Press Releases

Press Release 27 November 2023

exground filmfest 36: Presenting This Year’s Prize Winners

CORRUPTION ON EARTH Wins GERMAN SHORT FILM COMPETITION // LOVE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT is Best International Short Film // LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT Wins the Main Award at exground youth days // Audience Award DAS BRETT in the MADE IN GERMANY Section Goes to LASVEGAS

This past Sunday evening, in the scope of a festive awards ceremony, the winners of the competitions at exground filmfest 36 were announced. Following the final tallying of the audience voting, the awards ceremony kicked off at Caligari FilmBühne with film guests, jury members and awards presenters in attendance. In total, exground filmfest awarded cash and non-cash prizes valued at nearly 20,000 euros.

German Short Film Competition

This year’s first prize in the German Short Film Competition, selected by the audience, went to CORRUPTION ON EARTH by Omid Mirnour, who also took home the jury prize of EUR 1,500 for “One day of colour grading for a short film project” from Magenta TV Fernsehproduktionsgesellschaft. The award is endowed with prize money in the amount of 3,000 euros, sponsored by the State Capital of Wiesbaden. Second place, endowed with 2,000 euros by by Magenta TV Fernsehproduktionsgesellschaft, went to FIFTEEN MINUTES by Sejad Ademaj, while third prize, also endowed with 1,000 euros in prize money by the State Capital of Wiesbaden, went to GRANICA by Joshua Neubert.

Omid Mirnour, director of CORRUPTION ON EARTH

Feature Film Competition for DAS BRETT in the MADE IN GERMANY Section

In the feature film competition MADE IN GERMANY, the audience selected LASVEGAS by Kolja Malik to receive DAS BRETT and 3,000 euros in prize money.

International Short Film Competition 

In the International Short Film Competition, the International Jury selected LOVE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT by Yotam Knispel from Israel as the winning film. The prize money in the amount of 2,000 euros is sponsored by the exground Circle of Friends. Jury members Maria Weyer, Roberto Doveris and Martin Scheuring explained their choice with the following words:

“The film manages beautifully to get the audience intrigued with the story so deeply through a very well-built script. As we get involved with the main character, we keep trying to figure out what is going on in this journey of moral tension between love and social responsibility. The film exhibits such a well-crafted mise-en-scène, the ensemble cast ends up being very good, every level is convincing. We celebrate the many layers of meaning and options for reading the film, which leaves us with a film that is very open for discussion. It sticks with you a long time after watching it.”

Yotam Knispel, director of LOVE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT

The jury commented on their Special Mention for WHERE I LIVE by Susi Jirkuff from Austria with the following statement: “The Special Mention goes to WHERE I LIVE (WO ICH WOHNE) by Susi Jirkuff, a film that portrays a very relatable experience of fear, suddenly becoming real. It takes you on a very unconventional journey, through rough animation, that becomes stronger and stronger, and catches your attention with a very sober, kind of neutral and calm voice in the first-person. This surreal kind of fairy tale shows innovatively that there is no way out of the downward social spiral where there are no happy endings.”

exground youth days – International Youth Film Competition 

The Youth Jury in the International Youth Film Competition gave this year’s Award for best Feature Film to LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT by Finnish director Inari Niemi:

“The film manages to relate the typical themes of coming-of-age genres, like first true love, loss and problems within the family, in an original and innovative way. This is especially evident in the Chernobyl symbolism, the haunting soundtrack and the nostalgic flashbacks.

The use of lighting is also brilliant. Scenes where one would rather look away are illuminated in glistening bright light. The way the most emotional scenes unfold mesmerises the viewer visually. It is this masterful treatment of the themes of trauma and abuse as well as the magnificent actors that make this film an absolute ‘must-watch’ for us.”

The winning film of this year’s short film competition in the scope of exground youth days is BEFORE MADRID by Ilén Juambeltz and Nicolás Botana from Uruguay, in which a young couple prepares together for their first time. “Thanks to the realistic execution here, this subject is neither demonised nor glorified – as is so often the case – but is instead depicted as a natural step in the life paths of young individuals. The film also managed to win the jury over with its excellent performances from the two protagonists, which portray insecurity and anticipation wonderfully.

In an age in which cinema and television frequently treat sex as taboo or matter-of fact, there is an urgent need – especially for young people – for films such as this one, which removes the pressure and provides a realistic representation.” The award is endowed with 500 euros in prize money, sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V..

Juuli Niemi, scriptwriter of LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT

The jury also awarded a Special Mention to the animated short film IT’S NICE IN HERE by Robert-Jonathan Koeyers from the Netherlands, for taking up the relevant topics of police violence and racism and portraying them in a multi-faceted manner through alternating animation styles that underscore the different perspectives.

The Audience Award in the scope of exground youth days went, in a tie, to EDGE OF EVERYTHING by Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman from the USA and LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT by Inari Niemi from Finland. Both winning films will receive prize money in the amount of 500 euros, sponsored by the State Capital of Wiesbaden.

exground youth days – Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition

In the Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition, Hendrik Schücke came out on top with his short fiction-film EMILY. First place comes with 500 euros in prize money, sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.. SNACKNAPPING by “Die Bananenbrote” took second place; the team took home a shopping voucher from the Apple Store ergo sum worth 150 euros.

