Hamburg-based director Mohammad Rasoulof is aiming for a Golden Bear with "There is no Evil". At the end of January, the festival management announced that the film would be running in the Competition at the 70th international film festival in Berlin. FFHSH will be represented by no less than seven world premieres at the Berlinale, among them political thriller "Curveball" and First Steps winner "No hard feelings".
Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof hasn't been able to leave Iran since autumn 2017. Last year, he was sentenced to spend one year in prison there. The deciding factor in this judgement was the director's critical depiction of Iran in his last film. His new drama, There is no Evil (Cosmopol Film, Hamburg), the Cannes prize-winning director is now in the running for the Berlinale Competition. Across four episodes in the film, Rasoulof asks the question to what extent people who live in an authoritarian regime are responsible for their own behavior, no matter what they do to others.
Helge Albers, Managing Director of Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein: "We hope that Mohammad Rasoulof will be able to leave Iran soon enough that he can take part in his own world premiere in Berlin. His film 'There is no evil' means that our area is being represented in the Berlinale Competition for the third year in a row. It's good news for film in Northern Germany. With five more premieres – from a documentary in deepest Russia to a queer coming-of-age drama – Northern German filmmakers present the variety in our region. We wish all the film teams lots of luck!"
Johannes Naber's feature film Curveball is running at the Berlinale as a Special Gala Premiere. The political thriller tells the true story of a BND biological weapons expert (played by Sebastian Blomberg), who provided arguments in favor of the Iraq war in 2003 due to an internal error. Hamburg company Bon Voyage Films filmed the production in Germany and Morocco, which was accredited with the Green Film Shooting Card for sustainable filming. The First Steps-winning film No Hard Feelings (La Mosca Bianca Films, Hamburg) by Faraz Shariat celebrated its world premiere as part of the Berlinale Panorama. The director takes us into the world of Parvis, whose life revolves around pop culture, queer dates and raves. The German-Iranian rediscovers his past through siblings Banafshe and Amon, who have fled Iran. The film deals sensitively with first love and life as a migrant in Germany.
Three FFHSH-funded productions are running as part of the "Perspectives on German Cinema" category: The feature-length film Sleep by Hamburg Media School graduate Michael Venus (Junafilm, Hamburg) depicts Mona's day-to-day life consumed by worrying for her mother. On a hunt for answers, Mona finds herself in a village where she comes across an old family curse in a strange hotel. Gro Swantje Kohlhof takes on the role of Mona, while "Toni Erdmann" star Sandra Hüller plays her mother. The production has also been awarded a Green Film Shooting Card for sustainable filming.
In the documentary Garage People by Natalija Yefimkina (Tamtam Film, Hamburg), garages stretch endlessly, with everything but cars to be found behind their rusty doors. They are the refuge of the Russian man; somewhere to escape from bleak everyday life and a projection of hope.
Daphne Charizani's drama Sisters Apart (Pallas Film, Halle) sees Armed Forces soldier and native Kurd Rojda sign up for a mission in Iraq, where she trains Kurdish female soldiers who are fighting against IS. Nobody can know that she's actually looking for her missing sister.
Daphne Charizani also wrote the screenplay for the subsidized film The Architect by Ina Weisse. The film from 2008 can be viewed as part of the special anniversary program 'On Transmission', alongside 35 Shots of Rum by Claire Denis.
In addition, Inflorescence by HBFK graduate Nicolaas Schmidt can be found in the Berlinale Shorts category.
For the first time, the EFM Producers Hub is cooperating with the Explorer Conference, which was launched in Hamburg in summer 2019 by the Producers' Association, the FFHSH and Filmfest Hamburg.
European Film Market
Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein representatives at the European Film Market can be found in the Martin Gropius building at the Focus Germany stand, which is an amalgamation of the eight German State funding groups.
During the Berlinale, Hamburg Tea Time will take place at the representatives of Hamburg city, as well as the Baltic Motion reception, which is hosted by the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Filmwerkstatt Kiel and Nordischen Filmtage Lübeck.