The 2004 Awardees

Casting Award to Risa Kes

Since 1997 the Cologne Conference in cooperation with Colonia Media, has been awarding outstanding achievements in casting. The award highlights the significance of putting together an acting ensemble for a film or television production. The award recognizes the value that independent, professional casting agents have for a creative film and television industry. Further, the prize honors individuals whose casting achievements have made a major contribution to a current film or television production and who have repeatedly shown an instinct for assembling the right ensemble.

The Casting Award 2004 goes to Risa Kes. Since her name first appeared on the screen in 1979 in the credits of Peter Lilienthal’s film DAVID (the screen was in Berlin and DAVID won the Golden Bear), she has continuously shown casting to be a hugely important element in the art of film production. At a time when casting was still in its infancy as a profession and generally pooh-poohed as a pseudo-serious auxiliary to the creative process, Risa Kes staked her reputation on professional standards and a sure-fire instinct for »the right one«. In 1981 in Munich, together with An Dorthe Braker and Sabine Schroth, she opened one of the very first independent casting agencies, and quite rightly has pride-of-place a German industry pioneer. Since starting out, Risa Kes has repeatedly proven – in an exceptionally wide range of projects ranging from international blockbusters to major German productions to sophisticated »auteur« films to moving television dramas – that a sensitive casting process courageous enough to make original choices is one of the key steps on the long road from rustling script to rousing film (As a mention of even the highlights of Ms. Kes’ career would be beyond the scope of this panegyric, a selection of her works can be found on the opposite page).

Producer Award to Stefan Schubert and Ralph Schwingel

Since 1998, the Cologne Conference together with the Association of German Television Producers have awarded a prize for outstanding achievement in film and/or television production. The award recognizes the significant contribution the creative and organizational work of the producer makes to the realization of high quality film and television productions.Worthy of recognition in this area is not only the production of single outstanding productions, but also the continuous work of a producer in raising and developing qualitative standards.

The Producer Award 2004 goes to Stefan Schubert and Ralph Schwingel. Since founding the WÜSTE Filmproduktion in 1989, the award winners have produced almost 30 feature films, documentaries, television features and short films. Those who love cliches will be surprised that two psychology graduates are capable of producing a film at all; those who love their films are most often enamored of the unconventional subject matter and the psychological complexity of the characters. A further trademark of WÜSTE films is the crossing of borders – whether its the conflict with actual political borders in IM JULI or the cultural borders crossed by the protagonists in SOLINO, ANAM, KURZ UND SCHMERZLOS and AUF DER KIPPE. In light of the precisely observed and original subject matter of their productions, it’s not surprising that Schubert and Schwingel have made it their business to cultivate and support young talent. Fatih Akin, whose GEGEN DIE WAND recently walked away with the Golden Bear in Berlin, is one of their discoveries, and we can expect to hear a lot more from Buket Alakus (ANAM) and Felix Randau (NORTHERN STAR) in the future as well.

Screenwriter Award to Michael Gutmann

Again this year the Cologne Conference together with the National Association of German Television Producers and Network Movie awards a prize for the outstanding achievements of a screenwriter. This honors the significant contribution made by the screenplay author to the preparation, realization and success of a noteworthy television or film production. The award recognizes outstanding screenwriters whose works – in narrative form and subject matter – have enriched television and film culture.

The 2004 Screenwriter Award goes to Michael Gutmann. He first worked as a cartoonist before completing studies at the HFF Munich. After that he earned his stripes as a director of TV series. It is with the 1995 »Tatort« DER KÖNIG KEHRT ZURÜCK that Gutmann proves his mettle as a screenplay author. In the same year he completed the coming-of-age story NACH FÜNF IM URWALD, a lively comedy-of-manners with many vivid moments that manages to avoid shrill caricature and raucous comedy. The process of a teenager emancipating herself from her parents is developed with such subtle consistency that the ordinary, everyday becomes sensational. It was the first collaborative effort with the director Hans-Christian Schmid. In the years that followed some outstanding films emerged from their screenplay laboratory. Especially 23 (1998) and most recently LICHTER (2003) are brilliantly constructed studies adept at portraying complex social realities with simple stories.

These qualities haven’t gone unnoticed in critic’s circles. In 1996 the TV drama NUR FÜR EINE NACHT was awarded the Adolf-Grimme-Prize. As in his last cinema feature HERZ IM KOPF (2001), the piece is effective in telling stories from daily life with intelligent humor and an astonishing scope of complexity in form and content.

TV Spielfilm Award 2004 “State of Play” by David Yates

This year’s TV Spielfilm Award goes to David Yates’ STATE OF PLAY. The Cologne Conference congratulates David Yates

PHOENIX Award 2004 “One Shot” by One Shot Productions Ltd.

The PHOENIX Award 2004 goes to ONE SHOT by One Shot Productions Ltd. The Cologne Conference congratulates to the Award.