18.04. ‐ 23.04.2023

The Award Winners of the 15th LICHTER Filmfest

The 15th LICHTER Filmfest came to its conclusion with its award ceremony. "Als Susan Sontag im Publikum saß" receives the award for best regional feature-length film, and the short film
"21:71 Uhr" wins the regional short film award. The winner of the virtual reality competition is Nicolas Gebbe with "Lockdown Dreamscape VR." Alice Brygo wins the 12th LICHTER Art Award with her work "Soum." This year's audience award goes to "On the Other Side (Del Otro Lado)" by Iván Guarnizo.


On May 15, the 15th LICHTER Filmfest Frankfurt International officially ended with the grand awards ceremony in the festival center, the Cantate-Saal of the Volksbühne im Großen Hirschgraben. Starting on May 10, 2022, the LICHTER Filmfest showcased current world cinema on the theme of "freedom," highlights of German filmmaking, the best feature-length and short films of the region, virtual reality films and selected contemporary video art.

More than 70 films, audience discussions with filmmakers and film-political panels with guests from over 20 European countries as part of the 2nd ZUKUNFT DEUTSCHER FILM congress created a festival atmosphere over six days. The grand closing of the congress in Frankfurt's Paulskirche with the Greek-French director Costa-Gavras remains unforgotten.

"15 years of LICHTER mean 15 years of colorful film pleasure in Frankfurt. To be able to celebrate this anniversary together with team, filmmakers and audience after two years of pandemic in the cinema hall makes us euphoric for what is yet to come. The festival week has shown us that it is worth believing in the power of film and the future of cinema," say festival organizers Gregor Maria Schubert and Johanna Süß.



Out of ten entries in the Regional Feature Film Competition, RP Kahl's Als Susan Sontag im Publikum saß is honored with the White Bembel embedded with 3,000 euros - donated by the Dr. Marschner Foundation. With his reenactment film, RP Kahl brings an important milestone of feminism into the present: 50 years ago, the writer Norman Mailer got into a combative and witty battle of words in New York's Townhall - with the four writers and activists Jacqueline Ceballos, Germaine Geer, Jill Johnston and Diana Trilling. In the audience is none other than the great intellectual Susan Sontag. RP Kahl restages the debate as a play and at the same time shows in all candor the controversial discussions in which his actresses and he repeatedly get into during rehearsals: about their characters, power, being a woman, sexuality and feminism. When Susan Sontag Sat in the Audience is a lusty plea for the culture of argument.

Als Susan Sontag im Publikum saß
 jumps between different levels of content and form and repeatedly jolts the viewer: inside out of their comfort zone. The film opens up a discourse, provokes and sometimes annoys us. But above all, it encourages us to investigate, to reposition ourselves and to continue the discussion with relish, for example over a glass of beer (as the director suggests)," was the laudatory speech of the jury, consisting of Antonia Kilian (cinematographer, director and producer), Babara Philipp (actress) and Jakob Zimmermann (editor ZDF/Das kleine Fernsehspiel).

The jury awarded an honorable mention to Kassel-based director Fabian Schmalenbach for his documentary Gemeinsam Nüchtern, a multi-perspective observation of self-organized withdrawal on a farm near Marburg. "Without romanticizing or idealizing, the diverse challenges and frictions between the individual and the collective are told observationally. The film goes into depth at the right moments and shows a complex picture of people who want to shape their future in a self-responsible way and who, in order to do so, submit to a strongly rule-based community," according to the jury.


The 1,000 euro prize for the regional short film competition goes to Joey Arand with her film 21:71 Uhr, which deals with forgetting in the form of dementia.

The jury, consisting of Alexandra Gramatke (filmmaker and managing director of the Kurzfilm Agentur Hamburg), Karl-Eberhard Schäfer (film producer) and Peter Meister (freelance writer and director), praised the director's innovative way and creativity of conveying the sensual experience of dementia and making this difficult subject almost physically tangible through impressive cinematic means: "Seemingly disoriented, the subjective camera wanders through an apartment whose furnishings make it clear: someone has already lived a long life here. Searching, the gaze is directed again and again into the rooms, in which fragments of memory - shot on 16 mm - mingle with increasingly clear signs of memory loss: Tomatoes on the dressing table, shoes on the kitchen counter ... We hear the shuffling of slippers, accompanied by a song from the old days. On the sound level, too, the present and the past mix," the jury said in its laudation. "There is a melancholy that emerges without an ounce of sentimentality."

