Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsPressFilmstiftung NRW with 32 supported productions and the fourth „Drama Series Days“ at the 2018 Berlinale

Filmstiftung NRW with 32 supported productions and the fourth „Drama Series Days“ at the 2018 Berlinale

  • Three Competition films: „My Brother’s Name is Robert and He is an Idiot“ („Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot“), „Daughter of Mine“ („Figlia mia“), „The Heiresses“ („Las herederas“)
  • Panorama Special: „Styx“
  • Panorama: „Shut Up and Play The Piano“, „Game Girls“
  • Forum: „Aggregat“, „La Cama“
  • Perspektive Deutsches Kino: „outside“ („draußen“), „Luz“, „Lost Ones“ („Verlorene“)
  • Generation 14plus: „Cobain“, „Retablo“
  • Berlinale Shorts: „Blau“
  • Hommage: „Antichrist“
  • Lola@Berlinale with 17 Filmstiftung-backed films
  • „Drama Series Days“: Filmstiftung and EFM jointly stage fourth edition
  • 68th Berlin Internationale Film Festival from 15 – 25 February

The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW will be represented at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival (15 to 25 February, 2018) in all of the important festival sections with a total of 32 supported productions – including three world premieres in the Competition. In addition, it is a partner for the fourth year in a row for the „Drama Series Days“ industry platform at the European Film Market (EFM). The Filmstiftung will again be representing the film region of NRW at the „Focus Germany“ stand at the EFM. In addition, it will be hosting the traditional NRW Reception on the first festival Sunday with the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

„Three Filmstiftung-backed films in the Competition, a total of 32 in all of the important sections, the film region of NRW will be showing the entire spectrum of its filmmaking activities at this year’s Berlinale. Groundbreaking initiatives for high-end series can also be expected from the Drama Series Days which have the Filmstiftung involved as the Official Partner for the fourth year running“, says Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. „Congratulations to all the producers and creatives from NRW, many thanks to Dieter Kosslick and his team, and every success for the 68th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival. We are looking forward to an open and lively festival with interesting films and just as interesting encounters.“

„My Brother’s Name is Robert and He is an Idiot“ by Philip Gröning, „Daughter of Mine“ by Laura Bispuri and „The Heiresses“  by Marcelo Martinessi are three Filmstiftung-backed productions in the running for the Golden Bear. „Styx“ by Wolfgang Fischer will open the Panorama Special section. „Shut Up and Play the Piano“ by Philipp Jedicke and „Game Girls“ by Alina Skrzeszewska can also be seen in the Panorama. „Aggregat“ by Marie Wilke and „La Cama“ by Mónica Lairana will be shown in the Forum, while the Perspektive Deutsches Kino is screening three films made with funding from NRW: „outside“ by Johanna Sunder-Plassmann and Tama Tobias-Macht, „Luz“ by Tilmann Singer and „Lost Ones“ by Felix Hassenfratz. The competition section Generation 14plus is presenting „Cobain“ by Nanouk Leopold and „Retablo“ by Alvaro Delgado Aparicio, while „Blau“ by David Jansen can be seen in the Berlinale Shorts competition. Furthermore, 17 new Filmstiftung-backed productions can be found in the line-up of the Lola@Berlinale sidebar, including the multiple award-winning drama „In The Fade“ von Fatih Akin, which picked up a Golden Globe last month.

„Drama Series Days“
The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW is also the Official Partner for the fourth edition of the „Drama Series Days“ at the European Film Market (EFM). Launched in 2015, the platform for high-end series is a joint initiative of the EFM, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents. The „Drama Series Days“ are being held this year at the Zoo Palast from February 19 -21. All the conferences and programmes about series have been brought together for the first time under one roof. This will also include the programme of the Berlinale Series with the presentation of gala premieres of new quality series from around the world.

