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Winners at The International Women's Film Festival in Dortmund

VOIR DU PAYS (The Stopover) wins the International Feature Film Competition for Women Directors worth € 15,000 
Delphine and Muriel Coulin's film about military returnees from Afghanistan received the prize at last night's award ceremony.
Actors Ariane Labed and Ginger Romàn accepted the prize.
Sally Potter wins the IWFF Dortmund | Cologne Audience Award for THE PARTY.

At the end of the 30th anniversary of the International Women's Film Festival in Dortmund, the French competition entry VOIR DU PAYS (The Stopover) by Delphine and Muriel Coulin was declared winner of the International Feature Film Competition for Women Directors at the award ceremony at Dortmunder U. Endowed with € 15,000, the prize will be divided between the directors (€ 5,000) and the German distributor (€ 10,000), which will promote the film's distribution in Germany.

VOIR DU PAYS is the story of two women soldiers Aurore (Ariane Labed) and Marine (Soko) who spend three days with their unit in a five-star hotel in Cyprus after returning from a mission in Afghanistan. Surrounded by holiday-makers, the soldiers are supposed to relax and unwind, or in military jargon "decompress" – in order to "forget the war". VOIR DU PAYS does not yet have a German distributor.

In its statement, the jury explained: "From the very beginning the tension in this film is gripping and accumulating. The characters, all in their own way, fight with inner demons that we as an audience will never be able to fully comprehend, yet their struggle gets under our skin. VOIR DU PAYS gives us an insight into a relevant topic, a world known to most of us only from the outside. Yet a world that is concerning us all more and more. Its unique and flawless cinematic narration represents an authentic and conceptual power in story telling."

This year's jury members included Dutch actress and screenwriter Marnie Blok, director of Taiwan's Women Make Waves Film Festival Pecha Lo, and film editor and script advisor Gesa Marten.

Dortmund city councilor Diane Jägers presented the prize to the two actors Ariane Labed (who played the lead in the 2011 IWFF award-winning film ATTENBERG) and Ginger Romàn, who introduced the film in Dortmund. Director Delphine Coulin already received a special mention for her debut 17 GIRLS at the 2012 International Women's Film Festival.

A special mention was given this year to THE PARTY by Sally Potter which delighted the audience at this year's opening event. In its statement, the jury explained: "The fast-paced dialogues are highly intelligent and hilariously funny. The film brings together a group of actors who turn the film script into a real-life scenario which is masterfully shot and edited into a dense social satire. As an audience, we follow this black humour with growing relish. Sally Potter has excelled herself once again with a new cinematic experiment in terms of script and directing. The film intelligently challenges our perception of relationships and allows us to reconsider stereotypes by making fun of them."

Audience Award for Sally Potter’s THE PARTY

After the last ballot papers had been counted, the winner was announced: Sally Potter's bitingly satirical social comedy THE PARTY was also the clear favourite with this year's audience. At the awards ceremony on Sunday evening at the Dortmunder U, the film was declared the winner of the Audience Award, which was sponsored by the Sparkasse Dortmund. Endowed with € 1,000, the award was presented by Tanja Frommert (head of Private Banking at Sparkasse Dortmund). Unable to accept the award in person, Sally Potter thanked the audience for their support and enthusiasm in a video message.

THE PARTY is an explosion of sharp-tongued dialogue. Hostess Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) has just been appointed shadow cabinet minister and wants to celebrate. In two rooms, the kitchen and bathroom, a social comedy unfolds that spares nobody with its wit and brilliantly brings to light the nervous tension that lies beneath the cultivated surface of the liberal left. With Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Emily Mortimer, etc.

The film is going to be launched in German cinemas on 27 July by the distributors WELTKINO.

With its focus IN CONTROL…of the situation/Alles unter Kontrolle, the International Women's Film Festival Dortmund | Cologne this year presented an exceptionally diverse programme, both politically and artistically, showing 120 films made between 1906 to 2017 from 31 countries. Visitors reacted to the films with great enthusiasm, praising the diversity and quality of the curatorial concept.  

During the anniversary celebration at the opening event, a review of the IWFF's activities in the past 30 years received widespread praise and approval. Dortmund's head of cultural affairs Jörg Stüdemann spoke of the "the most important meeting place for women in Germany", while artists such as Catrine Val described the great personal gain she had enjoyed as a result of frequent cooperations with the international festival. Jutta Brückner, film-maker and long-term head of the film department at the Berlin Academy of Arts, stressed the significance of the Festival given continued discrimination against women in the film industry, not least of all because it "encourages younger colleagues".

In addition to the film programme, numerous special events – an extensive programme of performances, a symposium on Niki de Saint Phalle, in-depth film discussions and analyses, and the great Shorts on Wheels bike tour – enjoyed great popularity with audiences. Despite the cold weather, over 100 cyclists biked through Dortmund on Friday evening and enjoyed a programme of short films that were projected onto the walls of buildings in various locations throughout the city.

The programme of films for children was so well received that a 20% increase in visitors was recorded. For the first time, a teachers' committee from Dortmund and Cologne supported the Festival for the first time, advising the organisers on film selection.

A network meeting brought together representatives of eight German organisations that campaign for gender equality and diversity in the film industry and in filmmaking. They are currently working on proposals which will be put forward to parties for the forthcoming election campaign.

The next International Women's Film Festival Dortmund | Cologne will take place in April 2018 in Cologne. 

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