Schweiger quits academy over 'Keinohrhasen' slight

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COLOGNE, Germany -- German film star Til Schweiger has said he will resign in protest from the German Film Academy after his latest film, "Keinohr-hasen," failed to make the shortlist for this year's German Film Prize.

"Keinohrhasen," a romantic comedy that Schweiger directed, produced, co-wrote and stars in, has been a major boxoffice hit in Germany, so far selling more than 3 million tickets for distributor Warner Bros.

But "Keinorhhasen" did not make the Academy's shortlist of films qualified to compete for the German Film Prize, the local equivalent of the Oscar.

In an interview with German newsweekly Focus, Schweiger said it was a "scandal" that "Keinohrhasen" didn't make the cut.

The shortlist, Schweiger said, is mostly made up of films "nobody has heard of."

Indeed, the total boxoffice of 12 of the 14 German titles that made the best-film shortlist -- titles including Fatih Akin's "The Edge of Heaven" and Christian Petzold's "Yella" -- is about half that of Schwei-ger's "Keinoh-rhasen."

Two titles -- Doris Dorrie's Berlinale competition film "Cherry Blossoms" and Dennis Gansel's "The Wave" -- have not yet been released.

Schweiger insists that the German Academy, citing piracy fears, refused to accept watermarked DVD copies of his film to submit to academy members for their perusal.

The German Academy denied this in a statement Monday, saying the producers of "Keinohr-hasen" did not submit the film in time for the 2008 shortlist. The statement said that Schweiger would be eligible to submit the film for the 2009 awards.

The academy added that it "greatly regrets" Schweiger's decision to resign his membership.

The 2008 German Film Awards take place March 28 in Berlin.
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