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Lights, camera, action! Many German cities regularly host a film festival

Ever since the Venice International Film Festival was created in 1932, new film festivals have been appearing around the world. Germany plays host to a particularly large number of these festivals, which are mainly concentrated in major cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg and Munich, though are often found in towns as well.

Film festivals often have their own particular focus: the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen, established in 1954, is the world's oldest festival for short films. Mannheim and Heidelberg have been home to an important festival for young author-directors and up-and-coming film-makers since 1952. Bonn is the setting for the International Silent Film Festival, showing silent films from around the world with live musical accompaniment. For more information about this festival, please see our article 'Without words – silent films and the International Silent Film Festival in Bonn'.

A wide range of film festivals

The International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film is another specialist festival taking place annually. There are many other festivals focusing on different areas of cinema, including children's film, women's film and Jewish film, as well as a festival promoting inter-cultural dialogue between Turkish and German cinema-goers. The Hof International Film Festival in Bavaria is a melting pot of talent. Held in October each year, it shows films outside of the mainstream, particularly debut and university productions, and has launched the careers of many renowned directors, including Doris Dörrie, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Wim Wenders.

Berlin International Film Festival: Berlinale

Germany's most famous international film festival is the Berlinale, which has been rolling out the red carpet for film stars from around the world every year since 1951. This event, very popular with the public, screens up to 400 international films, around 20 of which are entered in the competition. The Golden Bear is awarded for the best film, while Silver Bears are awarded in six further categories.

During the 67th Berlinale in February 2017, 18 films were in competition. The Golden Bear went to ‘On Body and Soul’, a love film by Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi. It tells the story of two people who dream the same thing at night and whose dream romance gradually becomes reality.

German Film Award

In 2013, the then Minister of State for Culture Bernd Neumann praised the award ceremony for the German Film Award, held at Berlin's Friedrichstadt-Palast, calling it the 'highlight of the year for German cinema and its creative minds'. More a celebratory gala than a film festival, the event, which is also followed by many television viewers, sees prizes awarded for German films. With total prize money of almost EUR 3 million, the German Film Award is the country's most highly endowed cultural accolade.

The German Film Academy has run the event for a number of years now, presenting the awards, which since 1999 have been small female statues called 'Lolas', in cooperation with the German Government. The awards were created in homage to several prominent 'Lolas' in German cinema, such as the Lola played by famous German actress Marlene Dietrich in the film ‘The Blue Angel’. It was this role for which Dietrich became most famous. Lolas are awarded in a number of different categories, such as 'Best Lead Actor', 'Best Original Screenplay' and 'Best Cinematography'.

The golden Lola in the category “Best film” 2017 went to ‘Toni Erdmann’, directed by Maren Ade. “Toni Erdmann” was also awarded with the European and Bavarian Film Award, was in competition during the film festival in Cannes and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award and the Oscars.

Winner of German Film Award 2017: Toni Erdmann

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