Films of special merit
Saturday 7 October, 51 films were screened at the Euro-Filmfestival 2017. A wonderful experience, interesting and varied. I didn’t miss a single movie. Now everyone can relax. A special event, a trip to Worpswede, an artists' village near Bremen, not far away. However, not everyone wants to go, some people already know the beautiful place or want to go for a walk in the large city park of Harsefeld with its water features. What if it rains? And that was the case – it was quite cold and windy.
As if the organisers of the Euro-Filmfestival had anticipated this, they made sure that it wouldn't get boring that afternoon. They rummaged through the film archive and found four magnificent gold films, each winner of a gold film strip. Someone who didn't go to Worpswede should of course be there to introduce the films. Apart from the filmmakers who stayed in the hotel, the public was also invited. They had printed a large poster for this purpose. The screening was held under the auspices of the Hotel-Kino Meyer, a real cinema with the appropriate ambience and atmosphere as well as a huge screen.
I was the one who was supposed to introduce the four films. It was weird when I was standing up there at the lectern. But I had prepared well and of course I had watched the movies before. I was thrilled and would like to give a short overview for those who couldn't see the films.
"Briefe an Mutter” (Letters to Mother) by the multiple festival winner Filippo Lubiato. 2009 was shot in Ukraine with German subtitles. The picture quality was amazingly good from Mini-DV. But even better was the content. One felt the author's intentions deeply. “I am astonished at how expressive and committed the children were in front of the camera.” Lubiato has a mission to help children and young people to realise their own film ideas. And this happened in "Briefe an Mutter”. It's the story of a boy who loses his mother.
The second film was directed by Hansrüdi Wiget, another Swiss author. It was shot in 4:3. His way of bringing us closer to people is impressive and sometimes oppressive. This was also evident in his film Film „Gelbes Gold zum Tor zur Hölle“ (Yellow Gold to the Gates of Hell). Men who carry heavy sulphur chunks on their shoulders for miles to earn enough to feed themselves and their families, regardless of toxic gases and dangerous work conditions. The situation was not without danger for the film maker either.
Who doesn't know Michael Preis, author of the next film? Travelling to distant countries, his fascination for foreign cultures drives him to many, sometimes remote, regions of the world. What he brings back with him is excellent film material, which is created on the basis of intensive planning and becomes a masterpiece of the travel film genre in his hands. This was the case for his film „Tempel-Leben“ (Temple Life).
In workshops he is always willing to share his skills and experiences with others. Few succeed in achieving such perfection. Festival winner 1994.
The last film that was shown was „Steins Abschied“ (Stein's farewell), shot 20 years ago on chemical film stock by Otto Horn. It was the best film at the Eurofilmer 2000 festival in Lindau. When you see the film, you first think of professional film work. But the participants are amateurs, friends and filmmakers from the Darmstadt Film-und-Videoclub. Otto Horn tried to express how he felt at the end of his own professional life. This issue is always topical and especially difficult if love still has a role to play. Skilful camera work and editing sequences speak their own language, without dialogue driving the film.
At the end after about 2 hours many spectators were still sitting, impressed by the films they had seen, and giving loud applause for the authors. It was also a great experience for those who were watching amateur films for the first time. I had to answer many questions. For me it was a new and nice experience. Many thanks to the organisers of the Euro-Filmfestival 2017, especially to Wolfgang Thomas, for the brilliant idea of showing four older, award-winning films from the archive.