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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Germany

In Full Bloom comes out on top at Oldenburg 2019

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- The 26th edition of the International Filmfest Oldenburg came to a close on Sunday with a double win for the Japanese-US co-production

In Full Bloom comes out on top at Oldenburg 2019
Some of the winners of the 2019 International Filmfest Oldenburg

For the 26th time, the mid-sized city of Oldenburg in western Germany has hosted the International Filmfest Oldenburg. The festival, which has been nicknamed the “European Sundance”, took place over five days (11-15 September), showing a selection of international, independent films across its five sections. German director Jan-Ole Gerster opened the gathering with his new outstanding mix of drama and black comedy Lara [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: GoCritic! Interview: Jan-Ol…
interview: Jan Ole Gerster
film profile
]
, exactly seven years after his debut feature, Oh Boy [+see also:
trailer
interview: Jan Ole Gerster
film profile
]
, was also chosen for the opening gala. In addition, it was one of the films competing in the independent section, along with two other German films: Tom Sommerlatte’s Bruder Schwester Herz, a summer drama about the intense relationship between siblings, and the family drama Bis die Welt einen Rand bekommt, the first feature by Daniel Betram, which celebrated its world premiere. Other debut films had their German premiere, such as Sons of Denmark [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elliott Crosset Hove
interview: Ulaa Salim
film profile
]
by Ulaa Salim, Sequin in a Blue Room by Australia’s Samuel van Grinsven and Cat Sticks by India’s Ronny Sen.

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The international section included the closing film, Happy Ending [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Hella Joof, a comedy from Denmark dealing with a group of people in retirement who still strive to maintain their high social standing. Among the best-known guests were US actress Bella Thorne, who presented her first short film Her & Him, as well as German actress Corinna Harfouch, who played the titular Lara in Gerster’s film, plus US thesp Amanda Plummer, who was honoured with a star on the OLB-Walk of Fame. This year’s retrospective and tribute were devoted to German director-producer-screenwriter-actor Burkhard Driest. The festival also posthumously honoured US actor Seymour Cassel with a tribute. An award in his honour has been created, too, and this went to actress Patrycja Planik for her performance in Lillian [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andreas Horvath
film profile
]
by Andreas Horvath (Austria) and to Zachary Ray Sherman in Cuck by Rob Lambert (USA).

The main prize, the German Independence Award for Best Film in the independent section, went to Adam VillaSenor and Reza Ghassemi's In Full Bloom. The film tells the story of the encounter between an American boxer and his Japanese counterpart shortly after World War II in Japan. The tournament is like walking on eggshells, since the political resentment from each side is still so fresh. In Full Bloom also received the German Independence Award for Best First Feature. Another important gong, the German Independence Award for Cinematic Audaciousness, handed out for the first time this year, was given to Tito by Grace Glowicki.

The German Independence Award for Best Short went to Blue Hour by Kahina Le Querrec (France). This year, another new award has been created, the Spirit of Cinema Award, which went to the Mongolian movie The Steed by Erdenebileg Ganbold.

With more than 15,500 admissions to the various different festival venues (including a prison, where guests and inmates could enjoy the screenings together), the organisers consider this 26th edition of the International Filmfest Oldenburg a “roaring event and a complete success”.

Here is the complete list of the award winners at the 2019 International Filmfest Oldenburg:

German Independence Award for Best Film
In Full Bloom - Adam VillaSenor and Reza Ghassemi (USA/Japan)

German Independence Award for Best First Feature
In Full Bloom - Adam VillaSenor and Reza Ghassemi

German Independence Award for Cinematic Audaciousness
Tito - Grace Glowicki (Canada)

Seymour Cassel Award
Patrycja Planik – Lillian [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andreas Horvath
film profile
]
(Austria)
Zachary Ray Sherman - Cuck (USA)

German Independence Award for Best Short
Blue Hour – Kahina Le Querrec (France)

Spirit of Cinema Award
The Steed - Erdenebileg Ganbold (Mongolia)

Tributes
Burkhard Driest
Seymour Cassel

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