'Dr. Ketel,' 'Happy New Year Win Oldenburg Film Festival

Festival known as "Germany's Sundance" also honors Canadian director Ted Kotcheff.

OLDENBURG – The 18th edition of the Oldenburg International Film Festival concluded on Sunday with the presentation of the German Independence Award to Linus de Paoli’s futuristic healthcare-drama Dr. Ketel, which the jury, led by actor Matthew Modine, singled out for “pushing the boundaries of storytelling.”

The audience award at this year’s festival went to K. Lorrel Manning’s Happy New Year, which had galvanized festivalgoers with its depiction of an Iraq-war veteran’s plight and led to spirited discussions in Q&A sessions and on the festival circuit. Actress Maja Schone received a special award for her outstanding performance as a rape victim in Brigitte Bertele’s Der Brand, while Markus Engel’s Der letzte Gast was honored as “Best Short.”

The Oldenburg festival, often referred to as Germany’s Sundance and known for its bold selections, quirky parties and imaginative retrospectives concluded another banner edition and has been able to overcome funding-problems that plagued last year’s edition after local politicians overrode the city’s mayor and cut some of the festival’s funding.  This year’s retrospectives featured veteran-filmmaker Ted Kotcheff (First Blood, Weekend at Bernie's) and German actor-director Roger Fritz, whose photographs of luminaries like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the Beatles and Alain Delon were shown at a local museum.

Other films of note were Michael Polish’s For Lovers Only, Mikkel Norgaard’s raunchy comedy Clown and Chris Sivertson’s New-Orleans-lensed riverboat-boxing drama Brawler.


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