From the Submarine of the Steppes to the Short Film Night: Highlights of the Filmforum

Herr Pilipenko und sein U-Boot

„Mr Pilipenko and his Submarine“, Directors: Jan Hinrik Drevs, René Harder, Germany 2006

“Like a submarine in the steppes” is the Russian equivalent of “pigs might fly”. Mr. Pilipenko has achieved just that: the impossible. Working in the little village of Jevgenivka in the Ukrainian steppes, it has taken him 30 years to construct a functioning submarine out of scrap metal. Mr. Pilipenko and his Submarine is one of the highlights of this year’s Filmforum Schleswig-Holstein at the 48th Nordic Film Days Lübeck. Pilipenko found the construction plan for his childhood dream in a magazine for underwater sports in 1970 and paid for the parts by doing repairs or bartering with cucumbers from his garden. This quirky cross between a VW Beetle and a flying saucer actually works – at least in the village pond. But Pilipenko wants to go one step further – to the Black Sea. Jan Hinrik Drevs und René Harder have accompanied the former crane driver on his underwater attempts in their documentation Mr. Pilipenko and his Submarine, a production of nonfictionplanet GmbH in cooperation with NDR and Arte. The film is among the nominations for Best Documentary for the new Schleswig-Holstein Film Prize.

From 1 to 5 November the Filmforum Schleswig-Holstein, still vigorously growing at the tender age of 19, will present 38 feature films and documentaries, shorts and experimental films that have a connection through production or topic with the northernmost region of Germany. The annually recurring new record for the number of films submitted was once again broken this year, with some 100 submissions. With the additional day of the festival it will now be possible to begin on Wednesday and thus offer more time and space to a programme chock full of highlights.

The opening film of the Filmforum pulls no punches: the documentary Journeyman – The Bruce Özbek Story describes the victories and defeats of former world champion kickboxer Bruce “The Flash” Özbek and his never-ending hope of launching a career as a singer in Turkey. The gripping North Sea crime thriller First Case Worst Case, with Peter Silbereisen and Martin Semmelrogge, captures the viewers’ imagination no less relentlessly, but with a touch of humour as well. Inexperienced, seemingly harmless kidnappers come up against the clumsy policeman Ludger, who is desperately looking for a new case so that his island beat won’t be closed down altogether.

In Stefan Krohmer’s subtle psycho-thriller Summer ’04, which is already counted among the sensational movies coming out of the “nouvelle vague allemande”, a sailing holiday in Germany’s Schlei region turns into a tragic conflict between jealousy and responsibility.

The hearts of cineastes and sailing fans will beat higher at the thought of experiencing Kaspar Heidelbach’s exciting, star-studded feature film about the ill-fated sailing ship, The Tragedy of the Pamir. The film will be presented in connection with memorial events being carried out in the Lübeck St. Jakobi church, in which the last lifeboat of the Pamir is preserved.

Top attraction and audience favourite is the new portrait of a great artiste by Marc Boettcher: The Gitte Haenning Story, and to the delight of her many fans Gitte Haenning will be present in person at the premiere of this extensive biography of the Danish-born singer. Director/producer Boettcher has accompanied Gitte Haenning to the scenes of her greatest triumphs and allows us to experience the private side of the performer, who is a great lover of jazz.

Petra Valentin’s documentary Domestic Workers deals with the serious, but often ignored fate of au pair girls, cleaning ladies and nannies from abroad who work in German families under humiliating conditions, often exploited and never knowing whether they are about to be deported.

The Filmforum’s popular Short Film Night has an added attraction this year. As midnight approaches, the ComLine Prize and the new Cinegate Prize will be awarded in the cinema. For the first time the Cinegate company is awarding a prize to the best Filmforum short film produced in Schleswig-Holstein. The prize is in the form of the use of Cinegate equipment worth 5.000 Euros and will be presented at the Short Film Night by Hartmut Rabe.

The ComLine limited company will award a prize for the best short film in the Filmforum Schleswig-Holstein for the third time this year. The prize goes to a film with the maximum length of 15 minutes. The ComLine Prize consists of the editing software Avid Xpress Pro HD valued at 1.900 Euros. Both prizes will be awarded by a three-member jury.

23 october 2006