With some 180 films from 62 countries, the program of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN 2019 was as wide-ranging as it was diverse. A look at the numerous awards presented at the closing ceremony, honoring filmmakers from around the world, confirms this.
Latin America, for example, was very strongly represented this year. The 50,000-euro ARRI/Osram Award went to two Brazilian directors, Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, in the CineMasters competition. Poetic and gory in equal measure, their film BACURAU is an allegory of current events which effortlessly blends very different genres into an unforgettable cinematic experience.
In SONG WITHOUT A NAME, which received the 15,000-euro CineVision Award this year for best international film from a new director, the viewer is taken on a journey back in time. Based on true events, Peruvian director Melina León's gripping black-and-white drama tells the story of a woman whose child is abducted from a purported clinic as soon as it's born.
The events of the Brazilian-German co-production THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURÍDICE GUSMÃO, which received the newly created CineCoPro Award, lie further in the past. In this melodrama by Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz, we meet two nurses who were very close until their paths separated in the 1950s, causing them to forever search for one another.
Looking instead toward the future is the One Future Prize awarded by the Interfilm Academy. This year, Chilean director Juan Cáceres was honored with the award; his film PERRO BOMBA is about the difficulties experienced by a Haitian immigrant who is nonetheless motivated by an unshakable belief in a just world.
The recipients of the New German Cinema Award demonstrated impressively that outstanding works continue to be produced here in Germany as well. Martin Lischke received the award for best producer for LEIF IN CONCERT, in which we experience a lively evening in a busy pub, eavesdropping on odd conversations as we wait for a concert. I WAS, I AM, I WILL BE, about a marriage of convenience between a German pilot and a much younger Kurdish immigrant, even received two awards: Nils Mohl and Ilker Çatak shared the award for best screenplay, while Oğulcan Arman Uslu received the award for best actor. For his long-awaited second film, LARA, Jan-Ole Gerster was presented the award for best director. This drama about a 60-year-old woman who has alienated herself from the rest of her family also received the 2019 FIPRESCI Prize, which is awarded by the international film critics' association, FIPRESCI.
At the 37th edition of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, the audience also got to have a big say in which film was the best. In the end, FOR SAMA won over viewers' hearts. This documentary by Waad Al Kateab and Edward Watts is a heartwarming family portrait as well as an inside look at war-ravaged Syria. The Kinderfilmfest Audience Award went to the imaginative and mesmerizing animated film LOTTE AND THE LOST DRAGONS by Janno Põldma and Heiki Ernits.
Apropos mesmerizing: the new Virtual Worlds section also included its own competition for the best entries. In this context, the 360-degree film ACCUSED #2: WALTER SISULU by Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte was named best linear experience. And last but not least, A FISHERMAN’S TALE by Balthazar Auxietre and Alexis Moroz received the honor of being named best interactive experience and best immersive work.