Klappe 7 – Children’s Film Festival
In the scope of exground filmfest 36, Klappe 7 – Children’s Film Festival also took place once again. The short fiction-film MKW – DIE MUTIGSTEN KINDER DER WELT by the BGS Ursula-Wölfel-Schule emerged as the winner here. GIRLS & BOYS by the BGS Gustav-Stresemann-Schule won the Audience Award.

Wiesbaden Special – Short Film Competition

In the audience competition for best Wiesbaden short film, KT197 – EINE HEIMAT, EIN STADTTEIL, EIN KLARENTHAL by Lenard Lüdemann came out on top. The prize money in the amount of 500 euros is sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. A non-cash prize worth 1,000 euros from LiveFrame Rental, consisting of lighting and dolly equipment, went to Moritz Göbel for his short fiction-film KOPF IN DEN WOLKEN.

exground Gong Show

In the scope of the cult-classic competition for trashy treasures and amateur works, suiraM and kirtaP were honoured for their film DIE DUNKELHEIT HINTER DEN PIXELN – the two took home the “Golden exground Cucumber” and the accompanying 50€ cash prize.

exground filmfest would like to thank all of its supporters and co-operation partners

Press contact: 
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. 
exground filmfest 
Marta Moneva-Enchev



Press Release – 23 November 2023

The Second Festival Weekend is Upon Us! Featuring the Country Focus on Chile, Highlights from the World of German Cinema, the International Short Film Competition and Numerous Special Guest Appearances in Wiesbaden

Captivating film talks on works from all over the world, personal encounters between international filmmakers and the festival audience, the exground Gong Show, TALES FROM THE CRYPT: SALON EXOTIQUE and THE RETURN OF VIEWER’S DIGEST, as well as a reading in co-operation with Amnesty International Wiesbaden inside the Marktkirche crypt: the first half of exground filmfest has already demonstrated very clearly just how important and beloved the festival is. The happenings on site at the festival’s various venues are characterised by inspiring moments in the cinema, experiencing film within a community and cultural exchange based on mutual interest and respect. In short: the best possible conditions for the slogan of this year’s festival trailer to take root and blossom: SEE AND LISTEN by Martin Gessner – beyond all national (or any other) boundaries. In general, once can observe that the trailer has resonated especially deeply and widely this year.

Now, after six successful festival days, exground filmfest is approaching the finish line ­– and the second festival weekend has a host of special highlights and guests in store for the audience.

Focus on Chile: Films and Panel Discussion
Several of the films from the Country Focus on Chile have already been screened in the presence of numerous film guests, such as MEETING POINT by Roberto Baeza, whose producer and cast member Alfredo García spoke about the very moving making of the film in the scope of a film talk. The film’s producers share a unique bond through the fates of their fathers, who met inside the torture centre Villa Grimaldi following their imprisonment under the military dictatorship – one survived while the other “disappeared”. This significant and weighty work of collective remembrance was shown on screen in the Marktkirche crypt to an appreciative audience.

The program for Saturday, November 25, features further highlights from the section: including OUTSIDER GIRLS by Alexandra Hyland, who will attend the screening along with producers Selva Gonzalez and Alberto Doveris. Weeks after a sweet night of partying, Rafaela realises that she is pregnant. Since a child is the last thing that she can imagine in her current life and abortion is still illegal under most circumstances in Chile, Rafaela and her BFF have to search around for pills on the black market. To be able to afford them, they take on countless odd jobs, as their friendship is put to the test. Film guests for the supporting film MANO SECA are also expected to attend.

Saturday also features five challenging works that get under one’s skin in the short film program SHORTS FROM CHILE. Characterised by vibrant formal experimentation and great enthusiasm for visual poetry and the aesthetic potential of various materials (including VHS, Super 8 and 16 mm), these films devote themselves to complex subject matter, such as family memories, motherhood, gender attributions, violence and death. In the scope of the PANEL: CHILEAN CINEMA OF TODAY “Chile despertó! – Chile has awoken!”, Focus curator Amos Borchert will speak with guests about current issues and aesthetic choices – as well as the interplay between filmmaking and social changes in light of the contemporary challenges facing Chilean society. Participants include Roberto Doveris (producer and filmmaker), Alexandra Hyland (director of OUTSIDER GIRLS), Felipe Huenchuñir (director of THE FALLEN) alongside other guests to be announced.

International Short Film Competition – Part II, German Short Film Competition with Awards Ceremony and Concert
In addition, two short film sections will be featured on Friday, 24 November, and Sunday, 26 November: the International Short Film Competition – Part II and the German Short Film Competition.

For the 22nd time, exground filmfest is presenting the International Short Film Competition, for which many guests have again undertaken the journey to Wiesbaden this year. 16 films from 16 countries are vying here for the Jury Award, which is endowed with 2,000 euros in prize money, sponsored by the exground Circle of Friends. The second part will be presented in the evening on Friday, 24 November.

This year, exground filmfest has once again selected ten films for the German Short Film Competition. The section features a colourful mix of fiction films, documentaries and animated works. Here too the majority of the directors have shared their intention to attend, meaning the audience will have an opportunity to get to know the filmmakers during conversations after their respective films or over a drink following the awards ceremony. For the festive after-ceremony party, the Chilean band BADECIMA will be performing inside the movie theatre.

MADE IN GERMANY with Feature-Film Debuts
In the MADE IN GERMANY section, on Saturday, 25 November, directors Henning Beckhoff (with FOSSIL, 2023) and Behrooz Karamizade (with EMPTY NETS, 2023) will be making guest appearances in Wiesbaden. Although both are debut films, the two works have already created quite a stir at various large international festivals.