There was an honorable mention for the short film Getrennte Gewalten by Joschua Keßler, which is dedicated to the subject of NSU 2.0. "A short film of remarkable technical sovereignty, which aptly implements a highly topical political issue, also introduces an emotional level through good direction and actors, and shows itself to be of very high quality in terms of images and set design," praised the jury.



Finally, cinema with an audience again! That also means: the audience award, endowed with 1,000 euros, is back! The audience could vote for each feature film with 1 (great) to 5 (can't be done) and chose On the Other Side (Del Otro Lado) by Iván Guarnizo. The autobiographical documentary tells the story of his mother, Beatriz, who is abducted by FARC guerrillas for nearly two years during the Colombian Civil War. When she dies a few years after her release, her sons find the diary in which she describes the time of her captivity. With it, the brothers head into the Colombian jungle in search of the guerrilla fighter who abducted their mother.



This year's LICHTER VR Storytelling Award goes to Lockdown Dreamscape VR by Nicolas Gebbe. The winner can look forward to 1,000 euros in prize money. In this experimental film, an apartment becomes a cosmos through which the viewers float as if through a space station, detached from the rest of the world. Familiar forms dissolve and become something new, but in the end everything just goes round and round in circles.

For the sixth time, the festival presented narrative and documentary 360-degree films in the international competition. The five finalists were selected by a jury of experts consisting of Agata Di Tommaso, Michael Gödde and Mathias Fournier. The jury gave an honorable mention to Tearless by Gina Kim. The film shows in atmospheric images a harrowing testimony of the victims of war and sexual violence. A deserted place that stands for the suffering of abused women in the Korean War. Images that get under the skin.

© Avi Dehlinger


Already on Monday, the winner of the 12th LICHTER Art Award was chosen from five nominated works at basis e.V.: Alice Brygo may take home the Bembel and prize money of 1,000 euros. The jury of this year's LICHTER Art Award, consisting of Cristin Müller (basis e.V.), Gunter Deller (film artist) and Saul Judd (curator LICHTER Art Award) emphasized in their laudation the stylistic as well as thematic particularity of Alice Brygo's work Soum.

The film Soum is about Inti, Jai and Pauline trying to find their place in the world, about generational conflicts and origins, traditions, cultures and the search for one's own identity in a society shaped by capitalist structures. The film oscillates between intimate documentary, artistic performance and surrealistic staging and takes us into the world and intimate adventures of the three young protagonists. Questioning power structures, the film pushes to find a utopian place where culture, origins, history and rituals merge and confront the unresolved questions of the future. "In a time of high capitalist economic and production pressure, where the individual is just a number and community is constantly threatening to disappear, artist and filmmaker Alice Brygo has made a relevant social commentary and convinced us with her virtuoso use of different aesthetic styles," praised the jury.



  • Best Regional Feature Film: Als Susan Sontag im Publikum saß (Director: RP Kahl)
  • Best Regional Short Film: 21:71 Uhr (Director: Joey Arand)
  • Audience Award Feature Length Film: On the Other Side (Del Otro Lado) (Director: Iván Guarnizo)
  • LICHTER VR Storytelling Award: Lockdown Dreamscape VR (Director: Nicolas Gebbe)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Alice Brygo, Soum


  • Best Regional Feature Film: street line (Directors: Justin Peach und Lisa Engelbach)
  • Best Regional Short Film: MILK (Director: Jennifer Kolbe)
  • LICHTER VR Storytelling Award: Replacements - Penggantian (Directors: Jonathan Hagard)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Frankfurter Hauptschule, MOTOR


  • Best Regional Feature Film: LIVE (Director: Lisa Charlotte Friederich)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Nachtschicht (Director: David Dybeck)
  • Short Film Audience Award: Die Vergänglichkeit des Bernd Hasselhuhn (Director: Max Rainer)
  • LICHTER VR Storytelling Award: Aripi (Director: Dmitri Voloshin)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Florencia Levy, Lugar Fósil / Fossil Place


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Khrustal (Crystal Swan) (Director: Darya Zhuk)
  • Best Regional Short Film: We Will Survive (Director: Nele Dehnenkamp)
  • Binding Audience Award: The Watson´s Hotel (Director: Peter Rippl, Ragunath Vasudevan und Nathaniel Knop)
  • LICHTER VR Storytelling Award: The Real Thing (Director: Benoit Felici)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Andrew de Freitas, WEIGHT


