Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsPressFilm- und Medienstiftung NRW at the 70th Berlinale: 2 films in Competition and 26 films in the other festival sections

Film- und Medienstiftung NRW at the 70th Berlinale: 2 films in Competition and 26 films in the other festival sections

  • Competition: "Berlin Alexanderplatz" by Burhan Qurbani and "Undine" by Christian Petzold
  • Encounters: "Orphea" by Alexander Kluge and Khavn De La Cruz
  • Panorama: "Exile" by Visar Morina, "One of these days" by Bastian Günther and "Schlingensief – A Voice that Shook the Silence" by Bettina Böhler
  • Perspektive Deutsches Kino: "Kids Run" by Barbara Ott and "Sisters Apart" by Daphne Charizani
  • Forum: "Oeconomia" by Carmen Losmann
  • Lola@Berlinale with 19 films supported by the Filmstiftung
  • "Unsere Wunderbaren Jahre" by ??? and "Höllental" by Marie Wilke at the Berlinale Series
  • Filmstiftung is the Main Partner of the Berlinale Series Market & Conference for the sixth time
  • 70th Berlin International Film Festival from 20.02.-01.03.2020

The programme for all the important sections and sidebars was announced at today’s press conference of the 70th Berlin International Film Festival. The Filmstiftung NRW will be represented with a total of 28 films, two of which are in the Competition: Christian Petzold’s new drama "Undine" with Paula Beer, Jacob Matschenz and Franz Rogowski and the Burhan Qurbani’s new interpretation of Döblin’s "Berlin Alexanderplatz", with Welket Bungué, Albrecht Schuch, Jella Haase and Joachim Król, among others.

The new section called Encounters, which is to complement the Competition, will be showing "Orphea", a collaboration between the directors Alexander Kluge and Khavn De La Cruz with the lead actress Lilith Stangenberg. The section aims to provide a platform for innovative, aesthetically and structurally daring feature and documentary films by independent filmmakers.

The international co-productions "Exil" by Visar Morina and "One of These Days" by Bastian Günther will be shown in the Panorama. Barbara Ott’s debut feature ¨Kids Run¨ will open the Perspektive Deutsches Kino sidebar which will also feature "Sisters Apart" by Daphne Charizani. The documentary "Oeconomia" by Carmen Losmann has been selected to screen in the Forum. The Berlinale presents longlisted productions for the German Film Awards in Lola@Berlinale. This year’s line-up includes 19 films backed by the Filmstiftung.

"We congratulate all of the filmmakers on their outstanding works that once again reflect the colour and diversity of films supported by NRW," says Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. "We are looking forward to the anniversary edition of the Berlinale. The two German productions ¨Berlin Alexanderplatz¨ and ¨Undine¨ are particular highlights in the festival’s International Competition, We wish Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian a successful festival premiere.¨


Berlinale Series Market & Conference
The Film- und Medienstiftung is serving as the Main Partner on the sixth occasion for the Berlinale Series Market & Conference (formerly "Drama Series Days"), a joint initiative of EFM, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents, which will be held at the Zoo Palast from 24-26 February. EFM Director Matthijs Wouter Knol and Petra Müller will open the conference. The Series Market will focus on the screening of around 30 new series productions to international distributors, including the Filmstiftung-backed series "Unsere wunderbaren Jahre" by Elmar Fischer (UFA Fiction, WDR, ARD), among others. International series will be celebrating their world premieres at the Zoo Palast in Berlinale Series as part of the Berlinale Specials section. The German Showcase will include the Filmstiftung-backed true crime series "Höllental" by Marie Wilke (Kundschafter Filmproduktion, ZDF).


13th Reception of the Film Schools at the NRW State Representation
Film students from the seven major German film schools, including students from the ifa international film school cologne and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM), will be in the spotlight for the 13th time with screenings and pitchings of feature films, documentaries and series under the heading of "young blood". They will introduce themselves on Tuesday, 25 February, in North Rhine-Westphalia’s State Representation and give an insight into current projects, with the focus on ¨social sustainability.¨.


IFFF Dortmund | Cologne: "The Other Story: Feminist Scripts in Cinema now"
The International Women’s Film Festival IFFF Dortmund | Cologne is hosting "The Other Story: Feminist Scripts in Cinema now" on Tuesday, February 25th with lectures, discussions and panels. In cooperation with Drehbuchforum Wien and FC Gloria – Frauen Vernetzung Film and supported by the Filmstiftung NRW

Focus stand and NRW reception
The Filmstiftung will again be representing the film region of NRW at the "Focus Germany" stand as part of the European Film Market (EFM), and also host a reception on the first Sunday of the festival together with the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.


