German fest wraps with high hopes

MUNICH — A who’s who of German cinema has assembled to form an initiative of supporters for the Munich Film Fest, which wrapped Saturday.

The idea for the informal group, Freundeskreis Filmfest Munchen, came from Senta Berger, Bernd Eichinger, Helmut Dietl, Michael Verhoeven, Dominik Graf and Florian Gallenberger, with the latter three helmers proposed for the group’s board.

With their membership, high-profile industryites intend to promote the fest to the public and to act as a contact for business partners, the fest said. By Saturday, the Freundeskreis listed more than 30 names of reps from film companies and local governments, including Tele Munchen’s Herbert Kloiber, Eos’ Jan Mojto and Kinowelt’s Rainer Koelmel.

Also announced were awards presented by several institutions for pics that ran during the week of Germany’s largest noncompetitive film event. Kudos for German director — donated by Bavaria Film, pubcaster BR and HypoBank — went to debutante Marcus H. Rosenmueller for dark comedy “Wer frueher stirbt ist laenger tot” (Grave Decisions). Writers honored were Meike Hauck and Matthias Luthardt for social drama “Pingpong.”

The One Future Award, highlighting social responsibility in film, went to “Crossing Arizona” by Joseph Mathew and Dan DeVivo. Web 13th Street gave its Shocking Shorts Award to Arne Jysch and Rasmus Borowski for “Das Beste.”

Audience awards went to Jason Reitman’s “Thank You for Smoking” and to Mischa Kamp’s kids pic “Winky’s Horse.”

Announced before the festival were the lifetime achievement Cine Merit Award for Barry Levinson and the Bernhard Wicki award Die Bruecke, presented by helmer Costa-Gavras and former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, for Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s debut, “The Life of Others.”

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