Press release: exground filmfest 31 to Open with Philippine Thriller NEOMANILA

Press Release
21 September 2018

exground filmfest 16 – 25 November 2018

exground filmfest 31 to Open with Philippine Thriller NEOMANILA

Country Focus on the Philippines // 3rd Edition of Inmate Jury Award DAS BRETT

The 31st edition of exground filmfest is slated to open with the Philippine neo-noir thriller NEOMANILA on 16 November at 7 pm at Wiesbaden’s Caligari FilmBühne cinema. NEOMANILA’s young creator Mikhail Red (born in 1991) is expected to attend the screening (a German premiere) of his third feature-length film, which tackles the brutal anti-drug policies of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been accused of sponsoring death squads responsible for the murder of suspected narcotics dealers. In Red’s film, a tender, family-like bond grows between contract killer Irma and her understudy, the young orphan Toto – a bond that is at risk of rupturing with their next hit. Both Mikhail Red and his father Raymond Red, a trailblazer for alternative Philippine cinema and “Palme d’or” winner, whose film HIMPAPAWID (MANILA SKIES, 2009) will also be shown at the festival in Wiesbaden this year, are participating in this year’s Country Focus, which is devoted to the extraordinarily vibrant film culture of the Western Pacific island nation.

From 16 to 25 November, exground filmfest will once again welcome numerous international film guests to Wiesbaden, Germany, where they will present around 200 independently produced short and feature-length films to an enthusiastic festival audience. In addition, viewers can look forward to an exciting accompanying programme featuring workshops, exhibitions, parties and panel discussions hosted by traditional festival venues such as Wiesbaden’s Caligari FilmBühne, Murnau-Filmtheater and Kulturpalast, as well as by select arthouse cinemas in the neighbouring cities of Frankfurt am Main and Darmstadt.




First Highlights: Thrills, Political Satire and a Transgender Ballerina

The US-American production UNDER THE SILVER LAKE by David Robert Mitchell has already been confirmed for the programme. In Mitchell’s compelling thriller, good-natured though perhaps a bit flaky Sam (Andrew Garfield) becomes enraptured by devastatingly beautiful Sarah when he witnesses her swimming in the pool of his L.A. apartment building complex one evening. When she vanishes without a trace the next morning, Sam sets out in search of her, in the process catching wind of a global conspiracy that has millionaires, celebrities, dog murderers and urban legends all caught up in its tentacles.



A further programme highlight is directorial duo Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s political satire DIAMANTINO, in which the world of an eponymous acclaimed Portuguese football player – who bears an uncanny resemblance to real-life Ronaldo – is shattered when his career ends abruptly. Deprived of the limelight, the former star athlete embarks on a search for meaning, one that brings him face-to-face with refugees, fake nuns, right-wing extremists, gender issues and giant dogs atop pink clouds. This surprise hit in Cannes promises unbridled cinema pleasure with its mash-up mixture of genres and film aesthetics.

The 15th edition of exground youth days will open with the Belgian production GIRL, the debut film from director Lukas Dhont, in which 15-year-old transgender person Lara trains hard to become a ballerina. In a breath-taking performance, dancer and actor Victor Polster embodies the ambitious young transwoman.


German Competition: 3rd Inmate Jury Award DAS BRETT

For the third year in a row, exground filmfest is presenting the inmate jury award DAS BRETT for the best film in the festival’s Made in Germany section. The award includes a cash prize of at least 1,000 euros, sponsored by “Die WERFT”, a non-profit cultural platform operating in Wiesbaden’s primary correctional facility.

Six productions from the German Competition are vying to take home the DAS BRETT award, including Pablo Kaes’ debut film DEVOTION, which will be celebrating its German premiere in Wiesbaden. In the film, couple Julia and Franz are accosted at night out of nowhere in the middle of the street by a group of men. Although on the surface it seems as if nothing deathly serious has occurred, from this point on their relationship is in jeopardy. While Julia struggles to understand why Franz failed to protect her when one of the men attempted to harass her physically, Franz is so ashamed of his reaction that he refuses to talk about the whole affair. In Andreas Goldstein’s feature ADAM & EVELYN, the title characters are in the throes of a very different sort of relationship malaise. The setting: summer 1989. While Adam has made peace with his life in a cosy house of his own in East Germany, there is no doubt in Evelyn’s mind what she wants as soon as the borders open up for real, namely more from life and more from love. The competition for DAS BRETT also showcases the third directorial effort from Ann-Kristin Reyels, WE WERE JUST PLAYING, in which 10-year-old Jona is forced to begin a solitary life in his new home on the German-Czech border. Unhappy, the boy wanders through the woods alone, until he encounters 13-year-old Miro on the other side of the border. Initially impressed by his new companion’s self-assured manner, Jona gradually begins to grasp the reality of the boy’s fate. In addition, the competition for DAS BRETT also features JIBRIL by Henrika Kull, SIRENS by Katinka Narjes and HANNA’S HOMECOMING by Esther Bialas.


Winner Announced in exground Trailer Competition

The trailer for this year’s edition of exground filmfest was the subject of a seminar in the communication design programme at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden. Out of an original five project ideas, three projects were realised during the 2018 summer semester – from which the exground filmfest team ultimately selected a trailer produced by Elisa Cavalli. The other two proposals will however also be shown on the big screen at Caligari FilmBühne in the scope of the opening for exground filmfest 31.

The full programme for exground filmfest 31 will be available online from mid October 2018 at

exground filmfest would like to thank all of its supporters and sponsors.