All information about the Filmstiftung NRW’s activities at the Berlinale, the funded films and the premieres during the festival can be found at


The films backed by the Filmstiftung at the 70th Berlinale




"Berlin Alexanderplatz"
The new interpretation of Alfred Döblin’s world-famous novel has been directed by Burhan Qurbani. He was also responsible for the screenplay together with Martin Behnke. The film was produced by Sommerhaus Filmproduktion in co-production with Lemming Film (NL) and with participation from the broadcasters ZDF and Arte. The Filmstiftung backed the film with 250.000 Euros, with additional support coming from MBB, MFG, FFA, BKM, DFFF, and Eurimages. The cast of Welket Bungué, Albrecht Schuch, Jella Haase, Joachim Król, Anabelle Mandeng and Richard Fouofié Djimeli also shot in NRW. Entertainment One Germany will release "Berlin Alexanderplatz" in German cinemas on April 16, 2020, with Beta Cinema handling world sales.
Synopsis: On the crossing escaping from Africa to Europe, the boat Francis is travelling on is caught in a storm. He swears that he wants to be a good and decent man when he is rescued, and his prayers are answered. Now it is up to him to keep his oath. His path leads him to Germany where he strives to lead an honest life. But soon he meets the dubious German drug dealer Reinhold and the lives of the two men come together into one dark shared destiny. One day, Francis meets Mieze and falls head over heels in love. But Reinhold does not let him out of his clutches.


Christian Petzold directed "Undine" based on his own script, with most of the principal photography in NRW and Berlin. Paula Beer, Jacob Matschenz and Franz Rogowski lead the cast. The co-production between Schramm Film Koerner & Weber and Les Films du Losange, with the participation of broadcasters ZDF and Arte, will be released by distributor Piffl Medien on 26 March. The Filmstiftung supported the project with 180,000 Euros, with additional funding coming from MBB, FFA, BKM and DFFF. The drama centres on Undine, who works as a city guide in Berlin. When her boyfriend leaves her, the curse of the old myth catches up with her. Undine must kill the man who betrays her and return to the water. She resists her fate and meets the industrial diver Christoph, with whom she falls in love. But Christoph senses that Undine is running away from something. Undine must face the curse. "Undine" is a modern fairy tale in a disenchanted world, the story of a love between life and death.




The film "Orphea" is a cooperation between the German filmmaker Alexander Kluge and the Filipino filmmaker Khavn De La Cruz. The music film focuses on Lilith Stangenberg as Orphea. Cologne-based Rapid Eye Movies co-produced with Kairos Film. The Filmstiftung supported the project with 70,000 euros. The ancient myth of the musician Orpheus, who wants to bring his beloved back from the underworld and defeat the hellhound with the power of music, is more than 2,000 years old. The film is based on the consideration that Orpheus could not really bring his Eurydice back to daylight in all the repetitions of this myth, and risks changing gender. Maybe an Orphea can actually bring her beloved out of hell. In Manila, Khavn’s home, Lilith Stangenberg goes through a hell. While she is passionately searching for her Eurydiko, he is already hot on her heels. At the same time in Central Europe: Orphea works "in the name of the Revolution" not only for the liberation of her beloved, but for the return of all the dead. This utopia is just as much a part of Silicon Valley today as when it once belonged to the programme of the 1917 revolution.


Perspektive Deutsches Kino


"Kids Run" – opening film
Barbara Ott, who already turned heads with her graduation film "Sunny" and won the First Steps
Award, celebrates a world premiere with her debut feature in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino. Flare Film co-produced with Storming Donkey Productions and TAB – The Beauty Aside with the participation of broadcaster ZDF and was backed by the Filmstiftung with 400,000 Euros, with additional funding coming from BKM and DFFF. Jannis Niewöhner, Lena Tronina, Eline Doenst, Giuseppe Bonvissuto, Carol Schuler, Sascha Geršak and Oliver Konietzny appeared in front of the camera. The bulk of the shooting was in Cologne and the surrounding area. Synopsis: Andi, a father of three unable to cope, lives as a day labourer in constant financial difficulties and simply can’t control his aggression which push him from one predicament into the next. In fact, he just wants to have his ex-girlfriend Sonja back. But she has a new boyfriend and threatens to deprive him of his daughter – shouls Andi not manage to pay back the money he owes her and her boyfriend within a few weeks. When Andi realises what is at stake, he decides to fight: for a few thousand, for the love of his children and, not least of all, for his simple right to remain her father.


"Sisters Apart"
"Sisters Apart" was produced as a co-production of Pallas Film with Cologne’s Match Factory and View Master Films (GRC) with the participation of broadcasters ZDF and Arte. The Match Factory is handling world sales. Almila Bagriacik, Zübeyde Bulut, Maryam Boubani, Christoph Letkowski and Gonca de Haas are among the cast in Daphne Charizani’s drama, with some of the shooting also taking place in NRW. The Filmstiftung supported the production with 350,000 Euros, additonal funding came from FFHSH and DFFF. Synopsis: Rojda, born in Kurdistan, is a soldier in the German army. When her mother flees Iraq and her sister goes there, Rojda finds herself as a Bundeswehr soldier in her old home country, in the midst of an armed conflict, and has to make a decision.




