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The History Of The Five Lakes Film Festival

from 2007 to 2023 - New Horizons

Ever since 2007, the Five Lakes Film Festival (FSFF) has been inviting film-makers and film enthusiasts to the summery Five Lakes Region - traditionally starting at the end of July and beginning of August. Wonderfully situated villages at the five Upper Bavarian lakes Starnberger See, Ammersee, Pilsensee, Wörthsee and Weßlinger See, about 30 kilometres southwest of Munich welcome the visitors. The venues have varied over the years, but in recent years the towns of Starnberg, Seefeld, Gauting and Weßling, as well as Steinebach am Wörthsee have become the focus of the festival.

The lively and widely popular character of the festival is due to its open and multilayered interested audience. And of course, that every year more and more top-class filmmakers visit the festival and engage in in-depth and personal film discussions with the audiences after the screenings.

The precursors of the Five Lakes Film Festival was a short film open-air festival from 1999, later on a children's film festival and then the Three Seasons Film Festival. Due to the ever-growing range of films and the discovery of top-class films, which for various reasons did not make it onto German cinema screens and sometimes also not onto Upper Bavarian festival screens, the idea of founding their own film festival arose in 2007.

Surprised by the success, the festival team succeeded in winning Michael Ballhaus as guest of honour in 2008. It was due to his presence that attention was drawn to the extraordinary programme of the Five Lakes Film Festival.

With the slogan "profound - undiscovered - sparkling", the third film festival was held in 2009 and attracted an amount of 50% more visitors, mainly thanks to the programme, which was expanded up to 100 films, and the guest of honour Volker Schlöndorff.

In 2010 the FSFF once again showed 100 short and feature films, expanded the venues, presented two open-air cinemas, as well as an open-air performance on a steamboat trip on Lake Starnberg and found a great artist in Armin Mueller-Stahl as the guest of honour. The result was a further increase of 50% up to 10,000 visitors. 10,000 visitors who weren't shown mainstream, but films with each their own themes, qualities, experiments, stories and images.

In 2011 the festival changed again in several dimensions: the venues were expanded, there were a total of 334 performances, Guest of Honour Hannelore Elsner attended the festival and spontaneously decided to stay even longer than planned, the audience grew by another 20% up to 12,000 visitors. Within just five years, the festival had grown to become the third largest film festival in Southern Germany, and now enthuses viewers and industry insiders alike with a wide-ranging, sensitively selected and therefore high-quality programme.

In 2013 we were delighted to have the guest of honour Wolfgang Kohlhaase, the most influential German screenwriter over the last 50 years, who visited the Five Lakes Film Festival for a whole week and gave an insight into his exciting work on numerous occasions such as 'Focus Script'. Ever since 2013, the Five Lakes Film Festival has had an ever-changing partner country. Also in 2013 the section "7 Spaces 7 Arts" was introduced.

In 2014 we were able to win Oscar-winner Wim Wenders as guest of honour at the Five Lakes Film Festival and got an insight into his opinions during numerous personal film talks. Ever since 2014 the film series "In Memoriam" recalls personalities of the film world who died the year before. Our Guest of Honour and the well-selected filmprogramme triggered a further increase up to 17,000 visitors.

Starting in 2015, the festival opened its main competition, the Five Lakes Film Prize, to films from all over the world. So far, the focus has been on the latest feature films from the region between the Danube and the Adriatic, especially from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In 2015 we also showed films from Québec, Russia, Azerbaijan and India in the main competition. Also, ever since 2015 the film award "Perspektive Junges Kino" was given to the first or second best film of the category by directors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In 2015, director Michael Verhoeven visited the Five Lakes Film Festival as a Guest of Honour, Special Guest was the Austrian director and actor Karl Markovics. This year, a proud 19,000 visitors appreciated the Five Lakes Film Festival and its special atmosphere.

2016 the FSFF was alreay old enough to celebrate its 10th anniversary! 20,000 visitors accepted the invitation to the eight venues to immerse themselves in outstanding film art from all over the world with a focus on Central Europe. Some of the highlights: The exhibition Fritz Lang, the host countries Serbia and South Tyrol, "Fokus Script" and "Filmdiskussion at the Lake", the art film series ODEON as well as numerous German and South German premieres. The Guests of Honour Doris Dörrie, Goran Paskaljević, Sebastian Schipper, Götz Spielmann, Heino Ferch, Florian David Fitz, Nicolette Krebitz, Dani Levy visited the festival and inspired the audience with their works and stories.