FOSSIL, directed by Henning Beckhoff, treats contemporary questions related to climate change and activism. Open-cast mine worker Michael stubbornly refuses to accept the pending phase-out of coal. He doesn’t want to see any change, no new flowering artificial lake-country landscapes. For Michael, work in the strip-mine is more than just a profession, which is why he tries to convince his colleagues to protest the rapid change, leading to a spiral of increasing isolation.

The protagonist of Behrooz Karamizade’s first fiction feature EMPTY NETS, Amir, also falls victim to a sort of isolation. Amir loves Narges, and Narges loves him back. The two dream of building a life together – alas, when Amir loses his job, the possibility of marriage seems to recede into the distance, due to a high bride price. In the hopes of being able to transcend class differences through hard work, Amir hires on with a fishery on the raw coast of the Caspian Sea, where he quickly becomes entangled in criminal machinations related to illegal caviar poaching. Things start to spiral dangerously out of control for Amir, threatening to devour his dreams.

exground filmfest would like to thank all of its supporters and co-operation partners

Press contact: 
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. 
exground filmfest 
Marta Moneva-Enchev



Press Release – 20 November 2023

36th Edition of exground filmfest Opens with Numerous International Guests

This past weekend, exground filmfest opened with festivities in Wiesbaden: with a slew of special local and international guests in attendance, the festival kicked off its 36th edition on 17 November with a screening of the Chilean film 1976 by Manuela Martelli to a sold-out crowd in Caligari FilmBühne, with the Consul General of the Republic of Chile, Francisco Mackenney Palamara, also in attendance. On behalf of the assembled filmmakers and artists, curatorial and organisational team member  Andrea Wink welcomed the director of the opening film.

In addition, in the scope of her opening speech Wink thanked all of the festival’s stakeholders for their support and expressed her relief at the fact that cuts to the city of Wiesbaden’s cultural budget have been postponed for the time being, emphasizing that the potential cuts represent an existential threat to the realisation of the next festival edition. Wink called on city council members to continue to preserve Wiesbaden’s diverse cultural scene, in regards to current budget consultations for 2025 as well. Hessian State Secretary for Higher Education, Research and the Arts Ayse Asar, representing the state government, also touched on the issue in her address.

In the introduction to her film, Manuela Martelli revealed to the audience the question that had already occupied her while writing the screenplay – namely, how one can continue to lead one’s normal life while horrific things are happening right before one’s own front door, in clear reference to the current state of the world. A subsequent talk moderated by Focus curator Amos Borchert examined the film’s many different facets. 1976 left attendees with plenty to talk about following the official opening and the reception at City Hall with City Councillor for Cultural Affairs Dr. Hendrik Schmehl and Mayor Gert-Uwe Mende.

Karin Wolff, Managing Director of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, stated that she was particularly excited about the Country Focus on Chile due to the fact that works of cinema from the distant land hardly ever gain the attention of a broader audience otherwise and that exground filmfest this year also proves the vital importance of artistically examining the socio-political challenges of the present moment, 50 years after the end of military dictatorship in Chile.

At the opening, City Councillor for Cultural Affairs Dr. Hendrik Schmehl recommended the films of the exground youth days‘ program, which are still screening through Wednesday, 22 November, and which the Youth Jury will review critically over the coming days, before selecting a winning film from the entries to the International Youth Film Competition. The youth days celebrated their own opening this past Saturday, together with a very animated and enthusiastic young audience from Wiesbaden and the surrounding area.

First Winners Announced in Wiesbaden Competitions

While the Youth Jury is still busy with their discussions and consultations, the first winners at exground filmfest have already been honoured. The youth days opening was also accompanied by the Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition screening: Hendrik Schücke won the main award (featuring a cash prize of 500€ sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.) for his short fiction-feature EMILY. The members of the group “Die Bananenbrote” took second place with their film SNACKNAPPING, for which they received a 150€ voucher from the Apple Store ergo sum. Moritz Göbel was also honoured with an award on the opening weekend, for his film KOPF IN DEN WOLKEN – Göbel took home a prize package for lighting and dolly equipment valued at 1,000€, sponsored by the Wiesbaden-based company LiveFrame Rental, in the scope of the Wiesbaden Special – Short Film Competition. The audience award, endowed with 500 euros in prize money by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V., went to KT197 – EINE HEIMAT, EIN STADTEIL, EIN KLARENTHAL by Lennard Lüdemann – and that, as Andrea Wink put it at the awards presentation, “in the hood” with a movie theatre full of Klarenthalers, no less.

Wiesbaden Welcomes a Range of Filmmakers

After director Kolja Malik already presented his film LASVEGAS personally to the Wiesbaden cinema audience in the MADE IN GERMANY section on Saturday, the coming days offer festival attendees a number of other special German-language film highlights.