The „Drama Series Days“ will officially be opened on 19.2. by EFM Director Matthijs Wouter Knol and Petra Müller. The conference will begin with a panel with the highly pertinent title of „How to Make Series Travel?“ with contributions from such international industry executives as Sarah Doole (Fremantle Media), Moritz von Kruedener (Beta Film), Rola Bauer (CEO of the Studiocanal subsidiary Tandem Productions) and Ivar Køhn (Head of Drama, NRK). This will be followed by numerous panels and showcases. On Wednesday, February 21, proceedings will be rounded off by the CoPro Series Pitchings of the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

Co-Production Market
36 new feature film projects will come together with international co-production and financing partners from 17 to 21 February at the 15th Berlinale Co-Production Market within the EFM. The selected projects include „Home“ (dir: Franka Potente) by the Cologne-based production company augenschein. Cologne’s Heimatfilm features in the exclusive Company Matching line-up. This year sees two Filmstiftung-backed productions in the Berlinale’s Competition which had been presented as projects at the Co-Production Market in previous years: My Brother’s Name is Robert and He is an Idiot“ by Philip Gröning, „Daughter of Mine“ by Laura Bispuri.

11th Reception of the Film Schools in the Representation of the State of NRW
Students of the ifs international film school cologne and the Academy for Media Arts Cologne (KHM) will be attending the Reception of the German Film Schools at the Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia on 20 February. This will now be the 11th time that film students from the seven major German film schools are coming here to introduce themselves. Screenings and pitchings of feature films, documentaries and series will allow the film students to give a glimpse of current projects.


The NRW films at the Berlinale in details

Competition: „My Brother’s Name is Robert and He is an Idiot“ by Philip Gröning
After his successful documentary „Into Great Silence“ („Die große Stille“) about monks from the Carthusian order, Philip Gröning has made another fiction feature film, „My Brother’s Name is Robert and He is an Idiot“, which was shot in large part in NRW and backed with a total of 457,000 Euros from the Filmstiftung NRW. About the film: summer. An isolated service station in the countryside, surrounded by waving cornfields. Robert and Elena are lying in the grass and preparing themselves for Elena’s A-Level examination in Philosophy. A weekend about time, love, sex and philosophy, two days in the twins' world. Gröning wrote the screenplay with Sabine Timoteo. Josef Mattes, Julia Zange, Urs Jucker, Stefan Konarske, Zita Aretz, Karolina Porcari and Vitus Zeplichal appear in the co-production by Düsseldorf-based Philip Gröning Filmproduktion with L Films (F) and Bavaria Pictures in association with the broadcasters WDR and BR. MFG, BKM, FFA, Eurimages, Minitraité and the DFFF backed the film along with the Filmstiftung NRW.

Competition: „Daughter of Mine“ by Laura Bispuri
Sardinia. A daughter, Vittoria, torn between two mothers: Tina, who raised her with love, and Angelica, the biological mother who instinctively wants her back. Three women grappling with their wounds, feelings and relationships to one another. A story about an imperfect motherhood and a lost childhood. The cast includes Valeria Golino, Alba Rohrwacher, Sara Casu and Udo Kier. The film was produced by Vivo Film (I) and Colorado Film (I), Bord Cadre Film (CH) and Cologne’s Match Factory in co-production with ZDF – Das kleine Fernsehspiel and Arte. The Filmstiftung backed the film with 125,000 Euros. World sales are being handled by The Match Factory. A major part of the postproduction – including the sound design – was done in Cologne. Laura Bispuri had previously taken part in the competition for the Golden Bear and the First Feature Award at the 2015 Berlinale with her Filmstiftung-backed debut „Vergine giurata“ („Sworn Virgin“). Match Factory Productions had also co-produced this film, with The Match Factory handling world sales.

