The Winners of the 12th LICHTER Filmfest

“Crystal Swan“ by Darya Zhuk receives the award for the best regional long film at the 12th LICHTER Filmfest. The short film “We Will Survive“ by Nele Dehnenkamp wins the regional short film award. Peter Rippl, Ragunath Vasudevan and Nathaniel Knop celebrate receiving the LICHTER Audience Award for their film “The Watson’s Hotel“. The winner of the Virtual Reality competition is “The Real Thing“ by Benoit Felici. This year’s LICHTER Art Award goes to Andrew de Freitas and his video art instalment “WEIGHT“.

On Sunday, the 12th LICHTER Filmfest Frankfurt International ended with a festive award ceremony and the closing film “Too Late To Die Young“. From the 26th to the 31st of March, we filled the Theater Willy Praml (Naxoshalle), the Mal Seh‘n Kino, the Harmonie Kinos, the DFF – Deutsches Filmmuseum & Filminstitut, the student cinema Pupille as well as the festival centre TOR Art Space with more than a hundred films, talks and events. A record for twelve years of LICHTER: more tickets have never been sold and never have more screenings been completely sold out as this year. Compared to last year, less events have been held, so the Festival welcomed 10.000 visitors.

At the centre of the 12th LICHTER edition was the theme NATURE. „As in the past years, we are firmly on the pulse of the times. Film is the perfect medium of experiencing nature and emphasising that we have to take responsibility and change our behaviour towards the environment “, says festival director Gregor Maria Schubert. 

Zukunft Deutscher Film

In the past two years, LICHTER hasn’t just presented international film highlights and the best long- and short films from Hesse and Rhine-Main, but also collected a selection of the bext current films from Germany. Groundbreaking debuts, celebrated festival darlings and new directing hopes of German film are now a staple of the festival in the section “Zukunft Deutscher Film“.

In the accompanying programme Zukunft Deutscher Film, representatives of the film industry and politics discussed the continuation of the Frankfurt Positions that have emerged from the 11th LICHTER Filmfest last year. “We have supported a cinema for artistic freedom again this year. In the future, we would like to collect film-political initiatives under the umbrella of ‘Zukunft Deutscher Film‘ and negotiate the strategic question ‘Reformation or Revolution‘“, says Johanna Süß, deputy festival director.

© Philipp Kohler
© Philipp Kohler

The regional LICHTER competition

From nine films in the regional long film competition by the Dr. Marschner Stiftung, Khrustal (Crystal Swan) by the director Darya Zhuk was awarded the White Bembel and the prize sum of 3.000 Euro. In the film, a DJane from Belarus dreams of travelling to Chicago and having her big break in the birthplace of house music. But the way there in the post-soviet republic of the early 1990’s is rocky. “Darya Zhuk’s envelops her audience in a candy-coloured world of images, just to surprise them with sudden violence. In that, the film manages to portray the abyss without slipping into a corny social drama or feigning profundity. Full of lust and humour, without being voyeuristic or old-fashioned, it asks ‘Staying or leaving?’ in a way that leaves the audience room to feel actual ambivalence of a social situation“, says the jury’s reasoning. The jury consisted of the actress Jenny Schily, the producer Birgit Gamke and the director Susanne Heinrich. Birgit Gernböck, raised in Frankfurt, accepted the award at the festive ceremony.

The film Barstow, California received honourable mentions by Rainer Komers. The documentary portrait about a village along the Route 66 convinced the jury through its atmospheric images of the Mojave-desert that turn into a tender, cautious swan song on a forgotten place, whose glorious past only appears in utopic memories.

The prize for the best regional short film goes to the documentary “We Will Survive“, in which Nele Dehnenkamp visits the inhabitants of the Julie-Roger Haus that spend their last days there. “The film shows its strength in portrays the everyday life in the house in a way that makes the quality of life in spite of the difficulties of old age recognisable for the audience“, reads the jury’s reasoning. Ralph Förg (director of the Filmhaus Frankfurt), Isabel Gathof (director) and Jonatan Schwenk (filmmaker and animator) praise the humorous and sensitive approach of the director. We Will Survive is a documentary that takes the fear of aging. Dehnenkamp is happy to receive 1.000 Euro. At the awards ceremony, her cameraman Bo-Christian Riedel-Petzold accepted the award on her behalf. “Fest“ by Nikita Diakur received honourable mentions, because in the eyes of the jury, it captivates with its innovative making: “The filmmakers manage to show the element of surprise and the unforeseeable even through the most controllable of animation techniques, the 3D animation.”

© Philipp Kohler
© Philipp Kohler

The Binding Audience Award

The Binding Audience Award gives the audience at the LICHTER Filmfest the possibility of awarding their favourite film. The award is endowed with 2.000 Euro and went to The Watson’s Hotel this year. In the documentary, the directors Peter Rippl, Ragunath Vasudevan and Nathaniel Knop follow the story of a hotel from the 19th century in the Indian capital Mumbai, in which cinema- and colonial history meet.

Virtual Reality Storytelling Competition

The LICHTER VR Storytelling Award this year went to "The Real Thing“ by Benoit Felici. For the third time already, the festival presents 360° films specially made to watch with VR glasses in an international competition. The five finalists were chosen by a jury consisting of VR director Ricarda Saleh, Kai Beck (ZDF digital) and Philip Weiss (metricminds) from more than 90 entries. The VR screenings were held in cooperation with Pico Interactive and VRCM and were fully sold out once more.

© Philipp Kohler
© Semira Ben Ajili

The LICHTER Art Award

 For WEIGHT, the artist and filmmaker Andrew de Freitas was awarded on Tuesday evening with the LICHTER Art Award. The competition for contemporary video art is endowed with 1.000 Euro. More than 120 works were submitted in the eight edition of the Art Award. In an interview film, the director speaks to his friend Lees Brenson, a trans musician and performer. Brenson, who came to Canada from the Ukraine, talks about her childhood, badly paid short term jobs, her own music and her performances. Together, they reflect on the relationship to one’s own weight, music and the feeling of comfort.

The jurors Tamara Grcic (Professor at the Kunsthalle Mainz), Christina Lehnert (curator at the Kunsthalle Portikus) and Saul Judd (curator of the LICHTER Art Award) used their laudation to praise the incredibly open visual documentary, that can be interpreted as a prologue to the life story of many other people.

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