Press Release – 27 October 2022 
exground filmfest 35: Full Program Revealed

Over 150 Films from 45 Countries // exground Specials with Supporting Events // Cash and Prize Packages Totalling Roughly 15,000€
The program for the 35th edition of exground filmfest is now available online at From 11 to 20 November, the festival will present over 150 films in its Wiesbaden partner venues, as well in cinemas in Darmstadt and Frankfurt am Main. From some 2,000 submissions, the curatorial team has selected the most compelling films from 45 countries. Following the in-person festival, select festival programming will be available for streaming from 21 to 24 November. In addition, exground filmfest’s YouTube channel will once again feature special content during the festival. In a total of six competitions, exground filmfest will award monetary prizes and prize packages valued at approximately 15,000 euros. 

Countries Represented, Supporting Program and Festival Venues
The selected films include 16 world premieres, seven international premieres, four European premieres and 30 German premieres. Additionally, 83 films are being screened for the first time in the Rhine-Main region. Germany is the most represented country, with 46 films, while Portugal, this year’s Focus country, is represented with 25 films. France comes in third place, with 23 French films and co-productions in the program. However, the program also features cinema nations that are often underrepresented in Germany, such as Myanmar, Chile, Kazakhstan, Cyprus and Qatar, for instance. There is also a short film series devoted to works from Iran.

The exground Specials promise a range of events, featuring film industry guests, art exhibitions and even the beloved exground Gong Showkaraoke and the annual film quiz held in the Marktkirche crypt. In addition, the audience can look forward to a silent film concert with guests Vortex and Nam-Khar at Murnau-Filmtheater. Electronically processing acoustic sound sources, voice and percussion in the scope of a special live ritual, the dark ambient group will lend Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 film HÄXAN a totally new effect. In the Marktkirche crypt, Bernd Brehmer’s VIEWER’S DIGEST program presents condensed highlights from film history in Super-8 format. Here, the audience is 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 will also be shown again in Darmstadt (at programmkino rex) and Frankfurt am Main (at Pupille, the university campus cinema, and at Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum).

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. As in the previous two years, for the 35th festival edition the audience will choose the winning film in the Made in Germany section, after the inmate jury from JVA Wiesbaden was again unable to resume its work due to Covid-19. The association Wiesbadener Kinofestival e. V. is organising the competition and sponsoring “DAS BRETT”, the award for the best German film, from a selection comprised of four fiction features and two documentary films. In LIEBE ANGST (2022), we get to know Kim, who struggles every day with her fears, wishing to break the cycle of silence and finally speak about her childhood, about the past of her mother, who was still a child herself as her own mother was sent to Auschwitz, and about her mother’s brother, who committed suicide. Now, Kim finally attempts to get to the bottom of her family’s speechlessness. THE ORDINARIES (2022) also stands out as a particularly original work within the German selection – here the director undertakes an attempt to grapple with the word of cinema itself, as she relates the everyday lives and challenges of a film’s characters. Alongside Paula, a minor character no longer satisfied with her role, we enter a cinema world marked by supporting and leading roles, individuals with film defects, vapid dialogue in the background and equally vacuous talk used to drive the plot. THE ORDINARIES has already been honoured with four awards this year, including Best Debut Film at Munich International Film Festival. 

The European Cinema section assembles twelve highlights from major festivals. In this selection, true crime fans should definitely make sure to catch the Belgian documentary film FOR A FISTFUL OF FRIES (2021). In a highly entertaining manner, the film rolls out 20-year-old documentary material concerning a real case in classic black-and-white, featuring a healthy dose of character comedy as it evolves into a quirky, gripping thriller revolving around Inspector Lemoine and his team. MY EMPTINESS AND I (ES 2022) accompanies the French woman Raphi in her identity crisis: caught between her frustrating job in a Barcelona call centre, unpleasant dates and a gender transition that is proceeding rather haltingly, she dreams of nothing other than finding her Prince Charming and starting a traditional family. Alas, it appears that reality just won’t let that happen so easily. With great sensitivity, this character study depicts a transwoman’s path through a heteronormative world, one characterised by unusual decisions.

The American Independents section brings together three fiction features and three documentaries. The documentary film MUSIC PICTURES: NEW ORLEANS (2022) sets off on a journey into the USA’s music history, to a city that sees itself more than any other as the birthplace of US-American music. The film celebrates the city, with its blues, soul and jazz bands, as well as the significance of live concerts as an element that builds community in our society. BONNIE (2022) pays tribute to legendary casting director Bonnie Timmermann and provides deep insight into her unique casting process. Featuring never-before-seen audition material from major contemporary stars, BONNIE depicts a pioneer who changed cinema by giving minorities a chance and offering young generations new faces to look up to.

The World Cinema section presents current highlights from this year’s festival season, from Brazil, Chile, Morocco, Mexico, Myanmar, Palestine, Iran und the Philippines. exground filmfest is showing eleven documentaries and fiction features, including four national entries for Best International Film at the 2023 Academy Awards. UNTIL TOMORROW from Iran/France (2022) tells the story of Fereshteh, who simultaneously studies, works in a printing shop in Teheran and cares for her child on her own – a child unbeknownst to her parents. When her mother and father spontaneously announce plans to visit, Fereshteh has to find another temporary home for her child, aided by her best friend Atefeh. What follows is an odyssey through nocturnal Teheran that demonstrates how limited women’s options are in the theocratic state. In LEONOR WILL NEVER DIE (PHI 2022), protagonist Leonor Reyes, once an important player in the film world, flees from her reality, which is no longer shaped by success. When she doesn’t know how she’s going to pay her bills any more, she enters a screenplay competition, and begins playing around with an uncompleted script. Alas, one day she finds herself inside her own film, chasing the perfect ending to her story.

Competitions at exground filmfest
In a total of six competitions, exground filmfest is awarding monetary prizes and non-cash prize packages worth approximately 15,000 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 21st IC is composed of Portuguese filmmaker Isabel Aboim Ingez, Börries Müller-Büsching, professor at Rhein-Main University of Applied Sciences, and Swiss filmmaker Jonas Ulrich. 

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 exground filmfest 35 program will be available from 27 October through, as well as via the exground filmfest app.

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

For press accreditation at exground filmfest 35, please feel free to contact us – we would be happy to send you our registration form.