“I think it will be a great year because we have a lot of different things, we will have a very strong focus on female filmmakers which is great because there are a lot of new ones coming up.”
German Film Fest and Goethe-Institut Australia Director Sonja Griegoschewski is excited for the launch of the Festival tonight, which will screen in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra throughout November. This year’s Festival, featuring 4 Australian film critics on its Advisory Board including Margaret Pomeranz, boasts a wide-range of German cinema, old and new, as well as over 25 Australian premieres.
Among this year’s screenings is the critically-acclaimed Toni Erdmann, Germany’s entry for the upcoming Academy Award’s Best Foreign Language Film category.
“Maren Ade has only made two feature films before, Cannes was a big surprise for a lot of people,” said Griegoschewski of the Festival hit that took the International Critic’s Prize earlier this year. “It’s kind of a drama but it also has a very funny side to it. It has been successful, we thought maybe this humour is very German but it doesn’t seem to be because the film has now been internationally released and it seems kind of universal.”
Me and Kaminski will also screen, starring Daniel Bruhl who recently appeared in the third Captain America entry.
“It’s the first film where Wolfgang Becker and Daniel Bruhl worked together again, the first film they did was a very important film for Daniel Bruhl, Good Bye Lenin! – that film was very successful over a decade ago,” said Griegoschewski. “Now they’ve teamed up again to tell a story of a journalist who’s trying to find out about a blind artist and people aren’t sure if he’s really blind.”
“It’s also based on a very well-known book, we have a lot of stories in the Festival this year based on German literature and it’s great that Daniel Bruhl is in it; he’s so very popular now with so many international productions but he decided to work again with Wolfgang Becker… it was very much worth it.”
Goodbye Berlin, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale, will open this year’s line-up and will screen in each of the Festival’s four stops.
“We were very happy with this one because it was just released in Germany and it had the world premiere in Berlin about two months ago,” explained Griegoschewski. “We’re really happy because we love the work of Fatih Akin but this film was also very special for him because it’s based on a book which is very popular in Germany and everybody was curious how he’d deal with this very well known book.”
“He grabbed this idea and the music and the vibe of the story very well, it’s a road movie about two young boys and he is very close to the book for people who know the book but it’s also a very typical Fatih Akin story the way he tells it… I think it’s the perfect film for opening night as well because you don’t want something too serious or challenging for opening night so it’s a good mix of very high quality filmmaking and great story but it’s also a lot of fun to watch.”
Every Thing Will Be Fine, starring Peter Stormare and Rachel McAdams, will also screen at the Festival.
“A lot of German filmmakers like to work with an international cast – Everything Will Be Fine was filmed in Canada and is in English, it has James Franco and other well-known American actors,” said Griegoschewski. “The way Wim Wenders develops the story, it starts with a very shocking situation because there’s an accident and a child is killed and he develops this very personal story of the people involved, the mother and the driver… I’m really happy that after he was so successful with the documentary Pina that he’s back to feature films, he has a very good way of telling these personal stories.”
A number of overseas guests will be attending the event, including 24 year-old actress Jella Haase, winner of the European Shooting Star Award at this year’s Berlinale, who has 3 films screening at the Festival, along with Casino Royale star Clemens Schick who will have 2 films screening and will be participating in a Q&A as part of the Festival.
“There’s really something for everybody,” added Griegoschewski. “If you’re interested in knowing more about Germany or are a little homesick you will find a lot of things there but there’s also a lot of very universal topics and questions.”
The German Film Fest will screen at Palace Cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane from 15-30 November