The Heiresses“ by Marcelo Martinessi
Chela and Chiquita have been living together in Asunción, Paraguay, for more than 30 years. Both of them come from well-off families and have never had to work themselves. But the money has now all been used up and they are forced to sell parts of their inheritance. When Chiquita ends up in prison after being prosecuted for fraud, Chela also has to face the new reality. She climbs behind the wheel of their car for the first time in years and starts running an informal taxi service for rich elderly women from their neighbourhood. She meets the younger Angy on one of her trips. The two women connect in a relationship that is both invigorating and refreshing for Chela. In the end, Chela breaks out of her previously narrow world and sets off on her own little journey. „The Heiresses“ is a production of Babosa Cine (PRY), Mutante Cine (URY), Norsk Filmproduksjon (NOR) and Esquina Producoes (BRA) in co-production with Cologne-based Pandora Film with participation from ZDF/ARTE and the World Cinema Fund. „The Heiresses“ has been nominated at the 2018 Berlinale for the GWFF Best First Feature Award which is sponsored by the Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten. The winning film will be announced at the awards ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on 24 February.

Panorama Special: „Styx“ by Wolfgang Fischer
Rike, a 40-year-old doctor from Europe embodies a typical Western model of happiness and success. She is educated, confident, determined and committed. We see Rike’s everyday life as an emergency doctor in Cologne before she begins her holiday in Gibraltar. She sails out to sea alone in her sailing boat. Her goal: Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean. But her dream holiday is brought to an abrupt end when, after a storm, she finds herself on the high seas close to an overloaded stricken fishing boat. Around a hundred people are about to drown. Rike initially follows maritime law and radios for help. But when her calls for help remained unanswered, time starts running out, and rescue by third parties appears unlikely, she makes a momentous decision.  Susanne Wolff and Gedion Wekesa Oduor play the leads. „Styx“ is a production by Schiwago Film in co-production with Vienna-based Amour Fou Filmproduktion and participation from the broadcasters WDR and Arte G.E.I.E.. Distribution will be handled by Zorro Film, and world sales by Beta Cinema. The Filmstiftung NRW backed the project with 500,000 Euros, with additional backing from Eurimages, the Austrian Film Institute (ÖFI), DFFF, BKM, MBB and FFA.

Panorama: „Shut Up and Play the Piano” by Philipp Jedicke
Chilly Gonzales is an award-winning composer, piano virtuoso and entertainer. In his concerts it is perfectly natural that he has chamber music appearing alongside rap and electronic music. As an eccentric musician, he is a source of imspiration for such diverse artists as Feist, Jarvis Cocker, Peaches, Daft Punk and Drake. „Shut Up And Play The Piano“ follows Gonzales from his native country of Canada to the Berlin underground of the late 90s and via Paris to the concert houses of the present day. He delves deep into Gonzales' stage persona where self-doubt and megalomania are two sides of the same coin. The film by Philipp Jedicke combines previously unpublished material from Gonzales' video archive with newly shot interviews and re-enacted scenes. The film is a production of Cologne’s Rapid Eye Movies in association with the broadcasters ZDF and Arte and was backed by the Filmstiftung NRW with 90,000 Euros.

Panorama: „Game Girls“ by Alina Skrzeszewska
„Game Girls“ shows the lovers Teri and Tiahna, their dreams and their day-to-day life in Los Angeles' Skid Row. The director Alina Skrzeszewska follows them in the microcosm of the „homeless capital“ of the USA on their long road which may lead to a new life or, alternatively, to a new chapter of violence, exploitation and drugs. The documentary was produced by Blinker Filmproduktion together with Films de Force Majeure and ZDF in cooperation with Arte. The Filmstiftung supported the postproduction with 20,000 Euros. The development and production were supported by the French film funding bodies, MEDIA and Eurimages. World sales are being handled by Doc & Film International. „Game Girls“ is also nominated at the 2018 Berlinale for the Glashütte Original Documentary Prize. This year’s jury includes the German director and artist Ulrike Ottinger who was herself invited with her films to the Berlinale on many occasions.

