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18. exground filmfest in Wiesbaden: highlights of independent

The exground filmfest in Wiesbaden is one of the most important festivals of Independent Film in Germany.
From November 11 to November 20, 2005 exground filmfest presents once again the highlights of independently produced short and long films in the Hessian capital – the best out of a record high of 1,700 entries.

The sections American Independents, News from Asia, International, documentations, and Shorts comprise about 360 productions, among them several premieres. This year’s host country, France, will open the festival with MON ANGE, a film by Serge Frydman with an outstanding Vanessa Paradis in the leading role.
Corres-pondingly, the retrospective is dedicated to Claire Denis: seven oeuvres of this master of puristic film language will be shown, amongst them BEAU TRAVAIL, NÉNETTE ET BONI and her latest films THE INTRUDER (with Béatrice Dalle in a leading role) and TOWARDS MATHILDE.

Other highlights of exground filmfest 18 are the German premiere of MYSTERIOUS SKIN (a subtle approach to the subject of child abuse) by the eccentric independent US film maker Gregg Araki, Johnnie To’s smashing action film ELECTION from Hong Kong, succesfully shown in Cannes, WITH BLOOD ON MY
HANDS – PUSHER II directed by the Danish Nicolas Winding Refn (FEAR X), as well as A HOLE IN MY HEART by Lukas Moodysson (LILJA 4-EVER) from Sweden, where the wretched microcosm of family life is drastically presented. Additionally, Mike Mills’ US production THUMBSUCKER will be shown, one of the
winners of this year’s Berlinale. Keanu Reeves and Tilda Swinton can also be seen in this ludicrous story about a 17-years-old thumbsucker. From the rising film nation India, exground filmfest presents the German premiere of SARKAR directed by Ram Gopal Varma, an exquisite hommage to Coppola’s THE GODFATHER with Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan as top act.

More than ever before, this year’s program contains documentations – most of them dealing with music, from hip-hop to punk. Before the German movie release, exground filmfest presents TOWNES VAN ZANDT by US directress Margaret Brown, an hommage to one of the greatest songwriters in music history. Multitalented Adam Green from the USA, well known in Germany as a musician, will bring his first film GEMSTONES CRACKIN’ to the Caligari FilmBühne as a world premiere. Moreover, Mike Siegel’s PASSION & POETRY – THE BALLAD OF SAM PECKINPAH will be screened, a documentary about the tragic life of one of the most renowned US directors.

The short film section comprises a record number of over 300 productions in 19 programs, partly selected by other festivals. Amongst them BEST OF, ANIMATION, MYSTERY, ART, SWEDEN, FINLAND, VIEDOEX 1 + 2 (experimental films), KLIPZONA 1 + 2 (music videos from Eastern Europe), PRIX UIP 2004, MuVi AWARD 2005 (music videos), as well as short film compilations of the Kasseler Filmfest, HfG Offenbach and of the International KurzFilmFestival Hamburg.

Two competitions are new in our program – complementary to the already established events, “Deutscher- Kurzfilm-Wettbewerb” (German Short Film Competition) and “International ON-VIDEO-WETTBEWERB”.
After the great success of “exground youth days” and the “Wiesbaden-Special”, these two programs will be further strengthened with awarding funds: a youth jury will award the prize in the section “youth days”, endowed with EUR 2,500 (youth days – Internationaler Jugendfilm-Wettbewerb); moreover the audience will decide on the best Wiesbaden director and therewith on the prize money of EUR 500 (Wiesbadener Kurzfilm-Wettbewerb) endowed by the Wiesbadener Kurier, the new local media partner of exground filmfest.

Once again, the festival center is located at the Caligari FilmBühne, one of Germany’s most beautiful movie theatres of the 20s. Other screening locations are the Alpha Kino and the Kulturpalast.

The festival will be framed by an opening and a closing party, concerts, readings (in The Literaturhaus Villa Clementine), workshops and panel discussions. One of the highlights: the concert of the Berlin duo “Stereo
Total” at the Schlachthof Wiesbaden on November 17, 2005.

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