Oldenburg Film Festival Cancels Top Prize Due to Budget Cuts

The "German Sundance" will not hand out its traditional cash awards this year.

The Oldenburg Film Festival, the German fest of independent film billed as the local answer to Sundance, has announced it has canceled its top award, the German Independence Award, following budget cuts.

The Independence Awards, which came with a total bursary of around $70,000 (€50,000) have been a part of the Oldenburg Festival since 2004. In 2012, the German Independence Award went to Jan-Ole Gerster's Oh Boy, which went on to become a sleeper hit and win six German Film Awards, the local equivalent of the Oscar.

The main backer of the Independence Award had been the city of Oldenburg, but funding has been irregular. After cutting support for the award in 2010, the city reinstated funding in 2011, only to cut it again the following year. Festival organizers have in the past compensated for the funding gap with help from private sponsors, but said this year that would not be enough.

The 21st Oldenburg Film Festival runs from Sept. 10 to 14.