In 2017 the festival happened to be two days shorter than usual, but no less eventful. About 80 filmmakers presented their films personally in almost 400 performances, among them our Guest of Honour: the Oscar winner and star director István Szabó from Hungary and the exceptional German actress Eva Mattes. The high quality of the programme selection continued in 2017, making it very difficult for the juries to choose the winners, most of whom came from Austria.

For the first time in 2018, the Five Lakes Film Festival was no longer held in summer, but from the beginning until mid-September. The new festival date (4-12 September 2019) aims to better reach film-makers and film lovers. With the new date, the festival is also emancipating itself from the two important film festivals in Bavaria - the Munich Film Festival at the end of June/beginning of July and the Hofer Filmtage at the end of October. The popular Open Air (July 24th - August 4th at the seaside resort Starnberg & August 6th - 15th in Wörthsee), which is still officially part of the festival, will take place in summer same as in the years before and will already herald the festival.

Since 2019, the Hannelore Elsner Award for outstanding acting, endowed with 5000 euros, has been awarded in memory of the great actress who died in 2019. The first prize winner in 2019 is Barbara Auer.

The 14th Five Lakes Film Festival 2020 could be one of the few film festivals nationwide to be held live as Special Edition 2020 from August 26 to September 9. "Despite all the (corona-related) challenges, we want to create a place of encounter for the audience, the filmmakers and the region in late summer with the Five Lakes Film Festival. Festivals and cinema screenings are social events. They create resonances between audiences and filmmakers, but also between the films themselves," emphasized festival director Matthias Helwig. A total of 84 feature-length films, 30 short films and twelve short-plus films were screened over 15 days, seen by more than 14,000 visitors. Other highlights of the fsff 2020, besides the guest country Ukraine and the open air screenings of the Cinemamobile, were the guests of honor Lars Eidinger, Klaus Doldinger and the winner of the Hannelore Elsner Award Nina Hoss.

Around 14,000 visitors attended the 15th Five Lakes Film Festival in its second Corona year, reaching a similar level as last year. Festival director Matthias Helwig was very satisfied in the anniversary year of his festival. "Despite difficult conditions caused by Corona and the completely rained-out Kino Open Air, we were able to achieve a great result," Helwig said. Many screenings were sold out - under Corona conditions - he said. In a terrific program of films and events, the anniversary FSFF showed more than 150 films with about 100 film guests from Germany and abroad, including Austria, Switzerland, Greece and France. Highlights of the festival were the opening ceremony and the awarding of the Hannelore Elsner Prize to the much celebrated Austrian actress Birgit Minichmayr, as well as the Film Talk by the Lake with Senta Berger and Michael Herbig. Another guest of honor was the multiple award-winning image designer and cinematographer Benedict Neuenfels.

Our guests of honor so far have been
2023 Maria Schrader, Ulrich Seidl, Margarethe von Trotta, Paula Beer, Frank Griebe
2022 Sandra Hüller, Norbert Lechner, Iris Berben
2021 Birgit Minichmayr, Benedict Neuenfels, Senta Berger
2020 Klaus Doldinger, Lars Eidinger, Nina Hoss
2019 Caroline Link, Tom Tykwer, Uli Hanisch
2018 Bettina Böhler, Josef Bierbichler, Dominik Graf
2017 István Szabó, Eva Mattes
2016 Doris Dörrie, Goran Paskaljević, Sebastian Schipper, Götz Spielmann, Heino Ferch, Florian David Fitz, Nicolette Krebitz, Dani Levy
2015 Michael Verhoeven, Karl Markovics
2014 Wim Wenders
2013 Wolfgang Kohlhaase, Philippe Lioret, Corinna Harfouch
2012 Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Tukur, Fredi Murer
2011 Hannelore Elsner
2010 Armin Mueller-Stahl
2009 Volker Schlöndorff
2008 Michael Ballhaus

The previous award winners of the Five Lakes Film Festival

Five Lakes Film Award
2023 Dalva / Emmanuelle Nicot
2022 Playground / Laura Wandel
2021 Stop-Zemlia / Kateryna Gornostai
2020 What you don´t know about me / Rolando Colla
2019 Gott existiert, ihr Name ist Petrunya / Teona Strugar Mitevska
2018 Genesis / Árpád Bogdán
2017 Die Einsiedler / Ronny Trocker
2016 The Wounded Angel / Emir Baigazin
2015 Chorus / François Delisle
2014 Class Enemy / Roc Bicek
2013 Circles / Srdan Golubovic
2012 Sister / Ursula Meier
2011 La petit chambre / Stephanie Chuat & Véronique Reymond
2010 Picco / Philip Koch
2009 März / Klaus Händl
2008 Revanche / Götz Spielmann
2007 Hotel very welcome / Sonja Heiss

