4th Annual Awarding of the Wim Wenders Grant

In a ceremony held at Düsseldorf’s Filmwerkstatt this evening, together with Wim Wenders Stiftung the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW presented the Wim Wenders Grant for the fourth year in a row. The grant, awarded annually and with a total value of 100,000 euros, is intended to provide young filmmakers with the necessary freedom to develop their cinematic ideas independently and self-sufficiently.

From a total of 27 submitted applications, the jury chaired by Wim Wenders himself selected five projects to receive the grant. In addition to the quality of the material, the originality of the projects’ visual conception was the primary deciding factor for the jury. In addition to Wim Wenders, the jury was composed of Petra Müller, CEO of Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, and Mirko Derpmann, creative director and partner of the Scholz & Friends Group.

“As an initiative for supporting young talent unique in Germany, the Wim Wenders Grant gives young creative artists the freedom to think radically both from a formal and thematic point of view. This year’s grant recipients took advantage of this opportunity in an impressive manner. We would like to thank all those who applied for their film ideas and we congratulate the recipients of the class of 2017 and wish them great success in the development of their projects,” commented Petra Müller, CEO of Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. “We would like to thank Wim Wenders, Laura Schmidt and her team, the Board of Trustees, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the City of Düsseldorf and all of our partners and supporters for an excellent co-operation characterized by trust over five wonderful and productive years.”

Jury chairman Wim Wenders: “This year, all of the grant recipients really knocked us off our feet. They are developing stories and shedding light on phenomena that determine our everyday existence or will shape it in the very near future, and they are striving to relate all this with their own point of view and the newest means available. On the fifth anniversary of our foundation and in harmony with its mission, the works of these up-and-coming talents are a testament to the fact that the evolution of the artistic medium of film continues unabated. I would like to congratulate this year’s grant recipients and also express my gratitude to their predecessors, who in the scope of the colloquium once again this year allowed us to experience the density and diversity present in the development of the material for their supported projects, which have already discovered new paths and forms.”

As was the case last year, on the eve of the grant presentation ceremony a colloquium took place with the grant recipients of the previous two years. In the scope of this event, the filmmakers briefed the jury headed by Wim Wenders on the current state of the funded projects, showed first samples of their work and engaged in a dialogue with their peers and jury members about the further development of their films.

The selected projects for 2017:

Freetime Mermaid” by Miriam Gossing and Lina Sieckmann, Cologne, experimental documentary film, 30,000 euros

“Freetime Mermaid” takes an artistic, essayistic look at the phenomenon of “mermaiding” – women that adopt the persona of the mermaid for the most diverse reasons. At first glance the extravagant acts of a fringe group, this pop (cultural) game of identity reveals itself to be a perfect foil for reflections on staging, gender relations and mass culture.

The Way We Were” by Marten Persiel, Berlin, experimental documentary film, 30,000 euros

Will our era seem like a golden past to coming generations? In the year 2045, endless monocultures feed 10 billion humans. The cacophonous choir of bird song that once characterized the 20th century is now all but mute. Alas, images of the extinct species continue to flicker on in memory. In this film, people live out their longing to return to the golden age of the 2010s and 20s – our present – to those days in which the great dying-out was merely a footnote to endless political and religious conflicts. A historical documentation from a not all too distant future.

Popping the Question” by Rosana Cuellar, Hamburg, 3D feature film, 20,000 euros

In the 18th century, two girls from the countryside follow a scheming agent to the big city, where they hope to start a new life. Once there, they are confronted with capitalism, with the temptation to sacrifice their values to the pursuit of success and the fulfillment of immediate needs. Soon the girls are faced with the choice between adapting to the new world or being devoured by it.

Stadt aus Schrott” by Jürgen Brügger, Jörg Haaßengier, Gerhard Schick, Cologne, 360° documentary film, 10,000 euros

Whatever Europe no longer needs ends up in Africa – in Agbogbloshie, the biggest electrojunk garbage dump in the world and one of Earth’s most contaminated places. In this VR film we dive into an apocalyptic vision with teens Ondiege and Charles, who live and work at the landfill, a world that has more to do with us than we all might think.

“Stille” by Anatol Schuster, Berlin, feature film, 10,000 euros

On the way to work, Klara stops dead in her tracks. From this moment on, she ceases to live the life she had become accustomed to. Piece by piece, she dissolves her identity. She withdraws to the basement – and becomes stylized as a basement saint. She stops speaking – and is declared insane. Alas, Klara doesn’t succumb to external pressures. Liberated, she flows through the pulse of the metropolis as a phenomenon. Klara finds calm in perpetual motion. Her neighbor, a contemporary composer, follows her puzzling path with curiosity, finally attempting to lend a musical form to silence.

The Wim Wenders Grant was presented for the first time in 2014. To date, 17 grants have been awarded in total, representing an overall funding sum of 395,000 euros. A jury under the chairmanship of Wim Wenders selects the grant recipients in the scope of a two-stage application process. After an initial pre-selection, the candidates are invited to present their projects to the jury personally. In addition to thematic criteria, the jury is above all interested in seeing a convincing formal and visual approach to the realization of the project ideas.

Further information and documentation concerning the Wim Wenders Grant can be found at: filmstiftung.de sowie  wimwendersstiftung.de


Photo: Marten Persiel („The Way We Were“), Rosana Cuellar („Popping the Question“), Anatol Schuster („Stille“), Lina Sieckmann und Miriam Gossing („Freetime Mermaid“), Jörg Haaßengier und Jürgen Brügger („Stadt aus Schrott“). Jury: Mirko Derpmann (Scholz & Friends), Wim Wenders, Petra Müller (Film- und Medienstiftung NRW), © Anna Kaduk/Film- und Medienstiftung NRW