On Wednesday, 22 November, director Aylin Tezel will be in Wiesbaden for a screening of her debut film FALLING INTO PLACE. In her address on Friday, Anna Schoeppe, Managing Director of Hessen Film und Medien GmbH, emphasised the section in particular, including the international-award-winning drama EMPTY NETS, directed by Behrooz Karamizade, who is expected to be on hand to present his film personally on Saturday, 25 November. Director Janin Halisch will also attend the screening of her film TALK TO ME on Tuesday, 21 November, and is looking forward to conversations with the exground audience. The exground audience can also look forward to the screening of TERRESTRIAL VERSES by renowned directorial duo Ali Asgari and Alireza Khatami in the WORLD CINEMA section on Tuesday, 21 November. In the youth days program, co-directors Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman are excited to field audience questions on their family drama EDGE OF EVERYTHING on Wednesday, 22 November. The highlights for Wednesday, 22 November, also include the German premiere of DRUGSTORE JUNE in the AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS section.

Director Vanessa Nica Mueller and line producer Elisa Rosi travelled to Wiesbaden for the sole purpose of attending today’s projection of their film LANDEN and speaking about their work with the audience in the Marktkirche crypt. LANDEN is also taking part in the German Feature-Film Competition.

Finally, numerous filmmakers from the INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION – PART I will be in attendance at Caligari FilmBühne on Thursday, 23 November.

exground filmfest would like to thank all of its supporters and co-operation partners

Press contact: 
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. 
exground filmfest 
Marta Moneva-Enchev



Press Release – 2 November 2023  

exground filmfest 36: Full Program Revealed! 

Roughly 200 Films from 57 Countries // exground Xtras with Supporting Events // Cash and Non-Cash Prize Packages of over 18,000 Euros 
The program for the 36th edition of exground filmfest is now available online at From 17 to 26 November, the festival will present around 200 short and feature films at its partner venues in Wiesbaden, as well at cinemas in Frankfurt am Main. From nearly 2,100 submissions, the curatorial team has selected the most compelling films from 57 countries. In addition, exground filmfest’s YouTube channel will once again feature special content to accompany the in-person festival. In a total of six competitions, exground filmfest will be awarding monetary prizes and prize packages valued at over 18,000 euros.   

Countries Represented, Supporting Program and Festival Venues 

The selected films include 15 world premieres, six international premieres, seven European premieres and a whopping 54 German premieres. Germany is the most represented country, with 54 films, while France comes in second, with 24 films and co-productions within the program. Chile, this year’s Focus Country, has a strong presence, with 20 films. However, the program also features cinema nations that are often underrepresented or entirely absent in German cinemas, such as Congo, Cameroon and Palestine. 

The exground Xtras offer industry events, art exhibitions, the beloved exground Gong Show and the annual film quiz held in the Marktkirche crypt. Here, Bernd Brehmer will also again be hosting THE RETURN OF VIEWER’S DIGEST, which presents condensed highlights from film history in Super-8 format, with audience participation – viewers are even encouraged to join in choosing which reels from the rich collection should be included in the evening’s viewing session. In addition to the festival venues in Wiesbaden – Caligari FilmBühne, Murnau-Filmtheater, the Marktkirche crypt, Nassauischer Kunstverein and Literaturhaus Villa Clementine – select films from the Country Focus program will also be shown again at Pupille – Kino on the University of Frankfurt am Main campus and at Orfeos Erben in Frankfurt am Main. 

Film Program: Germany, Europe, USA and the World 
The selection at exground filmfest is divided into the sections Made in Germany, American Independents, European Cinema, World Cinema and the youth days.  

In 2023, exground filmfest’s selection features no less than six Oscar submissions for Best International Feature Film: THE SETTLERS from Chile, THE DELINQUENTS from Argentina, OMEN from Belgium, FOUR DAUGHTERS from Tunisia, INSHALLAH A BOY from Jordan and BYE BYE TIBERIAS from Palestine, for which special film guests are also expected to attend.  

As in the previous three years, for the 36th festival edition the audience will choose the winning film in the Made in Germany section. Aylin Tezel, the director of FALLING INTO PLACE (Germany/Great Britain, 2023), which is set on the Isle of Skye, will also be in Wiesbaden for the festival. Tezel’s directorial debut has proven to be one of the most tender romances of the past years. The association Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. is organising the competition and sponsoring DAS BRETT, the award for the best German film.

The section’s highlights also include the gripping thriller ROXY (Germany/Belgium, 2022) by Dito Tsintsadze, with a brilliant performance from Devid Striesow in the lead role. The film tells the story of the unremarkable taxi driver Thomas Brenner, whose life takes an unexpected turn when a group of Russian men accompanied by an attack dog board his taxi. Also revolving around an international setting, the multi-prize-winning drama EMPTY NETS (Germany/Iran, 2023), directed by Behrooz Karamizade, features strong imagery in its portrayal of the inequalities found in Iranian society. The young Iranian Amir hires on with a fishery on the raw coasts of the Caspian Sea in order to scrape together the cash he needs to marry his true love Narges. The long anticipated marriage slips ever further into the distance as Amir becomes entangled in criminal machinations related to poaching. The German-Iranian director is also expected to attend the festival in Wiesbaden. 

The European Cinema section assembles nine highlights from the big A-list festivals. In this section, Boris Guts’ political thriller MINSK (Estonia, 2022) sticks out in particular. August 2020 in Belarus: strolling in downtown Minsk one evening, a couple of newlyweds accidently find themselves in the midst of protests against the manipulated presidential election, surrounded by hooded, heavily armed thugs from the regime, who start to beat and arrest everyone in sight, including passers-by, without  

warning. In the vicious comedy UNDER THERAPY (Spain, 2023), directed by Gerardo Herrero, three different couples are invited to an unusual group therapy session. The psychologist herself fails to show up. Instead, on top of the table lie a selection of numbered envelopes with tasks that the couples are instructed to perform together. 