Young Talent Award: Young Cinema Perspective
2023 Elaha / Milena Aboyan
2022 Other Cannibals / Francesco Sossai
2021 Bad Roads / Natalya Vorozhbit
2020 Acasa, my home / Radu Ciorniciuc (Perspektive Junges Kino)
2019 The Man Who Surprised Everyone / Natasha Merkulova und Aleksey Chupov
2018 Lemonade / Ioana Uricaru (Perspektive Junges Kino)
2017 Das unmögliche Bild / Sandra Wollner (Perspektive Junges Kino)
2016 Meteorstrasse / Aline Fischer (Perspektive Junges Kino) und Humidity / Nikola Ljuca & Stasa Bajac (Perspektive-Drehbuchpreis)
2015 Petting Zoo / Micah Magee (Young Generation Award)
2014 Left Foot Right Foot / Germinal Rouaux
2013 Grey Sheep / Nicolai Schwierz
und Die langen hellen Tage - In Bloom / Nana Ekvtimishvili & Simon Groß
2012 Am Ende eines viel zu kurzen Tages / Anthony McCarten
und Mangrove / Frédéric Choffat & Julie Gilbert
2011 Wintertochter / Johannes Schmid und Die Vaterlosen / Marie Kreutzer
2010 Themba / Stefanie Sycholt und Alle meine Väter / Jan Raiber
und Bis aufs Blut / Oliver Kienle
2009 Ein Teil von mir / Christoph Röhl und Desperados on the block / Tomasz E. Rudzik
und Das Zimmer im Spiegel / Rudi Gaul
2008 Chrigu / Jan Gassmann

Hannelore Elsner Award
2023 Paula Beer
2022 Sandra Hüller
2021 Birgit Minichmayr
2020 Nina Hoss
2019 Barbara Auer

FSFF-Camera Award
2023 Frank Griebe

Documentary Film Award
2023 Drei Frauen / Maksym Melnyk
2022 What Remains on the Way / Jakob Krese & Danilo do Carmo
2021 The other side of the river / Antonia Kilian
2020 The earth is blue as an orange / Iryna Tsilyk
2019 Born In Evin / Maryam Zaree
2018 Playing Men / Matjaz Ivanisin
2017 Untitled / Monika Willi und Michael Glawogger
2016 Der Zornige Buddha / Stefan Ludwig
2015 Drifter / Gábor Hörcher
2014 Zum Beispiel Suberg / Simon Baumann
2013 Vaters Garten / Peter Liechti und Still & Matti Bauer
2012 Berg Fidel / Hella Wenders
2011 Good night Nobody / Jacqueline Zünd
2010 Die Haushaltshilfe / Anna Hoffmann
2009 La forteresse / Fernand Melgar

Cinema & Climate Award
2023 Ernte Teilen / Philipp Petruch
2022 The North Drift / Steffen Krones
2021 Dear Future Children / Franz Böhm

Horizons Human-Rights Film Award
2023 Leere Netze / Behrooz Karamizade
2022 Hive / Blerta Basholli
2021 Väter unser / Sophie Linnenbaum
2020 Bamboo Stories / Shaheen Dill-Riaz
2019 Digitalkarma / Mark Olexa und Francesca Scalisi
2018 Kinder unter Deck / Bettina Henckel
2017 Das System Milch / Andreas Pichler
2016 Als die Sonne vom Himmel fiel / Aya Domenig & Un Paese di Calabria / Shu Aiello & Catherine Catella
2015 My Name Is Salt / Farida Pacha
2014 Neuland / Anna Thommen und Everyday Rebellion / Arash & Arman T. Riahi
2013 Jîn / Reha Erdem
2012 Vol special / Fernand Melgar
2011 Nach der Stille / Stephanie Bürger & Jule Ott

Audience Film Award
2023 The Quiet Girl / Colm Bairéad
2022 The Art of Love / Philippe Weibel
2021 Der Hochzeitsschneider von Athen / Sonia Liza Kenterman
2020 Walchensee Forever / Janna Ji Wonders
2019 Der Palast des Postboten / Nils Tavernier
2018 Der Affront / Ziad Doueiri
2017 Der Nobelpreisträger / Mariano Cohn und Gastón Duprat
2016 Eine Unerhörte Frau / Hans Steinbichler
2015 Conducta / Ernesto Daranas
2014 Recycling Lilly / Pierre Monnard
2013 Imagine / Andrzej Jakimowsk
2012 Liebe und andere Unfälle / Thomas Gerber und We need to talk about Kevin / Lynne Ramsay
2011 Tambien la lluvia - Und dann der Regen / Iciqar Bollain

