Cologne confab sinks ‘Teeth’ into mini

Lineage project tops event; 'Last' takes non-fiction kudo

COLOGNE — Julian Jarrold’s “White Teeth” took the top prize for TV fiction at this year’s Cologne Conference Screenings Tuesday.

The British miniseries, based on the novel by Zadie Smith, traces the lives of ethnically diverse Brits over 30 years.

Steven Silver’s documentary “The Last Man,” about the Rwandan genocide, was awarded the non-fiction prize.

Producer’s award went to Zero Film’s Martin Hagemann and Thomas Kufus for their feature films and documentaries, including their 9/11 drama “September.”

Alexander Adolph, a regular scribe for pubcaster ZDF, picked up the screenwriter’s award.

“White Teeth” and “The Day I Will Never Forget,” Kim Longinotto’s docu about female circumcision in Kenya, picked up prizes from the Cologne U. student jury.

Meanwhile, German pubcasters got a show of support Monday from German and European indie producers. With commercial broadcasters still reeling from the advertising slump, filmmakers depend on the pubcasters and Germany’s film fund subsidies.

“Without the aid from public TV, producers wouldn’t survive,” said Bettina Reitz, a former producer at Teamworx and now head of the movies and series division at pubcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, speaking at the Intl. Film Congress, part of Cologne’s Medienforum NRW confab.

Filmmakers here back the pubcasters, which face continued criticism by commercial rivals in Germany. Heated opposition forced pubcasters to give up demands for a hike in viewers’ fees. Indie producers had hoped more funds would mean more coin for film production.

Karl Baumgartner of production outfit Pandora (“Mostly Martha”) noted that Germany was the only country that didn’t oblige its pay TV to invest in production. “In France, arthouse producers would collapse without Canal Plus.”

Discussing the criteria for successful international sales of European productions, Hofmann said it is established helmers rather than particular themes that warrant success. “Tom Tykwer, Lars von Trier and Pedro Almodovar have by now become brands in their own right.”