The American Independents section features seven strong feature films from the USA. In Nicholaus Goossen’s comedy DRUGSTORE JUNE, which is celebrating its international premiere at exground filmfest, a small-town pharmacy is robbed, and a young woman who still lives with her parents aims to solve the crime on her own. At the same time, she attempts to get over her ex-boyfriend and finally grow up a little. The multi-award-winning film FANCY DANCE, directed by Erica Tremblay with Lily Gladstone in the role of Jax, is a declaration of love for the indigenous communities in the USA and their female members. Jax, who has been taking care of her niece Roki on a reservation in Oklahoma since her sister’s disappearance, uses every free moment to search for the missing woman while preparing Roki for a powwow. Driven by fear of losing custody of the child, she combs the backcountry hoping to find Roki’s mother in time for the native celebration. Marc Turtletaub’s A GREAT PLACE TO CALL HOME is set in a small town somewhere in Pennsylvania, where Milton (Sir Ben Kingsley) is placidly whiling away his golden years with gardening, community get-togethers and memory training exercises. When a UFO lands in his flower bed one night, no one seems to believe the old man – not the 911 dispatcher, not the cashier at the supermarket and certainly not the local council. Undaunted, Milton decides to take the extra-terrestrial visitor with a fondness for apples into his home. A clever and touching comedy about late-found meaning in life and the thirst for adventure.   

The World Cinema section presents current highlights from this year’s festival season from around the globe. In TERRESTRIAL VERSES (Iran, 2023), Iranian directorial partners Alireza Khatami and Ali Asgari take a sharp-tongued approach full of sarcastic wit in their tale of nine individuals who fall victim to the banal malevolence of the authorities in the theocratic state. Marina Seresesky’s LET THE DANCE BEGIN (Argentina/Spain, 2023) is a crazy road movie from South America, in which three “silver agers” set out in an old delivery van in search of a shared secret. Their exciting trip through Argentina is accompanied by plenty of tango, seeing as Carlos and Margarita were the world’s most famous tango partners 30 years ago. 

Competitions at exground filmfest 

In a total of six competitions, exground filmfest is awarding monetary prizes and non-cash prize packages worth over 18,000 euros, including in the German Short Film Competition and the International Short Film Competition (IC), as well as in the Wiesbaden Short Film Competition. The jury for the 22nd IC is composed of Chilean filmmaker and producer Roberto Doveris, Martin Scheuring, head of short films and market projects at German Films in Munich, and Maria Weyer, deputy director for the area of media pedagogy at Medienzentrum Wiesbaden. 

In the scope of exground youth days, the best films for a young audience are competing for awards in the International Youth Film Competition and the Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition. The “exground Golden Cucumber” will also be awarded once again to the trashiest film from the Gong Show program.  

Tickets for the program of exground filmfest 36 are available effective immediately through – as well as via the exground filmfest app. 

For press accreditation at exground filmfest 36, please feel free to contact us – we would be happy to send you our registration form. 

The complete festival program will be revealed following the 2023 press conference on 2 November (11 am, Caligari FilmBühne) and will be available at 

 exground filmfest would like to thank all of its supporters and co-operation partners

Press contact:  
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.  
exground filmfest  
Marta Moneva-Enchev 



Press release Country Focus on Chile

19 October 2023 

exground filmfest 36: Country Focus on Chile 

Why Chile? 

This year’s edition of exground filmfest, running from 17 to 26 November, offers cinema enthusiasts a wealth of opportunities to enter into conversation with filmmakers and expand their horizons. The traditional Country Focus is a prime example when it comes to the latter. This year, the section takes a special look at Chile. But why Chile, of all places? 

exground filmfest also sees itself as a forum for socio-political exchange. The ongoing protests in Chile, which began in 2019, are rooted in glaring injustices in the country’s political, economic and social spheres. For this reason, the festival team has committed itself this year to the task of assembling a film selection for the Country Focus that intensively examines the foundations of these imbalances, whether they be patriarchal structures, (neo-) colonial violence or the sustained impact of the terrors of the military dictatorship, which did not come to an end until 1990.  

The central themes here are collective remembrance and the speaking of individual truth, as well as the conscious platforming of the works of a younger generation. Some of these filmmakers will even be on hand in Wiesbaden to present their works personally. The Country Focus programming features a broad range of films, from traditional narrative-based student projects to independently realised experimental films and debuts, while also showcasing celebrated works from A-list festivals in Berlin, Cannes und Rotterdam, as well as Chile’s submission for the 2024 foreign-film Oscar THE SETTLERS (CL/AR/DK/FR/TW/GB, 2023). The Country Focus section encompasses a broad spectrum of cinema – stylistically and conceptionally unconventional, emotionally moving and socially relevant – rounded off by an extraordinarily diverse supporting program. 

Highlights from the Focus Program  

exground filmfest 36 will open with the meticulously staged political thriller 1976 (CL, 2022), the directorial debut from Manuela Martelli, which is set in the midst of the Chilean state terror of the titular year. Carmen leads a comfortable upper-middle-class life as the wife of a respected doctor. Her children have left the nest, and the couple has made their peace with the military dictatorship. While overseeing renovations of her summer residence at the seaside, Carmen is asked by a friend, a priest, to help a wounded man. She resolves to take over the care of the shooting victim, in secret. Manuela Martelli stages a tense drama with a steady hand and a flair for the metaphorical. The imagery is opulent, buoyed by atmospheric music and elegant performances. 

