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Oldenburg, the plucky festival often called the German Sundance, will play host to a jury tasked with nominating five first-time features for the European Discovery — Prix Fipresci award this year.
The prize is a joint venture between the European Film Academy (EFA) and the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci). It was chosen in 2010 to replace the long-running European Critics Award of the same name with one that affords a closer collaboration during the nomination process, in which members of both organizations jointly choose five deserving European debuts.
The winner will be decided solely by EFA members and be announced at the 28th European Film Awards, which will be held in Berlin on Dec. 12 this year.
With Oldenburg coming into play, the nomination process will “now be face to face,” according to Fipresci general secretary Klaus Eder, who adds that the jury up to this point deliberated via Skype.
The news of a real-life venue has been taken up enthusiastically by all sides, with Oscar-nominated director Agnieszka Holland, who chairs the EFA board, remarking: “The best decisions are always made when you are on the spot, in this case a festival that is known for its heart for young filmmakers and for an inspiring and innovative environment.”
Torsten Neumann, Oldenburg’s enthusiastic and outspoken director, sees the selection of Oldenburg as host to the jury as a great compliment. “It also shows that we must be doing something right, by just not booking films that played everywhere else, but also discovering new talents and great debuts,” Neumann said.
This year’s members of the Prix Fipresci jury will be producer Dagmar Jacobsen (Germany), the Transylvania International Film Festival’s artistic director Mihai Chirilov (Romania), film critic and actor Krzysztof Kwiatkowski (Poland), producer Lynda Myles (U.K.), journalist and director of programming of the Roma Fiction Fest Marco Spagnoli (Italy), programmer of the Rotterdam International Film Festival Gerwin Tamsma (the Netherlands) and freelance film journalist and film festival programmer Neil Young (U.K.).
This fresh influx of filmmakers, film professionals and journalists comes at the right time for Oldenburg. Last year, it had to discontinue its German Independence Award due to budget cuts, depriving the attendees not only of the competition itself, but the illustrious international jury making the decision, which counted actors Bobcat Goldthwait, Mira Sorvino and Deborah Kara Unger among its members in recent years.
The 22nd Oldenburg International Film Festival runs Sept. 16-20, with the Prix Fipresci jury deliberations scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19. The results will be announced one day later at the closing night gala at the state theater in Oldenburg.
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