Screenplay Award
2021 Fuchs im Bau / Arman T. Riahi (DACHS-DREHBUCHPREIS)
2020 Homeward / Nariman Aliev (DACHS-DREHBUCHPREIS)
2019 Es gilt das gesprochene Wort / Ilker Çatak (DACHS-DREHBUCHPREIS)
2018 303 / Hans Baumgartner, Silke Eggert (DACHS-DREHBUCHPREIS)
2017 Siebzehn / Monja Art & Seven Days / Rolando Colla (DACHS-DREHBUCHPREIS)
2016 One Floor Below / Alexandru Baciu, Radu Muntean & Razvan Radulescu
2015 The Gulls / Ella Manzheeva (FÜNF SEEN DREHBUCHPREIS)
2014 Jack / Nele Mueller-Stöfen & Edward Berger (FÜNF SEEN DREHBUCHPREIS)
2013 Zwei Leben / Georg Maas, Christoph Tölle und Stale Stein Berg (FÜNF SEEN DREHBUCHPREIS)
2012 Giocchi d´estate - Summer games / Rolando Colla (FÜNF SEEN DREHBUCHPREIS)

Short Plus Award
2023 Auf Sand gebaut / Florian Paul
2022 Unter der Welle / Veronika Hafner
2021 Ala Kachuu - Take and Run / Maria Brendle
2020 Masel Tov Cocktail / Arkadij Khaet und Mickey Paatzsch
2019 Das rote Rad / Nicolas Ehret
2018 Die Spieler / Samuel Auer
2017 Freibadsinfonie / Sinje Köhler
2016 100 Stunden Lesbos / Manuela Federl
2015 Feuerkind / Julia Neuhaus
2014 The Week Mandela Died / Beatus Buchzik & Florian Heinold
2013 Ich hab noch Auferstehung / Jan Gerrit Seyler
2012 Neun Monate Winter / Sven Sauer
2011 Silent River / Anca Dunca

Golden Firefly
2023 Zaschka - Heute ist es schön / Anne Mona Hilliges
2022 Mach's Licht aus! / Marc Philip Ginolas & Marius Beck
2021 Ein Ozean / Paul Scheufler
2020 Salon Styx / Alexander Peskador
2019 Voice Over / Emily Manthei, Jörn Linnenbröker
2018 Realität / Lucas Thiem
2017 Watu Wote / Katja Benrath
2016 Samira / Charlotte A. Rolfes
2015 AlieNation / Laura Lehmus
2014 Stiller Löwe / Julia Neuhaus
2013 Nashorn im Galopp / Erik Schmitt
2012 Mädchenabend / Timo Becker
2011 Leave Without Running / Eva & Jürgen Tonkel
2010 Zwei Zimmer, Balkon / Enno Reese
2009 Hinter den Dünen / Christian Bach
2008 Die Gedanken sind frei / Saara Alia Waasner
2007 Wolfstraum / Anna-Maria Rimpfl & Tigerkraut / Eva-Marel Jura

2023 In meinem Garten ist der schönste Blitz gewachsen / Werner Fritsch
2021 Absent wound / Maryam Tafakory
2020 Un hombre que camina / Enrique Ramírez
2019 Balance/ Wolfgang und Christoph Lauenstein & All Together Now / Hans Op de Beeck
2018 Paradise Later / Ascan Breuer
2017 Cambeck / Binelde Hycran
2016 A Sense of Warmth / Sven Johne
2016 Sabbath 2008 / Nina Pereg (Jurypreis)

Children's Film Award
2006 Der Dolch des Batu Khan
2007 Blöde Mütze / Johannes Schmid
2008 Zwerg Nase / Felicitas Darschin und Mozart in China / Bernd Neuburger
2009 SOS - ein spannender Sommer / A. L. Naess
2012 Das Geheimnis der Schatzritter / Laura Schröder
2013 Das Pferd auf dem Balkon / Hüseyin Tabak

Matthias Helwig
Fünf Seen Filmfestival GmbH
Geschäftsführer: Matthias Helwig
Bahnhofplatz 2
82131 Gauting

Handelsregister B München, HRB 216217
Kino Breitwand Gauting
Bahnhofplatz 2
82131 Gauting
Tel.: +49-89-89501000

Kino Breitwand Starnberg
Wittelsbacherstraße 10
82319 Starnberg
Tel.: +49-8151-971800

Kino Breitwand Seefeld
Schlosshof 7
82229 Seefeld
Tel.: +49-8152-981898