Camera-ready honors

German awards fete Teuton TV, international talent

The Golden Camera ceremony, one of Germany’s most prestigious award shows, is paying tribute to Teutonic television and talent as well as international stars who have had a lasting impact on German audiences.

Among those being honored on Feb. 5 in Berlin are John Travolta, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Gloria Gaynor.

Presented annually by Hoerzu, Europe’s biggest weekly TV magazine, the Golden Camera fetes actors, TV movies and news and entertainment shows as well as film, TV and entertainment personalities.

Travolta will be honored as best international actor while Mueller-Stahl and Gaynor will receive Golden Cameras for lifetime achievement.

“We do not award Hoerzu’s Golden Camera arbitrarily,” says Hoerzu editor-in-chief Christian Hellmann, pointing out that the award has had 14 fixed categories since 2008. “It is important to us that the prize winners have moved the public strongly and are not simply seen as passing fads.”

Looking at local talent and productions, Hellmann sees positive creative developments in the industry.

“German films have become increasingly sophisticated. It’s a trend we have seen for quite some time. Dealing with delicate and problematic subject matter is no longer the major exception. Production companies in general have become more courageous, which has benefited the quality of their productions. In 2010, for example, socially conscious productions such as ‘Civil Courage’ and ‘Unspoken’ (two of this year’s best movie nominees) were especially outstanding.”

The Golden Camera jury, comprising high-profile film and TV reps as well as Hoerzu editors, chooses both the nominees and winners in the various categories.

This year’s German actress nominees include Anna Loos, who starred in a number of recent productions, including “Weissensee,” a six-part ARD series set in East Berlin during the 1980s; Nina Kunzendorf, who likewise toplined several TV movies, among them ARD’s hit drama “Until Nothing Is Left,” about a young family and their experience with Scientology; and Chilean native Carolina Vera, who portrayed an illegal Honduran immigrant in pubcaster ZDF’s drama “Schutzlos.”

Among the actor nominees are Max Riemelt, who starred in ARD’s gritty 10-part crime drama “Im Angesicht des Verbrechens”; Ulrich Tukur, who toplined ARD’s “Gier” (Greed) as a corrupt broker; and Herbert Knaup, who, among other roles, portrayed Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in the ARD production “Eichmanns Ende.”

All three nominated TV movies this year are ARD productions: “In aller Stille” (Unspoken), Rainer Kaufmann’s drama about child abuse; Dror Zahavi’s “Zivilcourage” (Civil Courage), about the impact of rising crime and ethnic tensions in a Berlin neighborhood; and “Wie einst Lilly” (Just Like Lilly), Achim von Borries’ episode of the hit “Tatort” crime drama movie series.

The Golden Camera presents a single award, the Lilli Palmer & Curd Juergens Gedaechtniskamera, which is endowed with a monetary prize of ?20,000 ($26,672) for young up-and-coming thesps.

Hellmann says it’s rewarding to see former young talents such as Barbara Auer and Matthias Schweighoefer, who were honored with the Lilli Palmer & Curd Juergens award early on in their careers, still doing outstanding work years later: “It’s impossible to imagine the film and TV landscape without them. That illustrates a positive generational change.”

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