Prize Winners at exground filmfest 32
Preisträger*innen, Preisstifter und exground-Team 2019

PINKY PROMISE wins German Short Film Competition // Croatian production IMBUED LIFE named Best International Short Film // YOUR TURN, THE ORPHANAGE and PAPICHA receive awards at exground youth days // 4th annual inmate jury award DAS BRETT goes to RELATIVITY

This past Sunday evening, exground filmfest 32 successfully concluded its ten-day celebration of independent cinema with a gala awards ceremony at Wiesbaden’s Caligari FilmBühne. Following the screening for the festival’s German Short Film Competition, cash and non-cash prizes valued at over 20,000 euros were presented in the scope of seven competition sections. High turnout, including around 100 film industry guests from Germany and abroad and scores of festival attendees, served as a renewed testament to the immense popularity of the festival both within and beyond the city limits of Hessen’s state capital. 

Award winners in the German Short Film Competition: winner Sophie Linnenbaum (PINKY PROMISE),  2nd prize for EARLY BIRDS by Benjamin Kempf-Siemens and Rainer Binz (ri.), 3rd prize for Felix Karolus (MENUETT) / Photo: Peter R. Fischer

German Short Film Competition

Following the screening of the German Short Film Competition, audience members voted for their favourites, ultimately selecting PINKY PROMISE by Sophie Linnenbaum (who placed 2nd in 2018 with RIEN NE VA PLUS) as the winning film. First prize, which includes 3,000 euros in prize money, was once again endowed by the State Capital of Wiesbaden. Second prize went to EARLY BIRDS by Benjamin Kempf-Siemens and Rainer Binz, who also took home 2,000 euros in prize money, endowed by the Wiesbaden-based company Magenta TV Fernsehproduktionsgesellschaft. Felix Karolus was honoured with third prize (1,000 euros, endowed by the State Capital of Wiesbaden) for his film MENUETT.

For EARLY BIRDS, Benjamin Kempf-Siemens and Rainer Binz also received a film equipment rental package valued at 2,000 euros from Pille Filmgeräteverleih for the production of their next film. The competition’s other non-cash prize, a “grading special” package from Magenta TV Fernsehproduktionsgesellschaft valued at 1,500 euros, went to JUPITER by Benjamin Pfohl.

International Short Film Competition: Director Thomas Johnson (middle) and co-director Ivana Bošnjak received the award for their film IMBUED LIFE, chosen by the international jury (Brunna Laboissière and Burkhard Althoff). / Photo: Peter R. Fischer

International Short Film Competition

In the International Short Film Competition, the international jury chose the Croatian production IMBUED LIFE [UDAHNUT ZIVOT] by Ivana Bošnjak and Thomas Johnson as the winning film and handed over prize money of 2,000 euros, endowed by the exground Circle of Friends. Jury members Burkhard Althoff (editor at “Das kleine Fernsehspiel” from Mainz), Christy Garland (documentary filmmaker from Toronto/Canada) and Brunna Laboissière (director and producer from São Paulo/Brazil) explained their choice with the following statement: 

“The Award for Best International Short Film goes to IMBUED LIFE. This poetic animated film manages to create fascinating spaces for association and interpretation with highest quality cinematography. By blurring the boundaries between the perception and consciousness of humans and animals, the film addresses in a surprising and original manner one of humanity’s most pressing questions: our problematic relationship to nature. In doing so, IMBUED LIFE creates images that continue to affect us long after the film has concluded.”

A Special Mention was given to WOMAN WITHOUT A CHILD [MUJER SIN HIJO] by Eva Saiz from Spain. The jury also released a statement explaining this choice:

“The jury would like to give a Special Mention to WOMAN WITHOUT A CHILD. Humorously and laconically, the film tells the story of a middle-aged woman living on her own who rents out a room to a young man. With precise staging and great love for her characters, the director brings us very close to her unusual protagonist while also advocating for the possibility of unusual friendships. We would have loved to move in too.”

