Filmstiftung-supported "Toni Erdmann" wins FIPRESCI Critics-Award
On Saturday, 21. May, the International Society of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) announced awards in three categories, with its award for the best film in the main competition going to Maren Ade’s family dramedy “Toni Erdmann”. The drama had been the first German film for eight years to celebrate its world premiere in the Competition of the Festival de Cannes and was enthusiastically received by the audience, critics and the industry. Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek made a convincing impact in the lead roles, and world sales were handled by Cologne’s The Match Factory. Since its premiere on the previous Saturday, the film has already been sold to over 20 territories and regions. At Sundays great award ceremony in Cannes however "Toni Erdmann" came away emtpy-handed.
The drama was made by Komplizen Film in co-production with coop99 Filmproduktion and Missing Link Films with participation from broadcasters SWR, WDR and ARTE. The director was Maren Ade, who also wrote the screenplay. Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonischek and Michael Wittenborn can be seen in the leads. Maren Ade had won the Silver Bear at the 2009 Berlinale for her film „Everyone Else“ („Alle anderen“) with Lars Eidinger, Sandra Hüller appeared in such Filmstiftungs-backed productions as „Lose My Self“ and „Above Us Only Sky“. Peter Simonischek („Oktober November“, „Der kleine Diktator“, „Hierankl“) is Toni Erdmann and he is Winfried, 65, a music teacher with a strong tendency for joking around, who lives together with his old dog. His daughter Ines (Sandra Hüller) is a career woman who travels around the world to optimise companies. The father and daughter couldn’t be any more different from one another: he the sensitive, social romantic ex-hippy, she the rational management consultant, who tries to get promoted in a major outsourcing project in Romania and establish herself in a male domain. As Winfried doesn’t see much of his daughter at home, he decides following the death of his dog to visit her on a spontaneous whim. Instead of announcing that he is coming, he just surprises her with fake teeth and sunglasses in the lobby of her company. Ines tries to put on a brave face and drags her father along in his old jeans to business receptions and massage appointments, But the visit doesn’t result in a rapprochement. Winfried gets on his daughter’s nerves with weak jokes and underlying criticism about her success-oriented life between meetings, hotel bars and countless emails. Father and daughter are stuck in an impasse, and it all ends with a big falling out. But, instead of leaving Bucharest as planned, he surprises Ines with a radical transformation into Toni Erdmann, his dazzling alter ego. With crooked teeth, an ill-fitting suit and wig, Toni is wilder and bolder than Winfried and doesn’t mince his words. Toni keeps interfering in Ines‘ professional life by claiming that he is her boss’s coach and beguns running amok with jokes coming fast and furious. Surprisingly, Ines takes up the gauntlet, and father and daughter make an amazing discovery: the harder they push, the closer they get to one another. Part of the film was shot in Aachen and neighbouring Langerwehe, with Bucharest serving as another location. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed the film with 700,000 Euros, further support came from MBB, FFHSH, FFF, DFFF, FFA, BKM, ÖFI, Filmstandort Austria, Media and Eurimages. NFP will be releasing the film theatrically on July 14th, Cologne’s The Match Factory is handling world sales.