• Arne Koerner - (c) Brit Heinecke
  • Eliza and Constanze
  • Loreto Quijada
  • Leri Metehha
  • Felix Reinecker
  • Christian_Zipfel - (c) Alison Kuhn

The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW and the Düsseldorf-based Wim Wenders Foundation have jointly awarded the Wim Wenders Grant for the seventh time. The renowned grant, which endows a total of 100,000 euros annually, enables young filmmakers to independently develop their visions for innovative visual storytelling. The pitching session this year took place digitally.

The jury – comprised of Petra Müller, managing director of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Mirko Derpmann, creative director at Scholz & Friends Agenda, and chairman Wim Wenders  – selected six projects out of a total of 33 applications. The deciding factors in the decision-making process, were the originality of the material and a convincing visual concept.

For four years now, the Wim Wenders Foundation and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW have been organising a colloquium with the scholarship holders of the two previous years. In this forum, the scholarship holders have the opportunity to report to the jury, and in particular to Wim Wenders, on the current status of their funded projects and to show first samples of their work. In addition, they support each other in the further development of their film projects. This year the colloquium will soon be held as an online conference.

The Wim Wenders Scholarship of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW was awarded for the first time in 2014. Since then, 31 scholarships have been awarded with total funding of almost 700,000 euros. The jury consisting of Wim Wenders (Chair), Petra Müller, Filmstiftung CEO, and Mirko Derpmann (Scholz & Friends) decide on the grant in a two-stage application process. After an initial pre-selection, the candidates are invited to present their projects to the jury. In addition to content-related criteria, the main focus lies on the convincing formal and visual design of the project ideas.


FOREIGNERby Loreto Quijada
Immersive film projection in public space (street cinemas), 25,000 euros

During these times of global pandemic, the Chilean director, who this year graduated from the ifs internationale filmschule köln, wants to reassess cinema as a social instrument and initiate change. “Foreigners” is a film about the history of migration in North Rhine-Westphalia, tailored to a specific (projection) location, which includes local settings such as trees, benches or stones and uses them as narrative tools. A street cinema concept that aims to open a dialogue between walls and objects in public space.

SAN SALVADORby Felix Reinecker
Animated film, 20,000 euros

Using the literary model “San Salvador” by Peter Bichsel, the protagonist Paul, a middle-aged family man, finally gets to the sentence “It’s too cold here, I’m going to South America” while drawing wavy lines and his initials. KHM graduate Reinecker combines Paul’s mental escape fantasies with scenes of the modern metropolis of Düsseldorf in the digital age, and motifs of longing for a far-off alternative reality in the south.

PESTICIDEby Christian Zipfel
A Romeo and Juliet drama set in the Ruhr area, 20,000 euros

Ansgar comes from a difficult background and finds it difficult to make his mark socially. One day he meets Jule and falls in love immediately. The two become a couple and try to lead a normal life, but it is not easy. Jule, unlike Ansgar, comes from an elite background and has a mental disability. Their fragile and intense love is permanently at stake, because Jule’s and Ansgar’s toxic environment does not tolerate their unusual relationship. A drama of classic proportions takes its deadly course. Zipfel studied film directing at the ifs internationale filmschule köln and subsequently completed a degree in documentary film direction at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf.

Wby Leri Matehha
Hybrid of feature and documentary film, 15,000 euros

At the beginning of the 20th century, German body cult enthusiasts follow their rituals on the tropical island of “W”. These include mental exercises, fasting ceremonies, expressive dances, excessive physical activity and botany. At night they are haunted by dystopian dreams about the routes Jewish refugees are taking through France. The islanders identify increasingly with the persecuted people and their desperate flight from the Nazis. Leri Matehha completed her studies at the KHM last year.

SILENT OBSERVERSby Eliza Petkova and Constanze Schmitt
A slightly unusual animal portrait, 10.000 Euro

Arkan, Tonka, Doncho, Walya and Marga live in Pirin, a small Bulgarian mountain village. The five protagonists are animals, a dog, horse, donkey, goat and a cat. The camera takes their point of view and documents the relationships to their human owners. This time the animal observes the human and not the other way around. Director Eliza Petkova studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and then at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin, as did Constanze Schmitt. Both have already completed several joint projects.

Feature film, 10,000 euros

Kaftan is a librarian in Hamburg and a lonely person, an eccentric. After finishing work, he escapes his dreary life by pretending to be a tourist and assuming false identities. On a trip, Kaftan meets the Polish couple Lena and Hubert and falls in love with the woman. Shortly afterwards his past catches up with him. Will his love be able to stand up to reality? Arne Körner completed his Master of Fine Arts in Film this year at the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts.