This year Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein awarded more than 10 million Euros to film-makers for full-length feature, documentary, and short films; it also supported script writers. Regularly, the Filmförderung sends me emails announcing these winners. I think: so what? It’s just money handed out, probably never to be seen again. What fool would honestly strain himself to write or lug a camera or travel for research. Perhaps the so-called film makers are spending my tax Euros on a secret vacation in Mexico or on alimony for their ex-spouses. Then, I go to the Filmfest Hamburg and my eyes pop out of my head. I actually see where the money has gone and realize how totally wonderful and important this organization is.
We saw eight of the ten films sponsored by the FFHHSH at this year’s festival. The topics ranged from documentaries about seven-year-olds, learning to play the violin in St. Pauli, to isolated widows in Schleswig-Holstein, who meet and play Bingo. For three years director Angelina Maccarone spoke with actress Charlotte Rampling with support from the Filmförderung and the excellent results are quite obvious in Charlotte Rampling – The Look. Mark Twain’s famous Tom Sawyer underwent a face-lift and opened the children’s film festival with a remake featuring German actors. Well-known German actors Nina Hoss and Fritzi Haberlandt played in Fenster zum Sommer. Simon and the Oaks plays in Sweden, Ecumenopolis: City Without Limits in Turkey and Ufo in her Eyes in China.
At least three of these films will have opened mainstream in local cinemas by the time you read this. I only hope that the others get a chance, because they are amazing and worth every cent.