Sidebar targets best of Teutonic TV

The Munich Film Festical celebrates German TV

One of the Munich Film Festival’s unique features is its German TV Movies section, devoted to the country’s best and often controversial TV productions.

The fest has long had a focus on the smallscreen — the current German TV Movies sidebar grew out of a broader international tube section in 2000, a natural fit for the fest in view of the local film industry’s close ties to German broadcasters, not to mention the fact that Munich is one of the country’s most significant TV production hubs.

Producer Nico Hofmann, head of production company TeamWorx, which has four movies in this year’s 18-title lineup, says the sidebar offers local TV producers an immensely important platform.

“The Munich Film Festival is the second-biggest festival in Germany after the Berlinale,” Hofmann says, “and for us as a production company it is of enormous significance. The German TV Movies section gives us the possibility to present productions and raise issues not only to a national but also international audience made up of industry and media representatives as well as festivalgoers.”

With a clear international slant, this year’s crop explores such issues as sleeper terrorist cells, peacekeeping missions and international arms dealing. The sidebar also looks at domestic issues, such as the future of health care, adolescent violence and child abuse.

Fest organizers say this year’s selection offers a discernible increase in “more serious and even difficult topics in the primetime pipeline.”

Pressing social issues are in focus in Ziegler Film and ZDF’s “2030: Revolt of the Young,” in which the healthcare debate takes on a whole new meaning. Set two decades in the future, in which the rift between rich and poor has widened to dangerous proportions, the drama follows a journalist who uncovers a growing medical scandal while victims of a broken healthcare system unite to fight for their rights. Pic is a followup to the hit 2007 mini “Revolt of the Old.”

In Sat.1’s “The Sleeper’s Wife,” from Cologne-based 20:15 Film, Yvonne Catterfeld stars as a young woman who sets out to find her husband after she learns that he is a member of a terrorist sleeper cell and has taken their young son to his native Sudan.

“Congo,” Peter Keglevic’s TeamWorx production for ZDF, follows a military investigator looking into the apparent suicide of an elite German soldier serving in a European peacekeeping mission in East Congo, only to come up against a wall of resistance by his comrades and top military brass.

A number of pics tackle the heavy themes of adolescent violence and child abuse. In “She Deserved It,” Thomas Stiller’s TeamWorx drama for ARD, Veronica Ferres (who also co-produced) stars as the mother of a 16-year-old girl murdered by a troubled classmate who reaches out to the imprisoned offender to find out why she did it.

Marc-Andreas Borchert’s episodic film “Empathy,” a Tellux-Film production for regional educational pubcaster BR-alpha, follows the stories of three troubled young people in Berlin, while Rainer Kaufmann’s “Go Silent” examines child abuse in a story about a police officer who, while dealing with her own challenges as a single mother, investigates the disappearance of a small boy.

“TV movies produced in Germany — financial crisis or not — have never been as diverse, original and as good as they are now,” says section programmer Ulrike Frick.

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