Chile’s Oscar submission, THE SETTLERS, directed by Felipe Gálvez, is also a feature-film debut. In this unpredictable anti-colonial Western set in 1901, a dissimilar trio, consisting of a US-American mercenary, a Scottish lieutenant and an indigenous labourer, sets off on a bloody mission. On behalf of an entrepreneur, they are tasked with murdering as many indigenous people as possible, in order to open up new grazing paths. With a bold screenplay and breath-taking formal language, the film tells a tale of genocidal violence and capitalist exploitation as the basis for the formation of the Chilean nation-state. 

A further special cinema highlight: OUTSIDER GIRLS (CL, 2023), whose director Alexandra Hyland and producer Roberto Doveris will be present in Wiesbaden. Doveris will also serve as a member of the International Jury. In their film, some weeks after a sweet night of partying protagonist Rafaela discovers that she is pregnant. Unfortunately, a child is the last thing she needs in her life at the moment. As abortion is widely outlawed in Chile, Rafa and her best friend Gabriela have to search around on the black market for a solution. To be able to afford the pills in question, they take on numerous odd jobs. Full of empowerment, the film treats solidarity, the right to choose what happens to one’s own body and the untenable situation of individuals facing unwanted pregnancies in Latin America. 

Tajyo Yamazaki will also be making the trip to Wiesbaden to present his feature-film debut THANKS FOR COMING (CL, 2023). Every year, Nancho’s family escapes the stifling heat of Santiago to spend the summer months at the seaside. When Nancho’s father dies unexpectedly, an uncle suddenly wishes to sell the summer house instead of leaving it in the family, forcing Nancho to come up with a plan to sabotage the sale. With zest, levity, laconic wit and likeable characters, Taiyo Yamazaki’s film is devoted to the absurd intricacies of family conflicts. 

Alfredo García, producer, author and protagonist of MEETING POINT (CL, 2022), directed by Roberto Baeza, is also expected to attend the festival. Alfredo and Paulina are connected by their fathers’ fates. The two men met in the torture centre Villa Grimaldi – one survived, while the other “disappeared”. As filmmakers, Alfredo and Paulina re-stage the events, casting and shooting in the presence of their parents, in an attempt to face not only family trauma, but also the difficult work of collective remembrance. A polyphonic project that provides insight into how the military dictatorship remains interwoven with Chile’s tension-filled present. 

The imaginative docu-fiction OTRO SOL (CL/FR/BE 2023), directed by Francisco Rodríguez Teare, represents a further programming highlight. The film traces the outlandish legend of the bandit Alberto Candia, notorious for organising a spectacular robbery of a Spanish cathedral. Rodríguez Teare boisterously weaves interviews, everyday observations and staged sequences shot in Chile’s Atacama Desert and Spain into a myth revolving around greed and gold, interpretive authority and the legacy of colonialism. MY BROTHERS DREAM AWAKE (CL, 2021) from director Claudia Huaiquimilla, on the other hand, depicts the lived realities of a group of adolescents in prison who died in a fire during an escape attempt. Huaiquimilla portrays life behind bars unflinchingly, with great honesty, but also great tenderness and a feel for intimacy and the societal contexts and connections of violence and the penal system.  

Exhibitions and Readings 
In the scope of the supporting program, in addition to a photo exhibition of Paula Ábalos’ work at Murnau-Filmtheater, from 20 October to 17 December Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden is showing the film LOS HUESOS (2021), directed by Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León, which New York City’s MoMA has already acquired for its collection. The story, shot in black-and-white, plays with Chile’s past, as the fates of both Diego Portales, a representative of the oligarchy, and Jaime Guzmán, a henchman of the dictator Pinochet, lay in the hands of a young girl. 

On 21 November, Günther Wessel will be reading from his book “Salvador Allende – A Chilean Story” in the Marktkirche crypt. 11 September 2023 marked the 50th anniversary of the military putsch led by Augusto Pinochet against Chile’s freely and democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Drawing on a host of interviews, Günther Wessel tells Allende’s life story as well as the history of the country: from the putsch to the painful struggle to restore democracy, as well as the development of the latter into the present day. 

On 20 November, Patrick Twinem will read excerpts from the 2022 novel “Camanchaca” by Chilean author Diego Zúñiga at the Literaturhaus Villa Clementine. In the book, a 20-year-old relates the story of his family while travelling across the border to Peru with his father to have some dental work done. A road-movie in prose featuring an overweight, apathetic first-person narrator who is only vaguely familiar with his family’s past. 


The Sunday Matinee serves as the grand finale for this year’s Country Focus on Chile at exground filmfest. On 26 November, starting at noon, LIZARDS’ TALES (CL 1989) will be shown at Caligari FilmBühne, in the presence of director Juan Carlos Bustamante, who is travelling all the way from Chile to attend the event. A sort of anthology film that is as visually striking as it is poetic, LIZARDS’ TALES, which celebrated its world premiere in Berlinale’s Forum section back in its day, will be screened at exground with the help of a 16-mm projector. The film relates three episodes from the “years of silence”, the transitional phase immediately following the state terror of the Pinochet regime. Following the screening, the curator of the Country Focus on Chile, Amos Borchert, will moderate a conversation between Bustamante (born in 1940) and the audience. 

