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    Vincent Wants To Sea wins gold at German Film Awards

    By Martin Blaney | April 11, 2011

    Wolfgang Kohlhaase received the Honorary Award, courtesy Deutsche Filmakademie/Michael Tinnefeld

    Wolfgang Kohlhaase received the Honorary Award, courtesy Deutsche Filmakademie/Michael Tinnefeld

    Ralf Huettner’s Vincent Wants To Sea (Vincent will Meer) picked up the Golden Lola for Best Feature Film at this year’s German Film Awards in Berlin.

    The feelgood comedy about a young man with Tourette’s syndrome, which had been written by actor Florian David Fitz, also attracted the Lola for Best Leading Actor for Fitz who is now preparing his directorial debut Jesus Liebt Mich for UFA Cinema to begin shooting in May. A review of the film by Tanja Meding appeared in KINO – German Film, No. 98 last autumn.

    Other popular winners included three films which had their world premieres during this year’s Berlinale in the Official Competition.

    Wim Wenders’ 3D dance documentary Pina took home the Lola for Best Documentary, while Andres Veiel’s fiction feature debut If Not Us, Who (Wer wenn nicht wir) received the Bronze Lola for Best Film. In addition, members of the German Film Academy voted to give Yasemin Samdereli’s comedy Almanya(Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland) the Lola for Best Screenplay and the Silver Lola for Best Feature Film.

    Meanwhile, Tom Tykwer’s Three (Drei), which had been this year’s big favourite with six Lola nominations, ended the evening with three trophies: for Best Direction, Best Editing (Mathilde Bonnefoy) and Best Leading Actress (for Sophie Rois). Reviews of Tykwer’s love triangle with a difference can be found in KINO – German Film Nos. 98 and 99.

    Although not nominated for the Best Feature Film category, Chris Kraus’ historical drama The Poll Diaries(Poll) set on the eve of the First World War nevertheless continued its successful spate of awards at home and abroad by receiving four of the craft Lolas – for Best Supporting Actor (Richy Müller), Best Cinematography (Daniela Knapp), Best Costume Design (Gioia Raspé) and Best Production Design (Silke Buhr).

    Another of the recent international festival favourites, Florian Cossen’s feature debut The Day I Was Not Born (Das Lied in mir) was recognized with Lolas for Best Music Score and Best Supporting Actress, the latter distinction being accepted in person by Argentinian actress Beatriz Spelzini who had made the long journey to Berlin for the awards ceremony.

    Meanwhile, Arne Birkenstock’s Chandani und ihr Elefant beat off daunting competition from the 3D animation film Animals United (Konferenz der Tiere) to win the Lola for Best Children’s Film.

    A particularly emotional highlight was the presentation of the German Film Academy’s Honorary Award to the veteran screenwriter Wolfgang Kohlhaase who was joined on stage by four actors – Nadja Uhl, Renate Krössner, Andreas Schmidt and Henry Hübchen -– who had appeared in films such as Solo Sunny andSummer In Berlin based on screenplays penned by Kohlhaase.

    In his speech of thanks, the 80-year-old described screenplays as a mixture between “poetry and instruction manual” and said that he “always tries to consider the audience as neighbours who I don’t want to bore.”

    With hardly two months having passed since the untimely passing of Bernd Eichinger in Los Angeles in January, the loss for the German cinema was palpable during the awards ceremony.

    In his speech, minister Neumann recalled how Eichinger had been “visibly moved” on being presented with the Honorary Award last year. “At the time, I thought this is actually much too early because his life’s work seemed to be far from being finished,” Neumann said.

    Now, in retrospect, Neumann said that he was pleased that the German film community had been able to celebrate “the dauntless and sensitive exceptional producer with his burning passion for German cinema”

    Later in the ceremony, Iris Berben, joint president of the German Film Academy, announced that a newLola prize category would be introduced from 2012 with the creation of the Bernd Eichinger Prize to be voted on by all of the Academy’s 1,200-strong membership.

    Initiated by his widow Katja and daughter Nina, the prize will be presented every three years and aims to “honour personalities or teams whose work is distinguished by creative and passionate interaction.”

    Celebrating its 61st jubilee this year, the German film industry’s annual bash – which sees more than € 2.85m in prize-money being distributed to 16 prize categories – was held in Berlin’s Friedrichstadtpalast before an audience of 1,800 guests, including State Minister for Culture Bernd Neumann, boxing champion Vladimir Klitschko, producers Artur “Atze” Brauner, Martin Moszkowicz, Maria Köpf, Rainer Kölmel, actors Heike Makatsch, Karoline Herfurth, Henry Hübchen, Christiane Paul, and Sibel Kekilli, directors Tom Tykwer, Wim Wenders, Detlev Buck, Marco Kreuzpaintner and Oskar Röhler.

    The complete list of prize-winners can be found at www.deutscherfilmpreis.de.

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