Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsPressFilmstiftung-backed production „Never Look Away“ is German Oscar candidate

Filmstiftung-backed production „Never Look Away“ is German Oscar candidate

  • Independent jury of German Films has just made its decision
  • Oscar winner Henckel von Donnersmarck is back in the race for Germany in the „Best Foreign Language Film“ category
  • Oscar nominations follow on 22 January, 2019, Oscars ceremony on 24 February, 2019

The Filmstiftung-backed drama „Never Look Away“ by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is the German candidate for the Oscar in the „Best Foreign Language Film“ category. This was announced by an independent expert jury of German Films in Munich today (Thursday). German Films will now submit the Wiedemann & Berg Film production as the German Oscar entry to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The five nominated films will be unveiled by the Academy on 22 January, 2019. This would be Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s second Academy Award: he won the so-called „Foreign Language Oscar“ for „The Lives of Others“ in 2007. „Never Look Away“ is celebrating its world premiere next week in the competition at the 75th  Venice International Film Festival which began yesterday. The film is also being shown as a Special Presentation at the Toronto Film Festival.

„Congratulations to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg and the whole crew! We are keeping our fingers crossed for the next selection rounds and hope that there will be a second Oscar for von Donnersmark at the end of the journey“, says Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. „We regard the jury decision as a good omen for the world premiere in Venice. With the subsequent Special Presentation in Toronto, we hope that the way has now been paved to the Oscars.“

Jury statement
The jury with  jury spokesman Moritz Hemminger (Association of German Film Exporters) explained the reasons for its decision: „With great epic breadth, 'Never Look Away' tells a moving story of an artist’s fate in post-war Germany, at a time when it was difficult to find one’s own artistic language. Supported by a terrific ensemble of actors, the film has great poetic moments and poses an essential question which is still relevant today: finding one’s own stance.“

About the film:
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck wrote the screenplay and directed. The leads are taken by Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, Paula Beer, Saskia Rosendahl and Ina Weisse. The film is a production of Wiedemann & Berg Film with Pergamon Film in association with the broadcasters ARD Degeto and Bayerischer Rundfunk. Wiedemann & Berg had already produced Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Oscar-winning work „The Lives Of Others“. The shooting took place at various locations including at Düsseldorf’s Art Academy in NRW. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany is responsible for theatrical distribution, with Beta Cinema handling world sales. Sony Pictures Classics will release the film in US cinemas. The Filmstiftung NRW supported the production with 400,000 Euros. Additional funding came from MBB, FFA, FFF Bayern, MDM and DFFF.

About the film: Inspired by true events, the drama passes through three periods of German history to recount the story of the dramatic life of the artist Kurt (Tom Schilling), his passionate love for Elisabeth (Paula Beer), and the far-reaching relationship with his devious father-in-law Professor Seeband (Sebastian Koch) whose hand in fateful events in Kurt’s life ultimately comes to light in his art and paintings. „Never Look Away“ celebrated its world premiere at the forthcoming 75th Venice Film Festival. „Never Look Away“ was photographed by the legendary DoP Caleb Deschanel who was nominated for an Oscar on five previous occasions.

An independent expert jury, which convenes in Munich on the initiative of German Films, names the German candidate for the „Foreign Language Oscar“. The selection committee consisted of representatives from eight different associations and institutions active in the field of cinema. 2017 and 2018 had already seen Filmstiftung-backed films – „In The Fade“ by Fatih Akin and „Toni Erdmann“ by Maren Ade – being selected by the jury . The nominees will be announced on 22 January, 2019, with the awards ceremony being held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, 24 February, 2019.