Dear ThomasAndreas Kleinert’s artistic black-and-white biopic about the late poet, writer and director Thomas Brasch, won the Lola for Best Film at the 2022 German Film Awards.
Kleinert also won Best Director and Albrecht Schuch won Best Actor 2022 for his lead role as Brasch. This is the third acting Lola in three years for Schuch, who won two Lolas in 2020, both for Best Actor (for System crash) and Best Supporting Actor (for Berlin’s Alexanderplatz). His Dear Thomas co-star Jella Haase won Best Supporting Actress and Thomas Wendrich won Best Screenplay Lola for her screenplay. Dear Thomas also won Lola for Best Editing for Gisela Zick, Best Costume Design for Anne-Gret Oehme and Best Cinematography for Johann Feind.
Keeping Dear Thomas of a clean sweep at the Lolas 2022 in Berlin on Friday evening was Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush, the heartwarming true tale of David vs. Goliath by Andreas Dresen about a mother who fights to save her son from Guantanamo. Meltem Kaptan got Best Actress for her lead performance, in her first major film role, playing the titular matriarch who fights the system. Co-star Alexander Scheer won Best Supporting Actor for his performance as aging idealistic leftist lawyer Bernhard Docke, who helps Kurnaz take his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Rabie Kurnaz also won second place Silver Lola for Best Picture. Rabie Kurnaz premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, where Kaptan won the Best Actress trophy.
The prison drama of Sebastian Meise Great Freedom, which follows a man repeatedly imprisoned under Paragraph 175, which criminalized homosexuality in Germany for decades after the end of the Nazi dictatorship, won Best Picture Bronze Lola.
In the other technical categories, Heiko Schmidt, Kerstin Gaecklein and Roman Braunhofer won Best Makeup for their work Great Freedom; The literary adaptation of Sabrina Sarabi No one is with the calves won Best Sound Design for the team of Jonathan Schorr, Dominik Leube, Gregor Bonse and John Gürtler. The Lola for Best Original Film Score went to Annette Focks for her score by Karoline Herfurth Wunderschon.
by Tobias Wiemann The path, the story of two children and a dog fleeing the Nazis, won the Lola 2022 for best children’s film. Another children’s movie, Gregor Schnitzler’s action/animated feature School of Magical Animalstook best visual effects for Dennis Rettkowski, Markus Frank and Tomer Eshed.
by Antonia Kilian The Other Side of the River, which follows a 19-year-old Syrian woman who escaped from an arranged marriage across the Euphrates to return with a Kurdish military unit in an attempt to liberate her town from Islamic State, won the 2022 Lola for best documentary film .
The 2022 Bernd Eichinger Award, which recognizes excellence in film production, went to Berlin-based Komplizen Film, whose recent feature films included Pablo Larraín’s biopic Lady Di spencer with Kristen Stewart and Ildiko Enyedi My wife’s story with Lea Seydoux. Honorary Lifetime Achievement Lola was awarded to German cinematographer Jürgen Jürges (funny games, Jean Rabe).
The awards ceremony, held in Berlin on Friday evening, put a bright shine on what has been a horrific year for German cinema. Box office receipts in 2021 were just $395 million (€373.2 million), barely higher than the 2020 box office of €318 million, at the height of the measures of the COVID-19 lockdown, and barely a third of the $1.08 billion (€1.024 billion) German theaters took in pre-pandemic 2019.
Of the six nominees for Best Picture Lola this year, only two (Sönke Wortmann’s college comedy Contrawhich made $7.2 million at the German box office, and the romantic comedy from Herfurth Wunderschon, earning $15.6 million) can be called hits. Of the top 20 films released in Germany last year, only three were in the local language.
Friday’s winners and nominees walk away with handsome change – $529,000 (€500,000) for Best Picture, $265,000 (€250,000) for a nomination – but for the German film industry the real challenge remains to get local audiences to spend more of their euros on local cinema.