The recipients of the 2021 German Cinema New Talent Award

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THis year's Award Winners: Franziska Stünkel, Miriam Düssel, Martin Rohde and

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Friday, 07/09/2021

Today, Friday, July 9, the highly endowed German Cinema New Talent Awards were presented at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. The award for best director went to Nikias Chryssos for his film A PURE PLACE. Franziska Stünkel received the award for best screenplay for THE LAST EXECUTION; the award for best producer went to Miriam Düssel for MY SON; and actor Martin Rohde was honored for his outstanding performance in HEIKO’S WORLD. This was his first feature film; for all the other award-winners, it was their second.

Talented individuals involved in ten films that had their world premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN met the criteria for nomination for the German Cinema New Talent Award this year. Nominations were open to all directors, screenwriters, actors, and producers presenting their feature films in the New German Cinema section of the festival, provided it was their first, second, or third feature film. For producers, it had to be at most their sixth film.

The award recipients were chosen by a three-member jury, which this year consisted of: Sophie von Kessel (actress), Komi M. Togbonou (actor and member of the Münchner Kammerspiele ensemble), and Barbara Mundel (artistic director of the Münchner Kammerspiele). The German Cinema New Talent Award is one of the leading awards for young filmmakers in Germany and one of the most lucrative. Endowed with a total of 70,000 euros, the award is sponsored by Bavaria Film, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and DZ Bank.

The award ceremony and the subsequent screening of one of the award-winning films (HEIKO'S WORLD) were held this evening at the PopUp Sommerkino powered by M-net in the courtyard of the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF).



The recipients of the German Cinema New Talent Award 2021 and the jury statements:


German Cinema New Talent Award for BEST DIRECTOR (30,000 euros):

Nikias Chryssos for A PURE PLACE


Jury statement: “As all of us haven’t been to the movies in a long time, we as a jury became even more aware this week of what cinema is capable of. Through impressive images bursting with imagination and images loaded with cinematic effects, we realized once again what we can expect from motion pictures: everything that’s missing in life, perhaps even in everyone’s life!
The unusual, including the sometimes disturbing, peppered with visions of the unimaginable.

We as the jury had the task of selecting the recipient of the New Talent Award for best director according to these criteria, and in this case this also included a wonderful cast of children. We’ve therefore decided to present the German Cinema New Talent Award in the category of directing to A PURE PLACE by Nikias Chryssos. Our sincere congratulations!”



German Cinema New Talent Award for BEST PRODUCTION (20,000 euros):

Miriam Düssel for MY SON


Jury statement: “This psychologically very sound story about an extreme mother-son relationship is modern, contemporary, and particularly touching. It accurately reflects an estrangement across two generations. The shocking start of the film has the viewer hooked from this first moment, and a road movie unfolds which mother and son experience together. Step by step, the impressive scenes of various landscapes and the terrific dialogue between mother and son turn the story into a true cinematic experience. In this way, a most authentic narrative unfolds between members of two generations who appear to have nothing in common, but who love each other deeply in spite of everything. The focus is always on the performance of the two excellent leading actors.”



German Cinema New Talent Award for BEST SCREENPLAY (10,000 euros):

Franziska Stünkel for THE LAST EXECUTION


Jury statement: “There is, unfortunately, a circumstance that is a cause for concern: people are reading less than they used to. The fact that only a screenplay can get a society interested in a true story is sad enough, but apparently it’s necessary. This is an important German story that describes the authoritarian regime of the East German state in a way that is shocking and unnerving. The disturbing truth that the death penalty was applied in East Germany until the mid-1980s was, we believe, not widely known. Coming to terms with our shared history also involves making the unheard, the unspoken, the unseen and the repressed audible and visible.”



German Cinema New Talent Award for BEST ACTOR OR ACTRESS (10,000 euros):

Martin Rohde for HEIKO’S WORLD


Jury statement: “HEIKO’S WORLD is in many ways an unusual film and Martin Rohde is the ‘primus inter pares’ of a wonderful ensemble of sad and valiant losers, of bizarre individuals who fought unselfishly against cold, poverty, humiliation, and loneliness. They fought for the vestige of a dream and hope for a better life.

Heiko would do anything for his mother (played magnificently by Heike Hanold-Lynch), except that in the process he digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole, is cheated and betrayed. This is tragic and bitter, but Martin Rohde manages a fine balancing act that lends his character dignity and wit. Heiko remains calm, very calm — ‘Heiko will take care of it, Mama!’ — but whenever he says this, we know it won’t go well. He will get his revenge, though — in his own way, with outsize tennis strokes, but more importantly with exceptional technique when playing darts.

And this is how this perpetual loser, this pitiful and annoying survivor, becomes a minor winner through his great victory at darts in the pubs of Berlin. The way Martin Rohde plays it, unpretentious, precise, touching, witty, and with a convincing affinity for the world of darts, the sausage stands and corner pubs and the people who frequent them — we think it’s absolutely worth seeing.”