© Philipp Kohler

The Laureates 2017

A Gravame – Das Stahlwerk, Der Tod, Maria und die Mütter von Tamburi (The Steelworks, Death, Maria and the Mothers of Tamburi) by Peter Rippl receives the award for best regional feature film at the 10th LICHTER film festival. The LICHTER international feature award on the theme „Truth“ goes to I am not Madame Bovary by Feng Xiaogang. The short documentary Über Druck (On Pressure) by Sebastian Binder and Fred Schirmer wins regional shortfilm. Simon Stadler and Catenia Lermer can rejoice over their win of the LICHTER audience award for Ghostland. The winner of the new virtual reality competition is “Sergeant James” by Alexandre Perez.

With a solemn award ceremony and the closing film Just like our parents, the anniversary edition of the LICHTER film festival ended Sunday evening. From 28th of March to 2nd of April, LICHTER played and showed over 100 international and regional films as well as lectures and exhibitions at the Mousonturm and numerous other venues in the region.

“The past years of the festival have shown that Frankfurt is the right place for a big, international film festival. For our tenth anniversary, we have set ourselves new challenges and have greatly extended the diversity of our programme”, is the statement of head of the festival Gregor Maria Schubert. With the new category Zukunft Deutscher Film (Future German Film), LICHTER presents curated highlights of the German film scene. The five entries prove how brave and experimental up-and-coming German directors are in their work.

“Especially among young filmmakers many talents can be found that would be drowned out in regional film. Here in Frankfurt we offer them visibility and access to an enthusiastic audience,” so Johanna Süss, the deputy festival director notes.

“As the first German film festival to do so, we have awarded a Virtual Reality contest in 2017. We have our finger on the pulse of the time – every VR-screening was sold out,” says Schubert as well. In total, 10.000 visitors have come to the LICHTER film festival this year.

The LICHTER international feature award

For the second time, the LICHTER Filmfestival is awarding the best feature film from the international programe on the theme “Truth”. The Jury, consisting of director Niko Apel, ZDF/3Sat editor Nicole Baum, theatre director Betty Berr and production designer Rainer Wothe have decided on the Chinese tragic comedy I am not Madame Bovary.
Known in China as a Blockbuster-director, Feng Xiaogang offers a satirical and very amusing view on the Kafkaesque system of justice in China. After being cheated on by her ex-husband, the café owner Li Xuellan bravely and resolutely tries to go against the Chinese system of justice. The Jury praised the circle-shaped image format, “that gives the feeling of watching the action through a telescope.” This entirely new cinematic experience reminded of old Chinese drawings. “This film is a strong plea for the resistance of an individual against the bureaucratic, political machinery of China and so is not just radical in its aesthetic, but is a subversive masterpiece as well,” is the argumentation given by Jury.

Eleven films have competed for the prize of 2.000 euro, sponsored by Prolight + Sound.

The regional LICHTER competition

From nine entries in the Regional Feature Film category, Peter Rippl’s A Gravame – das Stahlwerk, der Tod, Maria und die Mütter von Tamburi (The Steelworks, Death, Maria and the Mothers of Tamburi) was awarded the white bembel and the prize money of 2.000 euro. The documentary portrays the native inhabitants of a town in the south of Italy, that suffer from the biggest steelworks in Europe. The Jury argues that: “Peter Rippl has succeeded in making a film that brands itself into your brain. Borrowing from documentary neo-realism in Italy, ‘A Gravame’ brings the history of the town Tarent to live through the narrative retelling of the people’s memories. At the same time their hopes. Everyday lives and the deeply embedded Catholicism in the shadow of Holy Week ‘Settimana Santa’ become visible.” The filmmakers Pepe Danquardt und Mischka Popp, as well as the actors Numan Acar and Reza Brojerdi praised the film for being highly topical in times of precarious living conditions in the south of Europe.

The prize for the best regional shortfilm was awarded to Sebastian Binder and Fred Schirmer for the documentary Über Druck (On Pressure). The arguments of the Jury: “The filmmakers have approached a universal, mundane phenomenon in such a nonchalant and sympathetic manner, that the intelligence and masterful ways of their filmic discourse only come across at a second glance.” Producer Robert Hertel and the directors Sylvie Hohlbaum and Christel Schmidt also praise the authentic and wonderfully peculiar and strange protagonists, as well as the unassuming nature of the cinematography. Both directors were happy to receive 1.000 euro each, along with two vouchers for lectures, sponsored by the Filmhaus Frankfurt.

The Binding audience award

The Binding audience award gives the festival goers the possibility of endorsing their personal favourite. The prize includes prize money of 2.000 euro, given this year to Ghostland. In the film, the filmmakers Simon Stadler and Catenia Lermer accompany the native inhabitants of Namibia on a journey to Frankfurt am Main.

Competition virtual reality storytelling

The winning VR film Sergeant James, made by French filmmaker Alexandre Perez succeeded against more than 50 entries and received the financial prize of 1.000 euro, sponsored by our main sponsor, the Aventis Foundation. The five finalists came from Russia, Germany, France, Ireland and Canada, and transported the festivalgoers into most diverse image-worlds at our studioNAXOS location. After the competition, international experts engaged in discussion on their experiences with storytelling in virtual worlds, all at a conference by the ZDF digital VR-Lab. Additionally, filmmakers were given the opportunity to get to know the tools and trades of making VR-content at a two-day fair.

The LICHTER art award

On Tuesday evening, the artist and filmmaker Tobi Sauer was already awarded with the LICHTER Art Award for his work Simba in New York. The competition for contemporary video art is sponsored with a prize of 1.000 euro. Over 80 entries have been submitted for the seventh edition of the Art Award. On grounds of both content and formalities, the video essay could convince, according to Jury member Olaf Stüber in his laudatory speech: “Sauer’s film is on the hunt for the ‘true America’ and – as it is said there – for the new world, next to Peter Pan’s Neverland our place of longing.” In addition to the curator and gallerist, the Jury consisted of the artist Mathilde Ter Hejine as well as the head curator of the LICHTER Art Award, Saul Judd.