The Country Focus is made possible once again by the generous support of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain

As in previous years, following the festival week selected films will also be shown at several venues in the wider Rhine-Main region: 

Pupille – Kino in der Uni, Mertonstraße 26–28, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, and Orfeos Erben, Hamburger Allee 45, 60486 Frankfurt am Main. 

The full festival program will be announced following the press conference (2 November, 11 am, Caligari FilmBühne) and will be subsequently available online at  

exground filmfest would like to thank all of its supporters and co-operation partners!  

Partners & sponsors – exground filmfest 36 

Press contact:  
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.  
exground filmfest  
Marta Moneva-Enchev  



Press release youth days

10 October 2023

20th Edition of exground youth days Presents 13 Feature-Length and Short

In the scope of the 20th edition of exground youth days, this year exground filmfest is showing 13 international feature-length and short films for the young cinema audience, focussing on the lived realities of young individuals. Young people aged 12 and up can look forward to seven contemporary film productions screening from 18 to 22 November, each preceded by a supporting film, at Wiesbaden’s Caligari FilmBühne. All of the films will be shown in German or accompanied by German subtitles.

Very much in keeping with the spirit of the times, the majority of these films are the work of female directors. The youth film festival will open with LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT (FI 2023) from Finnish director Inari Niemi, who transports the audience to a village in Southern Finland around the time of the 1986 nuclear reactor meltdown in Chernobyl. Through flashbacks, Niemi’s film tells of the abrupt end of a tender love
story between two female students from completely different family backgrounds.

The exground audience will also have the opportunity to see EDGE OF EVERYTHING (US 2023), directed by Pablo Feldman and Sophia Sabella, who have already announced plans to travel to Wiesbaden for the festival. Their film revolves around 14-year-old Abby, who finds herself poised on the boundary between
childhood and adulthood. When her mother dies, she is forced to move in with her father and his younger girlfriend. Abby feels abandoned and has trouble processing her loss. With the help of new friends, parties, drugs and first sexual experiences, she attempts to move beyond her grief.

The two siblings in Linda Olte’s SISTERS (LE/IT 2023) are growing up under equally difficult circumstances: absent father, mother in prison, children in an orphanage. One day they learn that an American family would like to adopt them. While the younger girl, Diana, is immediately super keen on the idea, the older Anastasia hesitates and attempts to build a new relationship with her mother, who has been
released from jail in the meantime.
THE FANTASTIC THREE (FR 2023), directed by Michaël Dichter, also deals with parents who are effectively absent. Twelve-year-old Max and his friends Tom and Vivian represent a close-knit family-like unit. In comparison, Max’s real family is chaotic: his dad is absent, his mom apathetic. When Max’s big brother returns home from prison wearing an ankle monitor, he brings his problems with him too. Max wants to help him and tries to come up with some cash. Inevitably, he starts to experience internal conflict, as he pulls his friends along into a spiral of violence.

Out of competition, in the scope of “Kino macht Schule” (“Cinema Goes to School”), organised in co-operation with Medienzentrum Wiesbaden and the donum vitae regional association for Wiesbaden and Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis e.V., a school event will take place featuring a screening of BESTIES (FR 2021), directed by Marion Desseigne-Ravel. The film is set in summer in a Paris suburb. Nedjma roams the
streets with her girlfriends, the gang is like her second family. When she sees Zina, the new girl in the neighbourhood, for the first time, she falls head over heels instantly, but Zina belongs to a rival clique. Nedjma is torn: between her loyalty to her group and her desire for Zina, which grows stronger with every night that the two spend together in secret. A real pearl of young queer cinema from France. To inquire
about attending the screening of BESTIES on 22 November 2023 at 10:30 am, interested school classes are kindly asked to contact Medienzentrum Wiesbaden e. V. at or by telephone at (+49) 0611 1665841.

International Youth Film Competition
This year’s competition films are again vying for the honour of being named best feature-length film in the scope of exground youth days. A youth jury will determine which of the directors can take home the prize money (2,500 euros), sponsored by the State Capital of Wiesbaden. In addition, an audience award will be presented, endowed with prize money in the amount of 1,000 euros sponsored by the State
Capital of Wiesbaden.

Short Films at exground youth days
The Wiesbaden youth jury will present an additional prize of 500 euros, sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V., to the best short film. A total of six short films from Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and Uruguay will be presented individually prior to the feature-length films – including the short fiction film ECHO (ES 2023), directed by Meritxell A. Valls, and the documentary film OASIS (CA 2022) by Justine Martin, a coming-of-age story treating marginalisation. The short fiction film CAMOUFLAGE (NL 2022), directed by Bregt Verhagen, deals with the subjects of poverty and family, while the animated work IT’S NICE IN HERE (NL 2022) by Robert-Jonathan Koeyers grapples with police violence, exclusion and
racial profiling. The short fiction films BEFORE MADRID (UY 2022), directed by Ilén Juambeltz and Nicolás Botana, and DISCONNECTED (DE 2023) by Daniel Schulte treat first sexual experiences, grief and loss.

Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition
Wiesbaden’s home-grown directing talents between the ages of 12 and 18 have the chance to present their own works on the big screen for the first time. This year’s competition for the best Wiesbaden-based youth film, featuring six entries, opens on 18 November at 3 pm at Caligari FilmBühne in the scope of exground youth days. The competition features cash prizes and non-cash prize packages with a total value of 650 euros.

