One-Take Thriller 'Victoria' Wins German Film Awards

Courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival

Director Laura Poitras, accepting a best documentary trophy for 'Citizenfour,' calls on Germany to grant asylum to Edward Snowden.

Take that, Birdman

Victoria, a German thriller shot in a single, unedited take, has won big at the Lolas, Germany's equivalent of the Oscars, winning six trophies, including best film, best director for Sebastian Schipper, and best acting honors for stars Laia Costa and Frederick Lau.

Unlike Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Oscar-winning drama, which uses camera tricks and special effects to create the appearance of a single-take, Victoria is the real deal. Schipper and his team shot the entire two hour and twenty minute film without a single cut.

The movie follows the eponymous Victoria, a Spanish party girl (Costa)  looking for thrills who hits the town with four Berlin locals. But their night of partying takes a wrong turn and they end up taking part in a bank robbery.

"Crime pays!" joked Schipper accepting his best film trophy. He dedicated his best director Lola to the other nominated filmmakers and to "all those who haven't been nominated."

"Thank you Berlin," said Costa, hoisting her best actress trophy. "Here is where I had my first lead role, here is where I had my first film festival and here is where I have my first acting award. It feels like home." 

Victoria premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won a Silver Bear for outstanding artistic achievement for cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grovlen. Grovlen picked up a best cinematography Lola for his groundbreaking work, with Victoria also taking the trophy for best film music. Adopt Film has acquired Victoria for the U.S..

Victoria Trailer

Jack, a powerful social drama from director Edward Berger, won the runner-up best film Lola in silver.

Baran bo Odar’s slick hacker thriller Who Am I – No System is Safe won three Lolas, including for best editing, best set design and best sound design. Odar's follow-up will be his English-language debut, the Jamie Foxx-starrer Sleepless Nights.

Who Am I - No System is Safe Trailer

We Are Young, We are Strong, a black-and-white period drama from director Burhan Qurbani, won the best supporting actor trophy for rising star Joel Basman. The fictional feature is based on a real-life attack in 1992, when a German mob set fire to a building housing refugees. Given the growing anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, the film, sadly, couldn't be more timely.

Another feature with a ripped-from-the-headlines feel is Johannes Naber’s globalization satire Age of Cannibals, which picked up the Bronze Best Film Lola as well as the trophy for best screenplay for Stefan Weigl's biting, politically-incorrect script. The drama follows three high-flying corporate consultants who find themselves trapped in a luxury hotel in an African nation on the brink of revolution.

The best supporting actress Lola went to Nina Kunzendorf for her role as a Holocaust survivor in Christian Petzold's film noir Phoenix, set in the years just after WWII. 

Rico, Oskar and the Pasta Detectives, a children's book adaptation from director Neele Leana Vollmar, won in the best children's film category. 

CitizenfourLaura PoitrasOscar-winning documentary on Edward Snowden, won the Lola for best documentary. The film was a German co-production, and much of the editing and post-production was done in the country.

Poitras thanked her German team for giving her "a safe space" to work on her film, before calling on the German government to grant political aslyum to NSA whistleblower Snowden. 

"My country is on the wrong side of history," Poitras said, adding she hoped Germany "would lead the way and grant asylum to Edward Snowden."

Citizenfour Trailer

The German film put forward (unsuccessfully) for the 2015 foreign-language Oscar race, Dominik Graf’s romantic period drama Beloved Sisters, picked up the Lola for best costume design for Barbara Grupp's sumptuous outfits as well as best make up for Nannie Gebhardt-Seele and Tatjana Krauskopf

But another costume designer stole the show: Barbara Baum, best known as Rainer Werner Fassbinder's designer on such films as The Marriage of Maria Braun, Effi Briest and Lili Marlene, received a lifetime achievement award and took the stage to a standing ovation from the members of the German Film Academy. 

Til Schweiger, Germany's biggest box office draw, finally got his due at the 2015 Lolas, which were held Friday, June 19 in Berlin. The multi-hyphenate picked up a special Lola for his tragicomedy Head Full of Honey, in the newly-created category of most commercially successful German film of the year. Honey grossed nearly $65 million in Germany, with 7 million tickets sold, more than the rest of this year's Lola nominees combined. Schweiger is planning a U.S. remake of the feature, in which a grandfather, suffering from dementia, sets off on a road trip with his granddaughter to Venice.  

Full list of 2015 Lola Winners.

Best German Film, Lola in Gold
Victoria, dir. Sebastian Schipper

Best German Film, Lola in Silver
Jack, dir. Edward Berger

Best German Film, Lola in Bronze
Age of Cannibals, dir. Johannes Naber

Best Director
Sebastian Schipper for Victoria

Best German Documentary
Citizenfour, dir. Laura Poitras

Best German Children’s Film
Rico, Oskar and the Pasta Detectives, dir. Neele Leana Vollmar

Best Screenplay
Stefan Weigl for Age of Cannibals

Best Actress
Laia Costa for Victoria

Best Actor
Frederick Lau for Victoria

Best Supporting Actress
Nina Kunzendorf for Phoenix

Best Supporting Actor
Joel Basman for We Are Young, We Are Strong

Best Cinematography
Sturla Brandth Grovlen for Victoria

Best Editing
Robert Rzesacz for Who Am I – No System is Safe

Best Set Design
Silke Buhr for Who Am I – No System is Safe

Best Costume Design
Barbara Grupp for Beloved Sisters

Best Make Up
Nannie Gebhardt-Seele, Tatjana Krauskopf for Beloved Sisters

Best Film Music
Nils Frahm for Victoria

Best Sound Design
Bernhard Joest-Daberitz, Florian Beck, Ansgar Frerich, Daniel Weis for Who Am I – No System is Safe

Lifetime Achievement Award
Barbara Baum