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exground filmfest 20th program presents about 300 films

Section highlights for the jubilee / focus Benelux / many German premieres
In 2007, exground filmfest in Wiesbaden is taking place for the 20th time. For this occasion not only the highlights of the current program of independently produced short and full feature films will be shown in the capital of Hessen, but an especially designed section of Highlights containing cult films from the past 19 festivals. From November 16 through November 25, exground filmfest is presenting about 300 films from 37 countries – in the classic sections American Independents, News from Asia, International, Documentary, Focus, and Shorts as well as in the contests. This year´s focus is on the current filmic work of the Benelux- countries.
On November 16th 2007 the festival starts with the all-star media satire DELIRIOUS. The latest film by US Independent director Tom DiCillo convinces with its mixture of fairy tale, friendship drama, and eccentric comedy - and with Steve Buscemi as a big-headed paparazzo on top form. More highlights in the American Independents series are the German premieres: PARK by Kurt Voelker is about ten people (Hollywood-Star William Baldwin among them), whose paths are crossing during their lunch break. A CRIME by Manuel Pradal, starring Harvey Keitel as a lead character, is a thriller peppered with various twists. THE BIG BAD SWIM by Ishai Setton is a feel-good movie providing great entertainment - swimming lessons turn into life training. VIVA also is showing the escape from regular structures: A bored housewife is looking for adventure and so unlocks new (erotic) worlds. As a cinema preview in this series, we are presenting the horror film SEED by Uwe Boll, where a mass murderer is buried alive after his failed execution. He gets out of his grave and seeks a merciless revenge. The director, who received the Hessian film award in October, will be present at the screening.
Within the International program, exground filmfest is showing this year´s winner of the "Goldene Palme" (Golden Palm tree) at the International Film festival in Cannes as a preview. The Romanian drama 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS by Christian Mungiu is authentically telling the touching story of a young woman who is subjected to an illegal abortion during the totalitarian Ceaucescu regime. NIMMERMEHR by Toke Constantin Hebbeln is a wonderful fairy tale about growing up and the power of dreams, and has won the student´s Oscar in 2007. Last but not least, in this program we are showing the highly awarded fake documentary DEATH OF A PRESIDENT by Gabriel Range, about the ficticious assassination of US president George W. Bush. LOLA, the debut film by Spanish director Javier Rebollo, is using breathless monologues to tell the story of León whose only purpose in life is observing his neighbor Dolores.
Within the Documentary sector, exground filmfest is presenting DOS PATRIAS, CUBA Y LA NOCHE by Christian Liffers from Wiesbaden as a German premiere. The director is using the poetry of Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas as a reference point to trace the life stories of six homosexual men in today´s Cuba. A haunting debut is MANDA BALA – SEND A BULLET by Jason Kohn, who will be present at the screening. The documentary is impressively connecting the beautiful sides of Brazilian beaches, Samba rhythms and rain forest with the dark sides such as corruption and brutal kidnapping. A pulsating time travel through German Hip-Hop Community FREUNDESKREIS is attempted by „FK 10". With various interviews, videos and live footage, the ten year-story of the band Freundeskreis is told here.
Within the program News from Asia, the Japanese film BAKUSHI, THE INCREDIBLE LIVES OF ROPE-MASTERS is showing fascinating insights into aesthetically staged sadomasochistic fantasies. In his documentary, the internationally well-known director Ryuichi Hiroki is showing the intense relationship between the rope-masters and their models.
He has covered a quite similar topic in his film M, where the former Miss Japan plays the main character, an unattended housewife who is forced to have SM sex with customers by a Yakuza gangster. Ryuichi Hiroki will present both films personally in Wiesbaden. For action film lovers, EXILED by internationally renowned director Johnny To is a treat. As a postmodern Hong Kong western, the film is transporting themes of the Wild West into the even wilder East.
In this year's country Focus, we concentrate on the current filmic work of the Benelux countries. Amongst short film programs of short feature films as well as video art from the Netherlands and Belgium, you can also find German full feature film premieres. WILD ROMANCE by Jean van den Velde, the first Rock´n' Roll film from the Netherlands, is covering the rise and fall of Rock star Hermann Brood during the Wild Seventies. WAITER by Alex van Warmerdam is the amusing story of disillusioned Edgar - a wonderful comedy about the eternal question regarding the meaning of one´s own existence. The program Focus is generously sponsored by the Dutch Embassy.
On the occasion of the 20th edition of the exground filmfest, we are re-screening highlights from the past 19 festivals. There will be a wide range of genres, from the splatter movie NEKROMANTIK by Jörg Buttgereit to Abel Ferrara's character study about a corrupt policeman, BAD LIEUTENANT (starring Harvey Keitel), from the cult film ROADKILL by Canadian Bruce McDonald (who is also represented in this year's program with his work THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS) to the scandalous film KEN PARK by famous US photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark, to CHUNGKING EXPRESS, which started Wong Kar-wai´s triumphant journey from Hong Kong to the international festivals.
The program Shorts again introduces a hugely varied mixture. Beneath the classics BEST OF, ANIMATION, DOCUMENTARIES, and PRIX UIP, there are up-to-date emphases. The short films from the CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT topic are taking an artistic look at the current climate discussions, the works within the German compilation MACH DOCH WAS DU WILLST deal with modern working society. Two programs deliver an insight into the independent art scene in China, which uses its films to come to terms with the new economical big power between today and yesterday. Also part of the program: 10 Jahre KIMUAK, including Basque short films from the last couple of years.
One of exground filmfest's highlights have always been the contests: In the „Deutsche Kurzfilm-Wettbewerb" (German short film contest), ten productions compete for the prize money of 6.000 EUR in total (the prize money for the 1st and the 3rd place is sponsored by the Department of Culture of the Hessian capital Wiesbaden – the prize money for the 2nd place by ESWE Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH). 22 films from 10 countries are competing for the „International ON-VIDEO contest" this year. As always, a jury of experts is awarding 1.500 EUR (donated by the Hessian capital Wiesbaden) for the best video short film. For the third time, the audience award of 500 EUR is presented to the winner of the „Wiesbaden-Special – short film contest", donated by our media partner Wiesbadener Kurier: ten local directors are competing for this award.
The supporting cultural and entertainment program consists of already legendary opening and closing parties, a lounge with French pop music, the Belgium band THE GO FIND in concert and also the "comeback" of Wiesbaden cult band DIE RODRIGO BROTHERS FEAT. DIE RODRIGO SISTERS.
As a festival within the festival, youth days has been established as a program for spectators aged 12 to 18. Five productions compete in the fourth „youth days – Internationaler Jugendfilm-Wettbewerb", endowed with 2.500 EUR (donated by the Hessian capital Wiesbaden). Opener PRINZESSINNENBAD by Bettina Blümner is a breathtakingly authentic documentary from Germany about growing up in the Berlin-Kreuzberg neighbourhood. This is followed by the Swedish film HOPPET by Petter Næss, describing the personal fate of Arabic immigrants in Western Europe. The challenges which 12-year-old Dvir has to face in the film SWEET MUD by Dror Shaul from Israel are much different, taking place in a kibbuz in the Seventies.
The German production WIE ES BLEIBT, created by eight alumni from the "Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film" (HFF) in Munich, is about group dynamics in a flat-sharing community. This series is closed by DAS MÄDCHEN, DAS DURCH DIE ZEIT SPRANG by Mamoru Hosoda, a touching and also artistically executed animation from Japan.

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