Forum: „Aggregat“ von Marie Wilke
„Aggregat“ follows the work of German journalists and politicians. In a time of transition: the refugee crisis and right-wing populism test the democratic system. The film’s locations were in editorial offices, the Federal Press Conference building and conference rooms in the Bundestag, as well as in allotments, market squares and restaurants. The film shows fragments of a country undergoing a transition: in an internal event, SPD deputies practise dealing with right-wing populist statements. Politics are re-enacted in an information tent of the German Bundestag. Journalists of the Bild-Zeitung and the taz discuss the issues of the day in editorial meetings. TV reporters produce a TV feature about the identitarian movement. A crowd shout: national traitor, liar press. „Aggregat“ is a collections of images, impressions and fragments from the political and media reality of German democracy. The documentary by Marie Wilke was produced by Kundschafter Filmproduktion together with the „Das kleine Fernsehspiel“ unit of ZDF and backed by the Filmstiftung NRW with 50,000 Euros, with additional funding coming from MDM, DFFF, nordmedia and MBB. Zorro Film will release the production theatrically. Marie Wilke received the Filmstiftung NRW’s Gerd Ruge Scholarship in 2013.

Forum: „The Bed“ von Mónica Lairana
The drama shows Jorge and Mabel spending their last days together as a couple. The family home is up for sale and they have to clear up and divide all their material belongings before the removals van arrives. They have sex, cry, laugh, eat and drink with one another. At the same time, they dissolve the household and, in the middle of the ups and downs of their emotions, they slowly bid farewell to one another. Mónica Lairana cast Alejo Mango and Sandra Sandrini as the couple who part after 30 years of marriage. The production by Gema Films (AR) was made as a co-production with Rio Abajo Producciones (AR), 3 Moinhos (BRA), Topkapi Films (NL) and Cologne’s Sutor Kolonko. The Filmstiftung NRW supported the production with 50,000 Euros, with additional backing from INCAA, Ancine, Hubert Bals Fund Development & Plus, and the World Cinema Fund. „The Bed“ is also nominated for the GWFF First Feature Award.

Generation 14plus: „Cobain“ by Nanouk Leopold
„Cobain“ is a production by Circe Films (NL) in co-production with Cologne-based Coin Film, A Private View (B) and The Film Kitchen (NL), in association with the broadcaster WDR. The story: 15-year-old Cobain wants to persuade his drug addict mother to detox after he finds out that she is pregnant again. He then tries to save his unborn brother because Mia rejects his help outright. Bas Keizer, Naomi Velissariou, Wim Opbrouck and Dana Marineci are cast in the lead roles. The Filmstiftung NRW supported the production with 180,000 Euros, with additional backing from Eurimages. W-film will release „Cobain“ in the cinemas on 13 September.

Generation 14plus: Retablo“ by Alvaro Delgado Aparicio
„Retablo“ is the debut of the Peruvian director Alvaro Delgado Aparicio. It tells the story of the 14-year-old Segundo who lives with his parents in a village high up in the mountains of Peru. His father Noé is a respected artist and Segundo’s role model. He makes altar retables, lavishly decorated shrines for church and house altars, and introduces his son to this craft. But their close relationship starts showing cracks because Noé has a dark secret. The film looks with no mercy and in saturated colours behind the facade of seemingly intact village community where patriarchal rules and homophobic views are enforced with relentless force. The film presents a visually stunning panorama of a world where a young artist searches to find his place. The leads are taken by Magaly Solier and Amiel Cayo. „Retablo“ is a production of Dortmund-based Summerhill Lights (now Catch of the Day Films) in co-production with Siri Producciones (PER) and Dag Hoel Film (NOR). The Filmstiftung backed the postproduction with 24,500 Euros.

