The bittersweet comedy from Berlin-based X Filme, about a man trying to convince his ailing die-hard communist mother that East Germany still exists months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, was picked up in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics on the eve of the show.
Pic, the biggest German hit of the year with box office earnings of $41 million, had been odds-on favorite to win the top categories, and there were few surprises at the ceremony, held in Berlin’s sweltering Tempodrom on a hot early summer evening.
Bruhl, who also won for his role in Zuli Aladag’s boxing drama “Elefantenherz,” was honored with the audience prize as actor of the year. Thesp won actor last year for “No Regrets,” “The White Sound” and “Vaya con dios.”
Florian Lukas was named supporting actor for his comedic stint in “Good Bye, Lenin!” Pic also took prizes for editing (Peter R. Adam), production design (Lothar Holler) and music (Yann Tiersen), as well as the audience award.
It didn’t sweep everything though; “Lenin” thesp Kathrin Sass was the favorite to take actress kudos but was beaten out by Hannelore Elsner, who was honored for her performance in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s “My Last Film.” Corinna Harfouch took supporting actress for her role as a witch in Germany’s most successful film of 2002, “Bibi Blocksberg.” The foreign film award went to Stephen Daldry’s “The Hours.”
The lifetime achievement award for German cinema was presented to Ulrich Gregor, head of the nonprofit org Friends of the German Film Archive.
The Federal Office for Cultural and Media Affairs, which sponsors the Lolas, granted $3.4 million in prizes to winners. “Good Bye, Lenin!” has now sold to 63 countries, including the U.S. Pic recently opened in Italy and will be coming next to theaters in the U.K. and France.
“We are looking forward to working with our friends at Sony Pictures Classics again to try to beat the U.S. success of ‘Run Lola Run,'” said X Filme producer and co-founder Stefan Arndt. “They have proven time and again that no other studio can match their experience in launching a foreign film in the States.”
Negotiations were handled by Arndt and Andro Steinborn for X Filme; managing director Michael Weber and Georg Hoess on behalf of Bavaria Film Intl., which is handling world sales; and, for SPC, Barker, Bernard, Marcie Bloom and senior VP Dylan Leiner.
“Good Bye, Lenin!,” Gold Lola
“Distant Lights,” Silver
“Naked” Film, Silver
Wolfgang Becker, “Good Bye, Lenin!”
Hannelore Elsner, “My Last Film”
Daniel Bruehl, “Elefantenherz” and “Good Bye, Lenin!”
Corinna Harfouch, “Bibi Blocksberg”
Florian Lukas, “Good Bye, Lenin!”
“Rivers and Tides”
“The Flying Classroom”
Thomas Riedelsheimer, “Rivers and Tides”
Peter R. Adam, “Good Bye, Lenin!”
Lothar Holler, “Good Bye, Lenin!”
Yann Tiersen, “Good Bye, Lenin!”
Almut Getto, “Do Fish Do It?”
Maggie Peren and Dennis Gansel, “Napola”
Lifetime Achievement Award