Press release 28.02.2023


In its eighth edition, Filmfest Bremen will award more than 50,000 euros in prize money. Over 100 films will be screened at seven venues from 12 to 16 April 2023, plus audience talks, retrospectives, workshops and more.


For the first time since 2019, the film festival is fully committed to presence and festival feeling in cinemas:
“We are looking forward to a get-together without restrictions – with local, regional and international filmmakers and our audience,” says festival director Matthias Greving. “Unique in Germany is our international competition Humour/Satire. Together with the also international competition Innovation, our local competition Bremen/Lower Saxony as well as the new competition category German Premieres, we offer filmmakers and audiences a multi-faceted, interesting profile.”

Ilona Rieke, programme director of Filmfest Bremen explains: “We are very excited about this new international competition. As an open section, all genres are welcome under the conditions: at least 60 minutes long and premiere in Germany. Already in its first edition, eleven films from ten countries are competing for the two audience prizes worth a total of 10,000 euros.”


Opening films and new venues
Wednesday, 12 April, as the opening day from this festival edition onwards, is all about one country, starting with Great Britain and young British cinema. The science fiction short film THE OPERATOR by Matt Riley is set in an intergalactic long distance telephone station where a distress call arrives from outer space. Told from a gripping, futuristic point of view, the film addresses the ecological crises of our time. THE OPERATOR runs in the Innovation competition and is nominated for the cross-genre hanseWasser Sustainability Award. The official opening film is KINDLING by Connor O’Hara, which shows another facet of current British filmmaking. The coming-of-age drama tells the story of Sid. Terminally ill, the young man wants to make the most of his last summer together with his childhood friends back home. In a moving and authentic way, the film deals with male identity and how to deal with grief and leaves you feeling uplifted despite the subject matter. The two British opening films will be screened in their original sound with German subtitles on Wednesday from 7pm at the Schauburg Festival Cinema.


Other venues are the cinemas Atlantis, Cinema and City46 and the Bremen Theatre. For the first time, the Museum Weserburg will be participating as an exhibition and presentation venue and the Wilhelm Wagenfeld Haus as a studio location for Susanne Braun and Yugen Yah, the well-known duo of the IndieFilmTalk podcast series.


The theatre scholar and the director talk with alternating guests about filmmaking, the challenges, experiences and successes, tips, tricks and visions.


Bremen Film Prize 2023
This year’s presentation of the Bremen Film Prize by Sparkasse Bremen is awaited with excitement and anticipation. Who will win this year’s prize money, which has climbed to 8,000 euros, and the Golden Pug sculpture is still a well-kept secret. In 2022, director Aki Kaurismäki received the prize for his humorous oeuvre, in 2021 the actor and author Hape Kerkeling and in 2019 the director Caroline Link. In keeping with the awarding of the Bremen Film Prize by Sparkasse Bremen, comedic creativity and German cinema are the focus of the festive event with well-known guests and filmmakers. Following the award ceremony, the imaginative and surreal romantic comedy FRANKY FIVE STAR will be screened as a gala film and Bremen premiere. Made with Bremen’s participation, the feature film raises questions about reality and identity with beautiful lightness.


Honorary Award and Special German-Language Prize
Once again the Filmfest Bremen will award a posthumous honorary prize. In 2021 this went to the late director Joseph Vilsmaier. On the occasion of his 100th birthday, the winner in 2023 is Vicco von Bülow – best known as Loriot – who achieved cult status, among other things, through the series of the same name on Radio Bremen. To this day, the actor, presenter and director is one of the best-known German humourists and Loriot’s favourite pet inspired the Bremen Film Festival to create the charming winner’s trophy: the Golden Pug. Among all German-language feature-length films in the programme, the festival also offers two special prizes. “With this, we want to make the great potential of current German film visible to our audience, from major productions to newcomers,” says programme director Ilona Rieke. The winning film will receive 7,500 euros, the runner-up 2,500 euros.


Ticket prices will be available from March on, advance sales start on 17 March.

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