Munich topper had built strong fest

Iljine takes the reins for Stroehl

This year’s FilmFest Munich will be the last one for Andreas Stroehl after eight years as the head of Germany’s second-largest pic festival.

Diana Iljine, a former buyer at commercial TV web RTL 2 and licensing group Telepool, will be taking the reins at the fest next year.

During his tenure in Munich, Stroehl reduced non-cinematic programming such as TV movies and video art, established new international sections and lifted the fun factor for the general audience by making the event more inclusive. The effort paid off: in 2009 the fest achieved record admission sales. Although not measurable in figures, Stroehl also increased the fest’s attractiveness by introducing daily free open-air film events and making the opening the closing parties accessible to all festgoers.

Stroehl says that he stripped the fest of glamour not linked to cineaste merits, noting that glitz “works in Venice and Cannes, but is silly in Munich” — a curious point to underline, given that the city, the swanky hub of commercial television, has traditionally been seen as the German city where image matters more than substance.

A younger and more team-oriented generation of programmers has helped put the fest’s focus on directly on film, among them Susana Borges Gomez, head of the American Independents sidebar, who is a Sundance regular.

Munich embraces overseas pics