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Goodbye, Eberhard Hauff

Diana Iljine
Diana Iljine

FILMFEST MÜNCHEN mourns the passing of its founding father and longtime festival director Eberhard Hauff.

Goodbye, Eberhard Hauff

Without his vision and his tireless effort in the early days, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN would probably not exist. Eberhard Hauff was one of the driving forces within a group of filmmakers who, in the early 1980s, set the goal of creating a platform, mainly for German films, which would have nationwide appeal. In 1983, the first FILMFEST MÜNCHEN was held, with Eberhard Hauff as director and a first-rate program that turned out to be international after all. The festival opened with Bill Forsyth’s tragicomedy “Local Hero” at the Gloria Filmpalast on Karlsplatz (Stachus).

Eberhard Hauff was an author, director, and producer. He was also a member of numerous committees and associations, in which he was a passionate advocate of German films and film culture. In FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, he created a festival that to this day shares this passion with countless filmmakers, the international and German film industry, and audiences. A festival — although he really disliked this word and preferred instead to speak of a fest — that offers some a stage and others the space in front of the silver screen and thus a window into many realms. A place of discovery, of discussion, of confrontation, but also of celebration: in other words, a FILM-FEST.

Eberhard Hauff directed the festival until 2003. He was succeeded by Andreas Ströhl from 2003 to 2011. Diana Iljine has directed FILMFEST MÜNCHEN since August 2011.

“With immense gratitude, we remember Eberhard Hauff as a facilitator and champion of film as a cultural asset, who launched FILMFEST MÜNCHEN in the early 1980s and firmly established it in the city,” says festival director Diana Iljine.

What was Hauff’s impetus in the late 1970s and early 1980s to pursue this idea of a festival in Munich? Hauff himself explained in an interview for München Mosaik: “We want to come up with something of our own, something typical of Munich and the residents of this city. Because I always felt that the word ‘festival’ is a catchword that is misused for a lot of events, so we decided to call it FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. That comes closer regarding content to what I envision for Munich.” He continued: “Without public awareness there will be no film subsidies, and without subsidies there will be no German films. My particular concern is for German cinema and its subsidies. I have a commitment to my colleagues, to those who are well known like Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders, but also to those who have not yet made it. We see our Filmfest as PR for the movies in general and we want to include as many Munich filmmakers and film companies as possible. Cinema to me is a site for encounters but also for confrontation and for moviegoers it’s something like a second life. Most of my friends and younger colleagues agree.”

Having lived a long and fulfilling life, Eberhard Hauff passed away on October 13, 2021 at the age of 89. We will remember him with gratitude and fondness. We extend our sympathy to his brother Reinhard Hauff, his family and his friends.

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