Visar Morina’s Filmstiftung-backed drama "Exile" has been invited to screen in the Panorama section. The film had its world premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 35th Sundance Film Festival. Morina, a graduate of Cologne’s Academy of Media Arts, was awarded the German Screenplay Prize for his script in 2018. The Filmstiftung had already development funding of 20,000 Euros to the production company Komplizen Film for ¨Exile¨ at the end of 2017. At the beginning of 2018, it supported the film’s shoot with production funding of 600,000 Euros, with additional support coming from MBB, DFFF, BKM and Eurimages. Synopsis: Xhafer, a pharmaceutical engineer, feels discriminated against and bullied at work. He plunges into an identity crisis. Komplizen Film co-produced with Frakas Productions, Ikone Studio, WDR, Arte, VOO and BeTV. Mišel Matičević, Sandra Hüller, Rainer Bock and Thomas Mraz star in the lead roles. It was shot entirely in Cologne and the surrounding area over a total of 41 days.

"One of These Days"
Bastian Günther directed the drama "One of These Days" from his own screenplay. Flare Film co-produced with Green Elephant Films (USA) and with the participation of broadcasters HR, SR and Arte. Weltkino will be releasing the film in German cinemas, The Match Factory is handling world sales. The Filmstiftung allocated 200,000 Euros, with additional funding coming from MBB, BKM, FFA and DFFF. The cast – consisting of Carrie Preston, Joe Cole, Callie Hernandez, Bill Callahan, Jessie Boyd, and others – tells the story of an annual competition – Hands On – where one can win a pick-up truck. The competition in a small US town is a welcome distraction for the spectators and a chance of a lifetime for the participants. But who can hold out the longest without losing their mind?


Panorama Documents


"Schlingensief – A Voice That Shook That Silence"
Bettina Böhler assembles partially unpublished and newly digitized archive and film material in her directorial debut ¨Schlingensief – A Voice That Shook The Silence¨ to create a documentary about the life and work of the artist Christoph Schlingensief, who died in 2010, and his influence on the political discourse. The portrait also fastures Margit Carstensen, Irm Hermann, Alfred Edel, Udo Kier, Sophie Rois, among others. Filmgalerie 451 co-produced the work with the participation of broadcasters RBB and WDR. The Filmstiftung supported the project with 30,000 Euros, with additional backing coming from MBB, BKM and DFFF.




Carmen Losmann’s documentary "Oeconomia" reveals the ¨rules of the game¨ of capitalism and makes visible in an episodic narrative structure that economy only grows and profits are only possible if people get into debt. The film is based on the premise that the economic system evades the understanding of the citizens and often remains little more than a diffuse and unsatisfactory feeling that something is amiss. But what? The film reveals a zero-sum game that places our society and the whole world in the logic of an endlessly continuous increase in capital – whatever the cost. A game that is played to the point of total exhaustion and is perhaps nearing its end. Carmen Losmann received a Gerd Ruge grant from the Filmstiftung in 2012 for the development of ¨Oeconomia¨, the production of Petrolio Film was supported with 200,000 Euros. Neue Visionen will release the film in the cinemas. Losmann’s debut "Work Hard – Play Hard" was awarded the Grimme Prize.


The Lola@Berlinale section of the Berlin Film Festival presents the long-listed productions for the German Film Awards. This year’s line-up includes 19 feature films that have received funding from the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.


All films backed by the Filmstiftung at the 70th Berlinale


  • „Berlin Alexanderplatz“
  • „Undine“


  • „Orphea”


  • „Exile”
  • „One of these days”

Panorama Dokumente

  • „Schlingensief – A Voice That Shook That Silence“

Opening film: Perspektive Deutsches Kino

  • „Kids Run“

Perspektive Deutsches Kino

  • „Sisters Apart“


  • „Oeconomia“

Lola at Berlinale

  • „7500”
  • „Auerhaus”
  • „Deutschstunde”
  • „Gut gegen Nordwind”
  • „Ich war noch niemals in New York”
  • „Lindenberg! Mach dein Ding”
  • „O Beautiful Night”
  • „Bruderliebe“
  • „Cunningham“
  • „Dark Eden“
  • „Die Insel der hungrigen Geister“
  • „Klasse Deutsch“
  • „The Whale and the Raven“
  • „Weil du nur einmal lebst – Die Toten Hosen auf Tour“
  • „Fritzi – eine Wendewundergeschichte“
  • „Die Heinzels – Rückkehr der Heinzelmännchen“
  • „Mein Lotta-Leben – Alles Bingo mit Flamingo!“
  • „TKKG“
  • „Zu weit weg“