarkable men were initially enemies, but then became collaborators. Their ¨collaboration¨ became the driving force for the preservation of the museum’s treasures. The film explores the relations between art and power and the Louvre as a living record of civilisation. Moreover, it shows what art tells us about ourselves even in the midst of one of the bloodiest conflicts the world has ever seen. Alexander Sokurov uses his film to ask about morality and honour and stages a visually engaging mirror of history in the Louvre, The French-German-Dutch co-production about the Louvre and its unknown history under the German occupation was backed by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW with 85,000 Euros. Large parts of the archival research and preparation as well as the editing, the complex postproduction and completion were undertaken in NRW. Idéale Audience (FR) and N279 Entertainment (NL) produced the film with zero one film and participation from ARTE Cinema. Other backers were the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Eurimages, DFFF and the German-French Funding Committee. Piffl Medien will release the film in German cinemas, with Films Boutique handling world sales. The documentary essay is currently in the competition at Venice for the Golden Lion parallel to its presentation in Toronto.
Contemporary World Cinema: „Box“
Box“ by Florin Șerban is the story of two different people. Rafael comes from a poor Roma family who live on the edge of a big town. He lives alone with his grandfather and dreams of a great career as a boxer. Cristina lives in the town, is a mother and an actress in the theatre. Her husband is the star of the theatre’s company, whilst she herself is currently going through a professional and personal crisis. Without them knowing one another, Rafael follows Cristina through the town’s streets one day. She notices what he is doing and enjoys the attention. From this point on, there is no going back for either of them…. The leads for the production, which received the FIPRESCI Prize at the festival in Karlovy Vary, are taken by Rafael Florea, Hilda Peter, Nicolae Motrogan and Narcis Romulus Dobrin. „Box" was produced by Romania’s Fantascope, in co-production with Germany’s augenschein Filmproduktion and France’s MPM Film. ZDF and Arte are involved as broadcasters. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed the production with around 200,000 Euros, additional funding came from Eurimages as well as France and Romania.

Contemporary World Cinema: „A Breath"
The young Greek woman Elena hopes for a new and secure future in Germany after her bankruptcy. In actual fact, she manages relatively quickly to get a job working as a nanny for Tessa and Jan. Lotte is one-and-a-half years old and, after a short time of getting to know one another, they all get on well together. An odyssey begins for both women when the little girl disappears and the pregnant Elena runs off back to Athens. Chara Mata Giannatou, Jördis Triebel and Benjamin Sattler can be seen in the leads. Senator Film Köln and View Masters S.A (GR) produced the film by the director Christian Zübert with participation by BR and ARTE. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW supported the production, which will have its world premiere in Toronto, with 400,000 Euros. Additional funding came from HessenInvestFilm, the DFFF and the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. International sales are being handled by ARRI Media World Sales and Senator Film Verleih will release the production in German cinemas.
TIFF Docs: „Return of the Atom"
Superlatives became the order of the day in a Finnish village in 2004: Europe’s biggest building site, the construction of a prototype for the world’s most efficient nuclear power plant, the first one in Western Europe after Chernobyl. The reactor was supposed to supply electricity within five years and herald the nuclear industry’s renaissance. However, the project has now been delayed by nine years and there isn’t any sign of completion – too many problems in the planning, construction and safety automation. The film „Return of the Atom” portrays the life in the community of Eurajoki where there is hardly any anti-nuclear resistance and a tense consensus among the local inhabitants leaves room for paranoid scenarios. The documentary by Mika Taanila and Jussi Eerola is a co-production between Kinotar Oy, Blinker Filmproduktion (Cologne), YLE (SF) and ZDF in association with ARTE and WDR. The Filmstiftung NRW, various Scandinavian funders and the MEDIA Programme backed the production. International sales are being handled by Deckert Distribution, with Real Fiction releasing the film theatrically in Germany.

Special Presentation: „Mustang"
In her debut film „Mustang", the Turkish woman director Deniz Gamze Ergüven tells a coming of age story about five Turkish girls who are fighting for their freedom and self-determination. „Mustang" was produced by Düsseldorf-based Vistamar Filmproduktion and Cologne’s Uhlandfilm. The co-producers are CG Cinema (F) and BAM Films (TR). The lead roles are played by Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Tugba Sungurolgu, Elit Iscan and Ilayda Akdogan. The Filmstiftung NRW backed the film with 100,000 Euros, the broadcaster partners are ZDF/ARTE. Additional backers are the FFA Minitraité, Eurimages and the Doha Film Institute, among others. International sales are being handled by France’s Kinology. The multi-award-winning international co-production celebrated its world premiere earlier in the year in Cannes and received the „Europa Cinemas Label" there.
Founded in 1976, the Toronto International Film Festival is the one of the world’s film festivals with the greatest public appeal and is considered as a barometer for the forthcoming Oscar ceremony. This year will see almost 400 films from over 70 countries being shown. Further information about the festival at