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Notes from the Editor - Ten Years Reporting from Filmfest Hamburg
by Becky Tan

Of the original AWC Filmgroup attendees - formed ten years ago -  Mary Wienke, Becky Tan, and Nancy Tiltiz are still enthusiastic. Also old hands are Jenny Mather and Shelly Schoeneshoefer. New to the Filmfest this year are Birgit Schrumpf and Kirstan Böttger. Altogether we saw 64 films and attended five nightly Studio Hamburg film talks.   

The 15th annual Filmfest Hamburg, September 27 - October 4, 2007 was one of the most successful so far. For eight days one could see 141 feature films and documentaries from 43 countries, many of them straight from festivals in Cannes and Toronto.

UFA Palast Grindel was, once again, the perfect venue, with the entire building given over to films and fans. The evening film talks also moved to Grindel, this time in a nicely decorated space – a far throw from last year’s dingy back room in a bar. Abaton, 3001, CinemaxX, and Metropolis cinemas also hosted films, as in the past. This was a good investment with a 30% increase in tickets sold.

Some of the categories were father-son relationships, migration, Danish, Belgian, and North German films, human rights, Swiss documentaries, European hits, work shops and straight-to-DVD or made-for-TV films. The silent movie was Caligari with background music by Raphael Marionneau.

The film talks held in the Hamburg Radio Studio were mainly in English, moderated by Israelis Edna and Dan Fainaru. The talks still suffer from the late starting hours (22:30), but considering the packed schedule, it will be difficult to find a different solution. The film talks were open to the general public and free of charge.

Admission prices for films were reasonable at Euro 7,50. The only complaint was that ticket counters were crowded and confusing. In CinemaxX anyone at the end of the line did not know whether his film was already sold out. Perhaps the big increase in attendees was unexpected and next year there will be more counters up and running, manned by schooled ticket sellers.

Once again, and we speak from experience after ten years of faithful attendance, this was a major event, not to be missed. Hope to see you there next year: September 25 - October 2, 2008.