Competition: Film Festival Max Ophüls Prize starts again in presence

Film Festival Max Ophüls Prize starts again in presence

Back in action: The Max Ophüls Prize film festival begins.  Photo: Oliver Dietze/dpa

Back in action: The Max Ophüls Prize film festival begins. photo

© Oliver Dietze/dpa

For two years, Corona prevented many encounters between filmmakers and fans. Now the Festival Max Ophüls Preis in Saarbrücken can run again in person. It is considered a springboard for talent – celebrities are also there again.

The anticipation and excitement are great for everyone involved: for the first time since the beginning of the corona pandemic the Saarbrücken Film Festival Max Ophüls Preis (MOP) returns completely to the cinemas. After an online and a hybrid edition, the 44th MOP will take place from January 23rd to 29th in face-to-face form for the first time, supplemented by some online offers.

“After a few major and minor hurdles in the last few weeks, we are now overjoyed on the home stretch and excited that it will finally start on Monday and that we can welcome our guests and the audience on site,” said festival director Svenja Böttger of the German Press Agency. Prominent actresses and actors are also shown in Saarbrucken expected. Barbara Philipp, Peter Lohmeyer, Ben Münchow and Pegah Ferydoni want to come to the opening. Sandra Hüller, Heiko Pinkowski, Bibiana Beglau and Lena Urzendowsky have also announced their visit for the festival week.

A total of 127 films will be made Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 225 performances: at seven venues in Saarbrücken and at other locations in Saarland. The topics range from broken images of masculinity, parent-child relationships, mental health and queer love stories to war, flight and the military. The form of presentation is also varied: many small and personal stories are included as well as absurd, mystery and horror. Only comedies are the exception this time.

56 films start in the four competition categories feature film, documentary film, medium-length film and short film, including 39 world premieres. Böttger and the two new program managers Theresa Winkler and Carolin Weidner selected the competition participants from a total of 700 films. The number of entries was thus far higher than in the two previous years. 18 prizes with a total volume of 118,500 euros await the competition films, including the Max Ophüls Prize for the best feature film, which is endowed with 36,000 euros.

In addition to the cinema premieres, a selection of films from the program will be made available via a streaming service throughout Germany with a limited number of tickets. That will be opened festival on Monday (7.30 p.m.) in Saarbrücken with the feature film “Aus meine Haut” by Alex Schaad. The film team is also expected to attend: alongside director Alex Schaad, his brother Dimitrij, who not only starred in the film but also co-wrote the screenplay.

The 44th film festival is dedicating this year’s tribute to the actress Sandra Hüller and is presenting three of her films and a selection of music videos. On Saturday (January 28th) Hüller will teach an exclusive master class and conduct a public workshop discussion.

According to Svenja Böttger, the task of being the only dedicated young talent festival for German-language film is taken very seriously. After two years of online activities, the industry program “MOP-Industry” is starting again. Numerous events will offer a wide range of opportunities for exchange and networking between young people and experts in the film industry. According to Böttger, the aim is “to make it easier for talented people to find their way into the industry and to offer them a comprehensive training ground”.

Film Festival Max Ophüls Prize


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