The full program for the festival will be announced following the press conference (2 November, 11 am, Caligari FilmBühne) and will subsequently be available online at Tickets for live cinema screenings will be available from 3 November 2023 on the festival website (, at the tourist information counter in Wiesbaden at Marktplatz 1 or at the Caligari FilmBühne ticket
office during the festival.
exground filmfest would like to thank all of its supporters and co-operation partners!



Press contact:  
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.  
exground filmfest  
Marta Moneva-Enchev  



Press release Save the Date

28 September 2023

Save the Date: 36th edition of exground filmfest to take place from 17 to 26 November in Wiesbaden

For its 36th edition, taking place from 17 to 26 November 2023 in Wiesbaden, Germany, exground filmfest is once again presenting extensive film and supporting programs. The festival features screenings of both feature-length and short works in the categories of fiction feature, documentary film, animation and experimental cinema. Accompanying discussions, exhibitions, readings and concerts, as well as a new edition of exground youth days, round out the national and international film selection.

Country Focus: Chile 

This year, exground filmfest is devoting its focus section to the country of Chile. In eleven fiction features and various documentary formats, plus a short film program, all drawn from the current or past production year, the Country Focus places young Chilean filmmakers centre-stage. The films featured here also revisit the country’s past, including the tragic year of 1973, as the Chilean government was toppled by Pinochet’s putsch. The resulting military dictatorship, which remained in power until 1990, left Chilean society deeply scarred, and has doubtlessly had a lasting impact on Chilean film culture as well. This grim legacy is still being processed today, in the hope of overcoming it. The present program examines important questions, from both serious and humorous angles, in an amalgamation of lived democracy and the will to create emancipatory art. 

Opening Film: 1976 by Manuela Martelli 

exground filmfest 36 will open with Manuela Martelli’s precisely staged political thriller 1976 (CHI 2022), which is set in the midst of the Chilean state terror of 1976. A housewife and spouse of a respected doctor, Carmen leads a well-heeled, solidly middle-class existence. The children have left the nest, and the couple has come to terms with the military dictatorship. While overseeing remodelling work on her summer house by the sea, Carmen asks a friend of hers, a priest, to help a wounded man, before resolving to leave her sheltered life behind by secretly taking on the responsibility of caring for the shooting victim herself. Manuela Martelli’s highly regarded debut demonstrates her mastery of a steady-handed directorial style that is also rich in metaphors. Her images are opulent, accentuated with atmospheric music and elegant performances. 

Opening Film at exground youth days 

The opening for this year’s edition of exground youth days also features a high-calibre work from a female filmmaker: Inari Niemi’s coming-of-age drama LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT (FIN 2023). In spring 1986, an atomic power plant went into meltdown in Soviet Chernobyl. A girl named Mimi arrives in a village in Southern Finland and proceeds to brighten up the life of 15-year-old Mariia for a moment. Twenty years later, after her life has reached an impasse, grown-up Mariia revisits her childhood home and recalls that youthful summer and the tragic autumn that followed. Amid a flood of memories, Mariia is forced to face her past. 

Highlights from the Program 

In addition to Chilean cinematic art, in the Made in Germany series exground filmfest is showing the award-winning drama EMPTY NETS (D/IRN 2023). Director Behrooz Karamizadeh employs a strong visual language to depict inequalities in society. The young Iranian Amir hires on with a fisherman on the raw coast of the Caspian Sea, with the aim of saving up the money he needs to marry his true love Narges. In the process, he becomes entangled in the criminal machinations of illegal caviar poaching. An oppressive parallel world reveals itself, altering Amir’s relationship to Narges and ultimately closing the door on the marriage that has for so long been his deepest wish. 

The political thriller MINSK (EST 2022) from director Boris Guts is a particular stand-out in the European Cinema series. In the film, set in August 2020 in the days following the manipulated presidential election in Belarus, while out for an evening stroll in downtown Minsk a newly-wed couple gets caught up in clashes between protestors and masked, heavily-armed thugs from the state security forces, who begin to beat up and arrest everyone without warning, including random passers-by. Shot in real time in a single take, Guts’ virtuoso outing unfolds into a dynamic choreography of horror.

Nicholaus Goossen’s comedy DRUGSTORE JUNE (US 2022) is screening in the American Independents series. After the pharmacy in her small town gets robbed, a young woman who still lives with her parents takes it upon herself to solve the case, while simultaneously attempting to get over her ex-boyfriend and become more mature.

Exhibition at Murnau-Filmtheater and Video Art at Nassauischer Kunstverein 
Alongside the traditional photo exhibition at Murnau-Filmtheater, in the scope of the supporting program Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden is showing the film LOS HUESOS (2021), directedby Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León, which New York City’s MoMA has already acquired for its collection. The exhibition runs from 20 October to 17 December. Featuring classic stop-motion effects and puppet animation and inspired by Władysław Starewicz’s animated film experiments with insects, the film depicts two “corpses” and a puppet as they are brought to life. The story itself, told in black and white, plays with Chile’s past, as the fates of Diego Portales, a representative of the oligarchy, and Jaime Guzmán, a henchman of the dictator Pinochet, both lie in the hands of a little girl.

The complete festival program will be announced following the press conference (2 November, 11 am, Caligari FilmBühne) and available online at

 exground filmfest would like to thank all its supporters and co-operation partners! 



Press contact: 
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. 
exground filmfest 
Marta Moneva-Enchev