FILMFEST MÜNCHEN has long been a major staging ground for the world premieres of German films. Now, due to the success of Marcelo Gomes’ “Paloma” (Brazil, 2022) following its world premiere in Munich last year, the festival calendar is being shaken up as more and more inspiring international films are having their debut at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN.
This year, Germany’s largest summertime film festival will be presenting no fewer than six world premieres of international films, thanks to the efforts of reliable partners (HanWay Films, Visit Films, Sphere Films, Gaumont, Black Sheep Film Productions, Jürgen Brüning Filmproduktion). All of these films are in search of German distributors. Exciting features and documentaries from the United States, Canada, the UK, France, and Israel are waiting to be discovered in the different international sections and competitions of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. Directors and talent will be attending these world premieres in Munich and presenting their films in person.
“We aim to be the discoverers of new films and new talent, of international gems and masters of their art. Independent cinema is struggling right now. The world is in crisis: the economy, the film industry, the arts. This means that festivals are more important than ever when it comes to distributing films and finding (new) audiences. We aim to be the birthplace of German as well as of international films. This is a new boutique strategy for six select international independent productions that trust us to handle their world premieres,” says Christoph Gröner, artistic director of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN.
This development is part of an organic evolution toward a more international scope and greater contextualization at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. Through such initiatives as the introduction of the CineRebels competition in 2022, the CineCoPro Conference in the same year, and various international collaborations, the Filmfest is focusing on bringing the German film industry and international partners together. This inspired the British daily newspaper “The Guardian” to rank FILMFEST MÜNCHEN among the top 10 summertime film festivals in Europe last year.
Commenting on the success of “Paloma” last year, Marcelo Gomes, the film’s director, said: “It was fabulous to hold the world premiere of ‘Paloma’ in Munich in such a friendly and respectful environment before screening the film elsewhere. The critics, the press, and the audience gave us a warm response, and for the first time we had the opportunity to discuss the film with an engaged crowd. The interviews we did with the press were also fundamental to understanding how the film resonates with a larger audience. It was also great to be part of a larger discussion about trans identity that was going on at the Amerikahaus. In short, Munich gave us the confidence to pursue an international career.”
Sweet Sue by Leo Leigh
With his directorial debut "Sweet Sue", director Leo Leigh celebrates his world premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. Leigh has already attracted considerable attention with a number of documentaries, such as "Swansea Love Story" (2009) about the widespread heroin addiction among young people in Wales. In his feature film debut "Sweet Sue", Leigh also tries to take a look at struggling existences, but uses a humorous approach. Sue (O’Neill) is now back on the dating scene. She meets a mysterious biker called Ron (Pitts) at her brother’s funeral and sparks fly. But when she meets Ron’s social-media influencer son Anthony (Trevaldwyn), Sue finds herself in an increasingly surreal battle of wills with this ambitious teenager who is convinced that his dance troupe ‘Electric Destiny’ is tipped for stardom. Will she find the purpose and imagination to bring this little unconventional family together for a chance at happiness? Sweet Sue is a Somesuch, SUMS Film & Media production for BBC Film.
UKI by Shu Lea Cheang
Shu Lea Cheang is a pioneer of queer new media art who seeks to overwhelm her viewers. Her works involve elements of queer cinema, science fiction, pornography, and networked installation and performance scenarios. The characters in Cheang’s films question heteronormativity and social norms and explore perspectives on liberated sexuality. Cheang’s latest production, “UKI”, is being screened as a world premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. In this film with a futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic, a sex worker and replicant named Reiko finds herself in a dystopia in the year 2060. Made redundant and discarded in a landfill for electronic waste, Reiko attempts to regain control of her cybernetic body. “UKI” is produced by Jürgen Brüning Filmproduktion.
A Respectable Woman by Bernard Émond
Canadian director Bernard Émond made a convincing debut at the Cannes Film Festival with his feature film “La femme qui boit”. Now he’s presenting his latest work, “A Respectable Woman”, in its world premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. Émond describes himself as an agnostic and “conservative socialist”, which particularly manifests itself in the humanistic and at times spiritual depth of his works. This also applies to “A Respectable Woman”, which paints an empathetic as well as historical portrait of a woman betrayed. In a plot based on Luigi Pirandello’s short story “Such Is Life”, Émond introduces us to Rose Lemay (Florent), who takes back her ex-husband Paul-Émile (Dubreuli) after the death of his lover. From that liaison, he brings three daughters with him, whom Rose is now expected to take care of. “A Respectable Woman” is a Corporation ACPAV inc. production.
The Edge of the Blade by Vincent Perez
Vincent Perez is celebrating his comeback as a director at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, presenting “The Edge of the Blade” in its world premiere. This innovative update of cloak and dagger films takes its audience to 19th-century Paris, where it focuses on an unlikely couple. Feminist Marie-Rose Astie (Tillier) wants to be initiated into the art of dueling and needs help from a charismatic master of arms, Clément Lacaze (Zem). Prior to establishing himself as a director with his first short films “L’Échange” (1992), “Rien Dire” (1999), and “Hier, tu m’as dit demain” (2000), Perez delivered a convincing performance as an actor in a variety of films. In 2002, Perez’s first feature film, “Peau d’Ange”, was released, but in 2016 the war drama “Alone in Berlin” was to be his last film for a while. “The Edge of the Blade” marks Perez’s return to the big screen. “The Edge of the Blade” is a Gaumont production.
The Return from the Other Planet by Assaf Lapid
“The Return from the Other Planet”, Assaf Lapid’s debut film as a director, is being presented to a world audience for the first time. This documentary portrays author Yechiel De-Nur, who in 1945, after his liberation from Auschwitz, published books about his experience of the Holocaust under the pseudonym Ka-Tzetnik (“the man from the camps”). To date, Lapid, an Israeli filmmaker, has made a name for himself as a screenwriter and editor. Currently, he is co-editing Oscar nominee Dror Moreh’s new project, “Corridors of Power”, an eight-part documentary series for Showtime, the BBC, and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN). “The Return from the Other Planet” is produced by Black Sheep Film Productions.
Edge of Everything by Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman
Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman are writer-directors from Los Angeles who carefully craft their characters and pay great attention to detail. They’re celebrating the world premiere of their first feature film, “Edge of Everything”, at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. In this tender coming-of-age story, 15-year-old Abby (McCormick) is forced to grow up faster than she’d expected. When her mother dies, Abby moves in with her father (Harner) and his new girlfriend (Friedman-Seitz). In her search for direction, Abby befriends a rebellious girl named Caroline (Simpkins), who is not always a good role model, but who gives her a fresh perspective on life’s trials and tribulations.
Images for all the films can be found here.
The complete schedule of the 40th FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will be announced on June 13. Please send any questions and requests for images or interviews to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accreditation Journalists seeking accreditation for FILMFEST MÜNCHEN 2023 can find information on press accreditation for 2023 here.
Accreditation deadline: June 9, 2023