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Männerfreundschaften (Director: Rosa von Praunheim)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Horizont (Director: Peter Meister)
  • Binding Audience Award: Women of the Venezuelan Chaos (Director: Margarita Cardenas)
  • LICHTER International Feature Award: Blue My Mind (Director: Lisa Brühlmann)
  • Virtual Reality Storytelling Competition: I, Philip (Director: Pierre Zandrowicz)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Jakob Engel, Waiting for Record


  • Best Regional Feature Film: A Gravame – Das Stahlwerk, der Tod, Maria und die Mütter von Tamburi (Director: Peter Rippl)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Über Druck (Director: Sebastian Binder und Fred Schirmer)
  • Binding Audience Award: Ghostland (Director: Simon Stadler und Catenia Lermer)
  • LICHTER International Feature Award: I am not Madame Bovary (Director: Feng Xiaogang)
  • Virtual Reality Storytelling Competition: Sergeant James (Director: Alexandre Perez)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Tobi Sauer, Simba in New York


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Meine Brüder und Schwestern im Norden (Director: Sung-Hyung Cho)
  • Best Regional Short Film: In the Distance (Director: Florian Grolig)
  • LICHTER International Feature Award: Les Sauteurs (Director: Abou Bakar Sidibé, Estephan Wagner und Moritz Siebert) und Masaan (Regie: Neeraj Ghaywan)
  • Binding Audience Award: Auf einer Skala von 1-10 (Director: Katharina Uhland)
  • LICHTER Art Award: James N. Kienitz Wilkins, B-Roll with Andre


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Sin & Illy still alive (Director: Maria Hengg) und CONDUCT! Jede Bewegung zählt (Director: Götz Schauder)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Ein bisschen Normalität (Director: Michael Schaff und Thomas Toth)
  • Binding Audience Award: Carlo, Keep Swingin' (Director: Elizabeth Ok)
  • LICHTER Courage-Prize: Gewobenes Papier (Director: Michel Klöfkorn)
  • Honorary Mention: Gezeitentümpel (Director: Pablo Zinser), Warum ist der Tisch schräg!/Warum mag jeder Geld! (Director: Stefan Vogt), Sorrow (Director: Mikhail Svyatskiy) und Limit: S.O.S. (Director: Andrzej Klamt)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Jonathan Van Essche, The Second of August


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Erhobenen Hauptes (Director: Gruppe DocView)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Bahar im Wunderland (Director: Behrooz Karamizade) und RE50 Richtung Wächtersbach (Director: Leslie Bauer)
  • Binding Audience Award: The Scrapbox (Director: Daniel Herzog und Robin Wissel)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Bertrand Flanet, Unmanned Distances


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Im Land Dazwischen (Director: Melanie Gärtner)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Misguided (Director: Lukas Rinker)
  • LICHTER Publikumspreis: Die Meta-Morphose (Director: Daniel Siebert)
  • Special Mention of the Jury: Wildwechsel (Director: Gunther Deller)
  • LICHTER Art Award: John Skoog, Sent på Jorden


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Babycall (Director: Pål Sletaune)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Die alte Frau (Director: Ariane Mayer)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Oliver Husain, Dear What's Your Face


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Im Alter von Ellen (Director: Pia Marais)
  • Best Regional Short Film: N Gschichtn (Director: Eva Becker)
  • Special Mention of the Jury: Die Allerletzten (Director: Otmar Hitzelberger)
  • LICHTER Art Award: Luciana Lamothe, Caja Tarro Silla Marco


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Das Schreiben und das Schweigen (Director: Carmen Tartarotti)
  • Best Regional Short Film: T.R.A. (Director: Eva Becker)
  • Special Mention of the Jury: Marivanna (Director: Olga Petrova) und Riverrun & Touchdown (Director: Gunter Deller)


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Endstation der Sehnsüchte (Director: Sung-Hyung Cho)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Adamsapfel (Director: Johannes Baptista Ludwig und Sascha Geerdts)


  • Best Regional Feature Film: Video Kings (Director: Daniel Acht und Ali Eckert)
  • Best Regional Short Film: Der Jäger und der Bär (Director: Joachim Brandenberg)