Virtual Worlds and Real Encounters
FILMFEST MÜNCHEN takes stock: Alongside two new projects — Virtual Worlds and the CineCoPro Award — the focus continued to be on movie theaters as a meeting places.
Cinema is thriving! Not only does the newly created 100,000-euro CineCoPro Award invoke the international, indeed worldwide, power of films to bring people together. The 37th FILMFEST MÜNCHEN's guests of honor also love every aspect of cinema. Distinguished actors Antonio Banderas and Ralph Fiennes were each presented a CineMerit Award for their cinematic accomplishments. US actor Jesse Eisenberg brought his latest work to Munich as the festival's opening film, Louis Garrel received the Margot Hielscher Award, and Trine Dyrholm was here with two of her films. Korean director Bong Joon Ho, whose Golden Palm in Cannes made him the man of the hour, showed his latest film, "Parasite", at the festival alongside a retrospective of his works. Danish documentary provocateur Mads Brügger's own retrospective — and appearance at the festival — made hearts everywhere skip a beat. It's no wonder: his politically investigative films are very much in vogue.
One thing is clear: the (festival) audience is becoming noticeably more political and more sophisticated. Films offering criticism of society are in demand, and art house cinema is gaining ground. At the same time, a substantial proportion of the entertainment on offer is moving to other distribution channels outside of classical cinema. This is a paradigm shift that's been noticeable for a while and that demands a response.
"We as a festival seek to confront this challenge. Naturally we want to continue to focus on the movie theater as a magical place where people come together, on the unforgettable moments when the audience can meet internationally and nationally known filmmakers and talk to them directly. The innumerable and lively Q & As after the film screenings as well as the enlightening and entertaining Filmmakers Live! discussions are proof of this," says FILMFEST MÜNCHEN director Diana Iljine. "We do realize, however, that going to the movies has to develop into more of an experience, a real event. It's not just about watching a movie, but rather about discovering new forms of audiovisual storytelling as well. And that's precisely where FILMFEST MÜNCHEN has begun to take things this year."
In this vein, the new virtual reality exhibition "Virtual Worlds", jointly conducted with the Bavarian Film Centre, was a resounding success. The impressive number of visitors bears witness to this: the more than 3,000 available time slots for the different VR experiences by leading international artists were booked solid. The future of audiovisual storytelling began this year at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. Some 70,000 people attended film screenings at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN this year. In addition, the number of associated events, parties, and industry events rose significantly to more than 150 in total — meaning that in 2019, more industry representatives than ever met up in Munich to initiate new projects, exchange ideas, and celebrate.
The presentation of the 100,000-euro CineCoPro Award this year for the first time, to a German-Brazilian co-production, consolidates FILMFEST MÜNCHEN's reputation as a central meeting point for film professionals. This is a significant step toward becoming a mainstay of the German and international film industry.