London Film School to be special guests at German film festival

“It’s very important to foster dialogue and cooperation between the young creatives in Europe” - London Film School to be special guests at German film festival

A delegation of filmmakers from London Film School has been invited to present at the Festival Max Ophüls Preis in Saarbrücken this month.

The festival, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, takes place from the 14 to 20 January and is Germany’s most important forum for up-and-coming German-speaking filmmakers.

Peter Hollywood, our Head of Editing, will accompany recent graduates Lara Zeidan, Franco Volpi, and Frederic Kau to Saarbrücken, where they will present a programme of recent LFS shorts, followed by a Q&A on the films and the school’s philosophy. They will also attend a reception with festival guests including German film students, film school representatives and producers.

Festival Programme Manager Oliver Baumgarten said, “Since 1980 every year in January, young filmmaking professionals from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg present their films in our distinguished. One of our finest tasks is to create an active networking environment and bring together young filmmakers with film industry professionals of all kind. For some years now, we have gradually opened our focus to include the young filmmaking scene of our neighbouring countries. For us, it seems very important to foster dialogue and cooperation between the young creatives in Europe. Within this framework, we annually invite an international film school to present itself. Last year's guests were La Fémis from Paris and the Lodz Film School. This year we would love to welcome the London Film School as our guest in Saarbrücken.”

A diverse selection of five films has been selected to demonstrate the success of the work coming out of London Film School. Zhannat Alshanova’s ‘End of Season’ was an Official Selection at the 71st Cannes Film Festival Cinefondation, while Andrew Rose’s ‘All You Can Carry’ won Best Student Film and Best Cinematography at this year's British Horror Film Festival and will soon screen at the London Short Film Festival. The students chosen to represent the school in Saarbrücken will also be screening their recent graduation films, some of which have already had a fantastic festival run over the last year. 

The students chosen to represent the school will all be screening their recent graduation films, some of which have already had a fantastic festival runs over the last year.

Lara Zeidan’s ‘Three Centimetres’ won the Teddy Award for Best Short Film and screened as part of the Generation 14plus competition at last year’s Berlinale. The one-take film was shot on a Ferris wheel with Beirut as its backdrop and follows three girls as they attempt to cheer up their friend after a breakup. The film has been selected at over 50 festivals, from Cardiff to Melbourne, and in October, Lara, who is of Lebanese/Canadian descent, won the £30,000 Iris Prize, which is the largest in the world for LGBT+ short films. Produced by fellow grad and assistant director John Giordano and shot by Pierfrancesco Cioffi, ‘Three Centimetres’ was also an Official Selection at the 2018 BFI Flare Festival.

Franco Volpi, who hails from Argentina, will screen his film ‘Sol de Agosto’ (August Sun) in what will be its German premiere. The film, which tells the story of Javier, an Argentine expat living in Europe who returns to his hometown of Buenos Aires to help his mother following his father's death, recently won Best Student Film Award at the 15th KINOFILM Festival in Manchester. In total, it has had over twenty official selections in international festivals in ten countries, plus numerous shortlists and awards.

“I finished August Sun a year ago at the end of January 2018” says Franco. “Back then, I was focusing on making a short film that was good enough to graduate with. So, as 2018 unfolded, I was by turns relieved, surprised and overjoyed at the way August Sun was received, both by colleagues and teachers at LFS and by various film festivals. Needless to say, I'm very grateful for the way things have turned out for my grad film. And now, just mere weeks away from attending my own graduation ceremony, I'll be going to the Max Ophüls Film Festival in Germany along with some fellow LFSers to showcase the school's work. I think of all this as a great way to cap my time at LFS. It's a privilege. But it's a responsibility, as well: to make sure I continue pushing myself to be a good storyteller. Here's hoping!"

Frederic Kau, who is originally from Germany, graduated in Spring 2018 and is currently living in Munich. His graduation film ‘Rubberneck’ will have its world premiere at the festival. The film tells the story of Hannah, a British truck driver passing through Germany, who decides to pick up two male refugees from the side of the road. The encounter soon takes an unexpected turn which is nothing like what it first seemed.

On being asked to represent LFS at the festival, Frederic said: “Having been a foreign student from Germany, I am very grateful that LFS’s reputation reaches beyond the UK and can help its students in their respective home countries.”

We couldn’t agree more - London Film School is honoured to have been asked to be a part of the Festival Max Ophüls Preis’s 40th anniversary and we wish a fantastic trip to all our delegates!

Written by Sophie McVeigh