North German Film Prize: "Buddenbrooks" is "Best Feature Film - Cinema"

The State Governments of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are presenting the North German Film Prize in four categories within the framework of the 51st Nordic Film Days Lübeck: Endowed with 20,000 euros, the North German Film Prize for "Best Feature Film - Cinema" goes to BUDDENBROOKS by Heinrich Breloer. The jury congratulates producer Matthias Esche (Bavaria Film) on a successful reinterpretation of an important literary original: "Based on the major social novel by Thomas Mann, the film resurrects an early industrial age Hanseatic Lübeck and brings to attention the historical and literary importance of Northern Germany, also to younger generations." For the first time, the North German Film Prize is also presented in the category "Best Feature Film - TV". Also endowed with 20,000 euros, the prize goes to Klaus Lemke for DANCING WITH DEVILS, a precise social study of Hamburg's red light district, starring fantastic lay actors. The jury praises the director and producer as "a master of memorable images, who succeeds in telling a complex story with only a minor number of takes". The jury honoured SOAP AND WATER by Susan Gluth as "a plea for human dignity in the age of globalization". The empathetic film about the everyday working conditions and life circumstances of Tanja, Gerti and Monika, three laundry employees, is being presented with the North German Film Prize in the category "Best Documentary" (15,000 euros). The North German Film Prize in the category "Best Screenplay", endowed with 10,000 euros, goes to Fatih Akin and Adam Bousdoukos. The jury praised their screenplay for SOUL KITCHEN for its "authenticity, velocity and trenchant humour". Even the most minor characters are commended for displaying many detailed facets. Endowed with 10,000 euros, the Award for Special Merits goes to Katharina M. Trebitsch for her "great commitment as a producer in Northern Germany, her accomplishments in the field of high quality TV entertainment and her dedication towards supporting young cinematic talents," to quote the laudators Dr. Ekkehard Klug, Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, and Prof. Dr. Karin von Welck, Senator for Cultural Affairs of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

North German Film Prize

Best Feature Film - Cinema:
Director Heinrich Breloer,
Production Bavaria Film; Matthias Esche

Statement of the Jury
The film BUDDENBROOKS is a story about failure. The Buddenbrook family, a wealthy merchant family, suffers existential failure, both on a professional and on a human level. Conceitedness and the pursuit of wealth supersede love and interpersonal relationships as the surrender of personal happiness is considered a prerequisite for business success. An arising interest in the arts ultimately leads to financial ruin. Three generations take different approaches to the conflict between economic interests and personal longings. Based on the major social novel by Thomas Mann, the film resurrects an early industrial age Hanseatic Lübeck and brings to attention the historical and literary importance of Northern Germany, also to younger generations. This is achieved by means of great acting as well as an opulent and highly detailed scenery that repeatedly incorporates Lübeck's impressive urban silhouette.

Best Feature Film - TV
Dancing with Devils
Producer and Director Klaus Lemke

Statement of the Jury
Nina holds Saralisa responsible for her boyfriend's lethal drug overdose. She swears revenge when Saralisa is released from prison. Love, revenge, loneliness and longing are the central themes of Klaus Lemke's film DANCING WITH DEVILS. And once more, Klaus Lemke proves to be a master of memorable images, who succeeds in telling a complex story by means of only a minor number of takes. The film boasts a sense of documentary authenticity, and gives a cliché-less depiction of the city of Hamburg, set between the quarters of St. Pauli, Sternschanze and Altona. The most remarkable feature of this precise, though never overly portentious social study are the fantastic lay actors, who invest their characters with touching authenticity. The jury also commends Klaus Lemke's radical and consequent style of filmmaking, of which Dancing with Devils is a prime example.

Best Documentary
Soap and Water
Producer and Director Susan Gluth

Statement of the Jury
Moist napkins are put through the mangle and underwear is plucked from the laundry net as the tumble-dryers hum amongst the hissing and the steam. Susan Gluth's documentary lovingly exposes the laundry employees Tanja, Gerti and Monika as heroes of everyday life, accompanying them in their struggle for existence, which grows continuously arduous in the omnipresence of global competition. Susan Gluth has succeeded in making an extraordinary film in that she examines the women's everyday life with a maximum respect for their - not only physical - accomplishments. The women are intent on standing on their own feet rather than living at the expense of the state. The film presents a detailed, often ignored view of life conditions and environments. Its empathetic approach yields great documentary moments, making the film a plea for human dignity in a globalized world.

Best Screenplay
Soul Kitchen
by Fatih Akin & Adam Bousdoukos

Statement of the Jury:
A Greek restaurant owner, a run-down old restaurant in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg, a new cook, a girlfriend in Shanghai, a real-estate agent, a day release prisoner for a brother and a painful slipped disc: these are the ingredients that Fatih Akin and Adam Bousdoukos have cooked up a virtuoso screenplay with: dramatic, melodramatic, comical, absurd and very emotional. It boasts impressive levels of authenticity, velocity and trenchant humour. Even the most minor characters display a multitude of detailed facets. Set in the cosmos of a bar, the film mirrors a world in which freaks and outsiders have the same right to exist as health officers do. An homage to Hamburg in the guise of a "dirty Heimatfilm".

Award for Special Merits
Katharina M. Trebitsch

The producer of countless successful and awarded television productions and series, including BELLA BLOCK, DIESE DROMBUSCHS, DIE BERTINIS, DONNA LEON and MARCEL REICH-RANICKI - MEIN LEBEN, Katharina Trebitsch has repeatedly made use of the North as the shooting location for her powerful stories. She founded her first production company, Objektiv Film, in 1980, which later became a part of Trebitsch Produktion Holding and which belongs to Ufa since 2004. Today, Katharina Trebitsch produces her films with Trebitsch Entertainment GmbH. The North German Film Prize Award for Special Merits goes to Katharina Trebitsch, in recognition of her outstanding commitment and her accomplishments for the film region of Northern Germany.