First-timer wins Munich fest's director prize

Timo Muller's debut set in small-town Germany

COLOGNE, Germany -- "Morscholz," a claustrophobic drama set in small-town Germany, won the Munich Film Festival's best director prize, the event's top award, for first-timer Timo Muller.

Morscholz is the name of the small southern village where the action is set. The three-person jury of actress Fritzi Haberlandt, director Marcus H. Rosenmuller and producer Christian Becker called Muller's debut "controversial, challenging and brave. Timo Muller is a directing talent and we are eagerly anticipating his next film."

"Morscholz" almost didn't make it to Munich. Muller ran out of money and state subsidy body FFF Bayern had to step in to supply the cash for a 35mm print to screen at the festival.

Heiko Martens won Munich's best screenplay prize for her script to the psychological thriller "Fool's Game," which Markus F. Adrian directed. Susanne Wolff won best actress for her starring roles in Emily Atef's "The Stranger in Me" and Jan George Schutte's "Lucky People," and Markus Tomczyk won best actor for Sven Taddicken's "Professor Braams -- The Innocent Murderer."

The 25th Munich Film Festival wraps up Sunday.