DAS BRETT – Inmate Jury Award

For the fourth year running, the award DAS BRETT was presented in the “Made in Germany” section by a jury composed of inmates of Wiesbaden’s primary correctional facility. From the seven nominated productions, the five jurors chose RELATIVITY by Mariko Minoguchi:

“The inmate jury from the JVA Wiesbaden correctional facility has chosen to award DAS BRETT 2019 to RELATIVITY by Mariko Minoguchi. The film touches on a whole range of emotions, though always with great sensitivity and never with a heavy hand. It has action, it has drama, it has love, it has grief, it even has a little bit of eroticism, and still it manages to combine them into one seamless piece. The five jurors were impressed by the distinctive cinematography and excellent performances – from the leads actors down to the smallest supporting roles. The film alternates masterfully between different timeframes and moods, and the camera captures the characters in such a way that the viewer can get very close to them without it becoming intrusive. Above all, however, the film doesn’t take the easy route when it comes to the question of what a perpetrator really is.” 

The award is endowed with prize money of 1,500 euros, sponsored by “Die WERFT – Kulturbühne in der JVA Wiesbaden”, a cultural organisation operating in Wiesbaden’s correctional facility.

The jurors gave a Special Mention to the production HEAD BURST by Savaş Ceviz:

“The Special Mention goes to HEAD BURST by Savaş Ceviz, which is also devoted to the difficult question of what it means to be a perpetrator. As the final decision was very close, it quickly became clear that this film also deserved to be singled out for praise. The jury was fond of the ‘disgusting tension’, the great acting performances and the fact that it had never seen anything quiet like it before. Above all, the jury was impressed by the courage of the film, which relates the story of a paedophilic man without causing the viewer to turn away instantly.”

exground youth days

The youth jury in the International Youth Film Competition gave the award for the best feature-length film this year, in a tie, to YOUR TURN [ESPERO TUA (RE)VOLTA] by Eliza Capai and THE ORPHANAGE [PARWARESHGAH] by Shahrbanoo Sadat:

“For us, the film YOUR TURN earned first place for its highly compelling depiction of the student protests in Brazil. The documentary is electrifying and very affecting with its quick cuts and personal stories. The director transports viewers to the midst of the protests as the narrative unfolds from the perspective of those involved. The film manages to capture the spirit of a generation in which activism has once again become the lived reality of many individuals.

THE ORPHANAGE deals with an orphaned Afghani boy growing up in the 1980s who is taken off the street and placed in a communist orphanage. In his time there, he goes through a lot of traumatising experiences that have a lasting influence on him. We liked the story of the boy who dreams of Bollywood films who is thrown into harsh reality as the political situation escalates and he experiences its impact first-hand. The lives of children in war-torn regions like this represent a rather unpopular but highly interesting subject – especially also considering the political era in which the story takes place.”

The accompanying prize money of 2,500 euros was endowed by the State Capital of Wiesbaden.

In addition, the youth jury chose TRAIN ROBBERS [TOGRØVERE)] by Martin A. Walther as the best short film at exground youth days. The 500 euros in prize money were endowed by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. The jury gave a Special Mention to YOUNGVODKA by Léa Hall.

As best feature-length film, the audience chose PAPICHA by Mounia Meddour, who receives 1,000 euros, endowed by the State Capital of Wiesbaden.

In the Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition, HEIMAT? by the team from Diakonisches Werk Rheingau-Taunus came out on top in the audience voting. First prize comes with 500 euros, endowed by the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts. Second prize went to SCHRITTE IN DIE ZUKUNFT by Lena Krüger-Lorenzen, who receives a gift certificate to the certified Apple dealer ergo sum valued at 150 euros.

Director Alexander Conrads won the audience award for his film LIONESS at the Wiesbaden Special – Short Film Competition. / Photo: Peter R. Fischer

Wiesbaden Special – Short Film Competition

In the audience competition for the best short film with a connection to Wiesbaden, Alexander Conrads’ LIONESS came up victorious. In addition to prize money of 500 euros, endowed by festival media partner Wiesbadener Kurier, the winner also receives the non-cash prize package “Film Sound Special”, valued at 2,000 euros, which gives the artist two days to take advantage of the technology and know-how of the Wiesbaden sound production studio klangBezirk to produce the final audio mix of his next film.

exground Gong Show

Trash is cult – the participants in the legendary exground Gong Show have proven the statement once again this year. The deserving winners of 50 euros in prize money and the Golden exground Cucumber are Patrik Pezelj and Marius Hofmann for their sensational trailer spoof EXGROUND 32 TRAILER (FREI VON PUNKT PUNKT PUNKT)

Save the date: exground filmfest 33 will take place from 13 to 22 November 2020.