Press Release – 22 November 2022: exground filmfest 35: Announcing This Year’s Award Winners

SIERRA named Best International Short Film // BEAUTIFUL BEINGS and EDICIUS honoured at youth days // Audience award DAS BRETT goes to THE ORDINARIES // BETTER HALF wins German Short Film Competition // PATRONUS receives Audience Award in Wiesbaden Special section // WACKELKONTAKT takes top honours in Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition 

This past Sunday evening, the winners of the competitions at exground filmfest 35 were announced in the scope of a festive award ceremony. After the final ballots from audience voting had been counted, the closing event took place at Caligari FilmBühne, with film guests, jury members, prize sponsors and award presenters in attendance. In total, exground filmfest awarded a range of cash and non-cash prizes valued at over 15,000 euros.

International Short Film Competition 
In the International Short Film Competition, the international jury selected the Estonian production SIERRA, directed by Sander Joon, as the winning film, which received prize money in the amount of 2,000 euros, sponsored by the exground Circle of Friends. Jury members Börries Müller-Büsching, Isabel Aboim Inglez and Jonas Ulrich issued the following statement explaining their choice:

„Like the tire hanging from the tree in the center of the film, SIERRA swings perfectly between radical surrealism and a tender family story. Frogs, race cars and a flying mustache mash together in absurd animation that moves at a break-neck speed. It’s a film full of playful chaos but somehow, in the end order is restored.”

exground youth days – International Youth Film Competition
The youth jury in the International Youth Film Competition presented this year’s Award for Best Feature Film to BEAUTIFUL BEINGS [BERDREYMI] from Icelandic director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson:

“Featuring a gripping story examining problems of male adolescents, like drug consumption and violence, this film adeptly brings society’s shadow sides to light. The unflinching way that it tackles the consequences of toxic masculinity and taboo subjects such as sexualised violence among young people elevates this film above others, as it draws attention to rarely exposed forms of abuse. The triggers of problematic behaviour are depicted in a masterful manner, without seeking to rationalise such behaviour. Thanks to the unsettling story, intense imagery and exceptional ensemble-cast performances, this film gets under the viewer’s skin and keeps them absorbed in the action to the very end.”

The jury awarded a Special Mention to the opening film at youth days, A GIRL RETURNED, which also won the section’s Audience Award. Italian director Giuseppe Bonito will receive prize money of 1,000 euros, sponsored by the State Capital of Wiesbaden. 

The youth jury Award for Best Short Film went to Emir Haj Salah for EDICIUS (Tunisia): 

“This film grabs the viewer with its shocking opening scene and proves consistently engrossing from there. With a sober look at the difficult subjects of bullying and suicide, the consequences of petty aggressions are depicted in a vivid manner. The innovative narrative also arouses interest, as the story is told in reverse order. This method is employed adeptly to portray the escalating confrontation between the main character and the individuals harassing him in a believable way. A convincing film that remains in the viewer’s consciousness for a long time.”

The accompanying prize money in the amount of 500 euros is sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.

The jury awarded a Special Mention to the Dutch production SPOTLESS [VLEKKELOOS], directed by Emma Branderhorst.

exground youth days – Wiesbaden Youth Film Competition
In the Wiesbaden Youth Film CompetitionMarie Engelmann came out on top with her short fiction film WACKELKONTAKT. First prize receives 500 euros, sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. Second prize was awarded to BIKE2GO, directed by Hendrik Schücke and Laurenz Schön, who will receive a voucher from the Apple store ergo sum valued at 150 euros. Third place went to the film ENDGÜLTIG, realised by students from the Helene Lange School.

Klappe 7 – Children’s Film Festival
In the scope of exground filmfest 35, Klappe 7 – Children’s Film Festival took place once again, organised by Wiesbaden’s neighbourhood centres for children, adolescents and families from the city’s Department of Social Work. The festival featured screenings of 17 short films realised by young filmmakers between the ages of 6 and 12. 

An expert jury awarded the three prizes up for grabs here to the films SCHULSOZIALARBEIT – WAS MACHT DIE EIGENTLICH by students from Ursula Wölfel School (1st place), WENN ICH EINMAL GROSS BIN by participants from the youth centre Georg Buch Haus and GODZILLA, also from the youth centre Georg Buch Haus. The Audience Award went to ZUSAMMEN HALTEN, realised by students at the Gustav Stresemann School. 

German Feature Film Competition: DAS BRETT
For the second year in a row, the audience determined the winner of the best film award in the Made in Germany section, once again instead of the inmate jury, due to the ongoing pandemic. From the six nominated productions, the audience selected THE ORDINARIES, directed by Sophie Linnenbaum. The award is endowed with 1,500 euros, sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.

German Short Film Competition
This year’s first prize in the German Short Film Competition, chosen by the audience, went to BETTER HALFby Jürgen Heimüller. The award is endowed with 3,000 euros in prize money, sponsored by the State Capital of Wiesbaden. Second prize, endowed with a cash prize of 2,000 euros sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V., went to GET HOME SAFE, directed by Tamara Denić, while third place (1,000 euros, also sponsored by the State Capital of Wiesbaden) went to THE SAUSAGE RUN by Thomas Stellmach. 

Wiesbaden Special – Short Film Competition
In the audience competition for the best Wiesbaden-related short film, PATRONUS by Duc-Anh Dinh came out on top. The accompanying cash prize of 500 euros is sponsored by Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.

exground Gong Show
In the cult competition for trashy treasures and amateur works, Marius Hofmann and Patrik Pezelj were honoured for THE JOY OF GONGING, taking home 50 euros and the “Golden exground Cucumber”.

Tickets Available Online for On-Demand Programming
Starting on 21 November, for several days a large portion of the festival films will be available for streaming via a dedicated on-demand platform. Tickets are already available on the respective film pages on the exground filmfest website.

You can find our on-demand platform here.

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


The 36th edition of exground filmfest will take place from 17 to 26 November 2023 and include a Country Focus on Chile.


End of press release

Press contact:
Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V.
exground filmfest
Marina Andrée