Perspektive Deutsches Kino: „outside“ by Johanna Sunder-Plassmann and Tama Tobias-Macht
„outside“ portray four people who live on the street in Cologne. Based on personal objects loaded with memories and emotions, the film opens a door to a world which would normally be closed. The film not only encourages one to see things in a different light, but also shows four homeless people who have retained their pride and dignity. The production by Cologne’s unafilm in association with the broadcasters WDR and Arte was shot entirely in NRW and supported by the Filmstiftung NRW with 150,000 Euros. Real Fiction from Cologne will be serving as the film’s distributor. „draußen“ will be competing for the Glashütte Original Documentary Prize at the 2018 Berlinale.

Perspektive Deutsches Kino: „Luz“ by Tilmann Singer
Director Tilman Singer and production designer Dario Méndez Acosta are completing their studies at the Academy for Media Arts in Cologne (KHM) with the horror love story „Luz“. Luz, a young taxi-driver of Latin American descent, staggers with her last ounce of strength into a police station. A demon is hot on her heels and determined to be together with his beloved at long last. Tilman Singer’s thriller is shot on 16mm and plays with the spectator’s perceptions. KHM graduate Paul Faltz is responsible for the visual design ad cinematography. The lead roles were taken by Luana Velis, Jan Bluthardt and Julia Riedler, the Filmstiftung NRW backed the production of the KHM graduates with 20,000 Euros. „Luz“ is also nominated for the GWFF First Feature Award.

Perspektive Deutsches Kino: „Lost Ones“ by Felix Hassenfratz
Maria Dragus, Anna Bachmann, Clemens Schick and Enno Trebs play the leads in „Lost Ones“ by Felix Hassenfratz. The film tells the story of Maria is who falls in love for the first time – with Valentin, a young itinerant journeyman carpenter, who takes up employment in the family’s sawmill. Maria is powerless in the face of fate. Hannah, her younger sister, discovers the dark secret and wants to free her sister by hook or by crook – and, if necessary, also against her sister’s will. „Lost Ones“, the feature debut of Felix Hassenfratz, is a production by Viafilm in co-production with Rat Pack Filmproduktion in association with the broadcasters SWR and WDR and to be distributed by W-film. The Filmstiftung NRW supported the screenplay, production and distribution with 181,000 Euros, with additional backing from MFG and DFFF.

Berlinale Shorts: „Blau“ by David Jansen
The ocean. The expanse. A traumatised whale calf. It constantly gets into dangerous situations as it looks for new companions. Despite its irrepressible survival instinct, it is doomed from the outset. „Blau“ is the name of the new short by David Jansen, produced by the hi&Moinsen Kollektiv. The Filmstiftung backed the project with 25,000 Euros. David Jansen had already participated in the Berlinale Shorts in 2015 with his short „Däwit“.

Homage for Willem Dafoe
This year will see the Berlinale presenting the actor Willem Dafoe with an Honorary Golden Bear and paying tribute to his work with an homage. Apart from appearing in major American mainstream and arthouse productions, he has also consistently played an important role in European films. He worked with the Filmstiftung on Paul Schrader’s „Adam Resurrected“ as well as Lars von Trier’s „Antichrist“, „Nymphomaniac 2“ and „Manderlay“. The homage will include „Antichrist“, among others.

The Lola@Berlinale section presents productions that are in the preselection line-up for the German Film Awards. This year includes 17 films which received funding from the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.

Focus stand and NRW Reception
Members of staff from the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW will be at the European Film Market to provide information about funding opportunities in NRW. The Filmstiftung will have a presence at the stand of Focus Germany, the joint venture of the eight major German film funders. In addition, the NRW Reception of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW will be held in the State Representation during the festival.

Extensive reports and interviews on the NRW films in the official Berlinale sections are featured in the forthcoming edition of „Film und Medien NRW – Das Magazin“, which will appear for the film festival. It will be available to download at the website of the Filmstiftung NRW from 13 February.

All information about the Berlinale activities of the Filmstiftung NRW, the supported films and the premieres during the festival can be found at (currently just in German)