Doerrie family drama takes top prize at German event

BERLIN — Doris Doerrie’s family drama “Cherry Blossoms — Hanami,” which will unspool in competition at the upcoming Berlinale, took the top prize at the prestigious Bavarian Film Awards on Friday.

Producers Molly von Fuerstenberg and Harald Kuegler of Munich-based Olga Film received the EUR 200,000 ($292,410) monetary prize for the pic, about a man with cancer who must come to grips with the unexpected death of his wife.

“Cherry Blossoms” also won thesp Elmar Wepper top actor kudos, while Martina Gedeck took best actress for Vanessa Jopp’s comedy “Meine schoene Bescherung,” about a dyslexic family’s troubling Christmas celebration.

Fatih Akin nabbed the director award for German-Turkish drama “On the Other Side” and best documentary went to Pepe Danquart for “To the Limit,” which focuses on a German sibling mountain climbing duo looking to set a new time record in scaling Yosemite’s El Capitan.

Winning the Special Jury Award was Veit Helmer for his current Sundance contender “Absurdistan,” a modern fairytale set in a sleepy village somewhere between Europe and Asia.

Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (“The Departed”), a German-native who began his career working with Rainer Werner Fassbinder before becoming one of Hollywood’s leading cameramen, was honored with a lifetime achievement award.

The audience award went to Michael “Bully” Herbig for his recent animated hit “Lissi,” a spoof of beloved 1950s German costume dramas about a 19th-century Bavarian princess.

Additional wins included:

- Detlev Buck for “Haende weg von Mississippi,” which took the children and family film prize.

- Ralf Westhoff, who won for screenplay and newcomer director for “Shoppen,” a comedy about desperate singles who join a speed-dating program.

- Benedict Neuenfels, cinematography, for Maria Schrader’s Israeli-German drama “Love Life.”

- Niki Reiser, music, for “Love Life.”

- Elinor Luedde (“Meer is nich”) and Petra Schmidt-Schaller for (“Ein fliehendes Pferd”) for best newcomer stars.

- VGF Award for producers Britta Knoeller and Hans-Christian Schmid of Berlin-based 23/5 Filmproduktion for “And Along Come Tourists.”

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