FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is honoring four women of world cinema at this year’s open-air edition: Munich-based grande dame of film Senta Berger and US actress and director Robin Wright will each receive the CineMerit Award. Franka Potente will receive the Margot Hielscher Award. And a special tribute will pay homage to multiple award-winning Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska. As Robin Wright is in the United States, she will be honored remotely. Senta Berger, Franka Potente, and Małgorzata Szumowska will be in Munich in person.
This year at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, we are proud to present four fantastic female personalities of cinema: Senta Berger, Robin Wright, Franka Potente, and Małgorzata Szumowska. What a terrific foursome!
A down-to-earth star, in German-speaking countries as in Hollywood: Senta Berger
Senta Berger, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday, can look back on an acting career spanning more than seven decades. Her roles have ranged from German films such as OPERATION CAVIAR (1961) to international (co-)productions including CAST A GIANT SHADOW (1966) with Kirk Douglas and John Wayne, to roles in series, be it as Mona in KIR ROYAL (1986), as resolute Munich taxi driver Gerdi in DIE SCHNELLE GERDI (1989–2004), or as detective Dr. Eva Maria Prohacek in UNTER VERDACHT (2002–2019). Berger has received a number of awards, such as the 2009 German Television Award for best actress in a leading role for the TV movie SCHLAFLOS, and a year later the Grimme Preis and the Bavarian Television Award for her acting performance in FRAU BÖHM SAGT NEIN. In 2021, she appeared in the TV movie AN SEINER SEITE with Peter Simonischek. Her next work, OSKARS KLEID, directed by Hüseyin Tabak, is scheduled for release in 2022.
FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will honor Senta Berger with the CineMerit Award for her achievements in the art of film. Following the award ceremony, at Senta Berger’s request, WILLKOMMEN BEI DEN HARTMANNS will be shown. This film was directed by Simon Verhoeven, one of her two sons. He also wrote the screenplay for the film and cast his mother in one of the leading roles. This comedy about an affluent Munich family who take in a refugee was the most successful German film of 2016, drawing more than four million moviegoers.
From award-winning actress to superb director: Robin Wright
Robin Wright had her first leading role in Rob Reiner’s THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987), mesmerized not only FORREST GUMP (1994) in her role as Jenny, was resplendent in such title roles as in MOLL FLANDERS (1996) and THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE (2009), and is as much at home in experimental international cinema (such as Ari Folman’s THE CONGRESS from 2013) as in US blockbusters like WONDER WOMAN (2017). As Claire Underwood, Robin Wright also shone in the hit series HOUSE OF CARDS (2013–2018), serving as executive producer and directing several episodes herself. Now she’s directed her first feature film, LAND, about a woman who retreats to the solitude of the Rocky Mountains after a painful loss and tries to get her life back on a (new) track. Wright herself plays the lead role in this skillfully staged drama, which will be in German theaters from August 5.
FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will present Robin Wright with the CineMerit Award for her achievements in the art of film and will show LAND in its German premiere on a large outdoor screen. Robin Wright, who lives in the United States, will receive her CineMerit remotely. In addition, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will produce and upload an extensive online Filmmakers Live! discussion with her.
Multi-talented on two continents: Franka Potente
With the title role in Tom Tykwer’s 1998 film RUN LOLA RUN, Franka Potente became world-famous in one fell swoop. She went on to thrill audiences in German films such as the thriller ANATOMY (2000), the Michel Houellebecq adaptation ATOMISED (2006), and DIE HETZJAGD (world premiere at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN 2008) as well as in Hollywood productions such as BLOW (2001), THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002), and the TV series TABOO (2017). Potente is also a writer, having published her first collection of stories, “Zehn. Stories”, in 2010, and her first novel, “Allmählich wird es Tag”, in 2014. For her debut as a director, the short film DIGGING FOR BELLADONNA (2006), she was awarded the Grimme Preis along with cinematographer Frank Griebe. Franka Potente now presents her first feature film, HOME, a moving drama about a man who is released from prison after twenty years and attempts to regain his footing in the small US town he came from. The film opens in German theaters on July 29.
As an exceptional artistic personality of impressive versatility and achievements in various cultural disciplines, Franka Potente will be honored with the Margot Hielscher Award at this year’s FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. The award and 10,000 euros in prize money are sponsored by Peter Graf von Schall-Riaucour, the nephew of actress and singer Margot Hielscher, who died in 2017. After the award ceremony is held with Franka Potente attending, HOME will be shown on the big open-air screen.
Masterful œuvre of social criticism and absurd punchlines: Małgorzata Szumowska
In her films, Małgorzata Szumowska repeatedly takes an ironically critical look at contemporary relationships, strict Catholicism, and the crazy excesses of capitalism in her native Poland — infused with a great deal of humor and moments of magical mysticism. Over the years, she has built a masterful œuvre that has earned a number of awards. For 33 SCENES FROM LIFE (2008) she received the Special Jury Prize in Locarno. She has already received three awards at the Berlinale: a Teddy Award for IN THE NAME OF (2013), the Silver Bear for best director for BODY (2015), and the Jury Grand Prix for MUG (2018). Szumowska co-directed her new work NEVER GONNA SNOW AGAIN with longtime artistic partner Michał Englert. The film was financed in part with prize money from the CineCoPro Award, which Match Factory Productions received at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN 2019; it opens in German movie theaters on August 19.
This year, in cooperation with MUBI, the Filmfest is dedicating a tribute to Szumowska. NEVER GONNA SNOW AGAIN will be shown on a large outdoor screen with the director attending. MUBI will also be screening a special online program during the festival: “Homage to Małgorzata Szumowska”. ELLES (2011), BODY, and MUG will be among the films shown.