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Hesse @ Berlinale 2024

News 03. Jan 24

The program of the 74th Film Festival is complete: We are looking forward to the horror film »Cuckoo« by Tilman Singer in the »Berlinale Special Gala 2024« section, «Elbow« by Aslı Özarslan in the Generation 14plus competition as well as »Shahid« by Narges Kalhor and »Well Ordered Nature« by Eva C. Heldmann in the Berlinale Forum.

»Cuckoo« at Berlinale Special Gala

After his award-winning graduation film »Luz«, KHM graduate Tilman Singer wrote and directed his first feature film »Cuckoo«. On a trip to the German Alps with her father and stepmother, Gretchen (Hunter Schafer from HBO’s »Euphoria«) discovers that the resort town where they’re staying hides sinister secrets, as she’s plagued by strange noises and frightening visions of a woman pursuing her. Soon, Gretchen finds herself pulled into a conspiracy involving bizarre experiments by the resort’s owner that echo back generations.  

The international cast of Schafer, Dan Stevens, Jessica Henwick, Marton Csókás and Jan Bluthardt was in front of the camera in Wuppertal, Krefeld, Mönchengladbach and Hesse, among other places. »Cuckoo« is a Neon production produced by Düsseldorf based Fiction Park and Los Angeles based Waypoint Entertainment. We have supported »Cuckoo« with 380,000 euros. Additional funding came from Filmstiftung NRW and DFFF. 


»Elbow« in the Generation 14plus competition

Another funded film will screen in the Generation 14plus competition: Aslı Özarslan's feature film »Elbow« will celebrate its world premiere at the Berlinale in February.
The film adaptation of Fatma Aydemir's novel is about Hazal from Berlin. On her 18th birthday, she wants to celebrate with her three best friends and forget her dreary everyday life. After fatal decisions and a fatal incident, Hazal flees to Istanbul, a new city in a country she doesn't know.

»Elbow« is a production of Achtung Panda! in co-production with Istos Film, Tripode Film and jip film & verleih. We supported the production with 200,000 euros.


»Shahid« & »Well Ordered Nature« in the Berlinale Forum

In her hybrid debut film »Shahid«, director Narges Kalhor plays with documentary, fictional and performative elements outside the usual genres and also tells her personal story: a filmmaker wants to have her second surname Shahid, which means martyr, removed and meets her great-grandfather - who died as a martyr. »Shahid« is a personal film that questions all kinds of radical ideologies - and doesn't always take itself too seriously. »Shahid« will be shown in the »Berlinale Forum« section, which aims to expand the understanding of cinema through works that are aesthetically and thematically unconventional. »Shahid« received 100,000 euros in production funding.

The documentary film »Well Ordered Nature« will also be shown in the Berlinale Forum. In the film, director Eva C. Heldmann sheds light on her Hessian hometown of Dillenburg, which lost its status as a civil service town in the course of the district town reform in the 1970s, and explores the question of what defines the town's identity today. She focuses on the pedagogue and botanist Catharina Helena Dörrien and her time in Orange-Nassau in the 18th century: even during her lifetime, she was a famous woman in the scientific world. Catharina Helena Dörrien was one of the intellectual mothers of the women's movement. We have sponsored »Well Ordered Nature« with 35,000 euros.


Both »Elbow« and »Shahid« are nominated for the GWFF Best First Feature Award, that is endowed with 50,000 euros, donated by the GWFF (Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten), a society dedicated to safeguarding film and television rights.