Janna Ji Wonders
On Feb 28 2020 at the 70th Berlinale, Janna Ji Wonders picked up the €5000 Compass-Perspektive-Award for her feature doc Walchensee Forever. The prize comes with a real compass, which is intended to serve as symbolic method of orientation and to show her the direction to take going into the future.
In the film, Wonders tells the story of 5 generations of women in her family, a journey that takes her from the idyllic German Lake Walchansee to Mexico, the Greek Islands and San Francisco for the Summer of Love in 1968.
Statement of the Jury: “This film is a crystal. The longer you look at it, the more you discover new facets. It portrays women of a family in Bavaria over five generations. Supplemented by extraordinary material obtained from the family’s private archive, the protagonists report honestly, cleverly and directly to the camera.
“Accordingly, an overall picture of private life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries emerges from these individual stories. Everything that is told remains personal and individual and, not least because of the modest attitude of the filmmaker and her protagonists, it develops an overwhelming strength.”
Meanwhile the Heiner Carow Prize 2020 for the promotion of German cinematic arts went to Natalija Yefimkina for her documentary Garagenvolk (Garage People).
The prize, worth 5,000 Euros and sponsored by the DEFA Foundation, was awarded for the first time in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino section and honours documentaries, feature or essay films that address the social and political issues of today or in history with extraordinary aesthetic means.
Statement of the Jury (part): “The director allows us to peer into a microcosm that seems like a parallel world to us. The complex world of a morbid garage complex in a mining town in northern Russia is reminiscent of an allotment garden colony. In each of these small garages, as the film increasingly takes its time in observing, a universe of its own begins to unfold. Characters that seem bizarre at first become reflectors of society. Love, friendship and alcohol, dreams of prosperity and the future as well as inklings of joy all find a home here.”
In addition, the two Kompagnon-Fellowships for Perspektive Deutsches Kino and Berlinale Talents went to Hristiana Raykova (Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2019) and to Ian Purnell (Berlinale Talents 2020) respectively.
The awards are designed to sustainably support directors and screenwriters living in Germany in their work. In addition to the scholarship endowment of 5,000 Euros (short films: 2,500 Euros), the award also offers a mentoring programme with extra-occupational coaching aimed at strengthening one’s personal hallmarks and at networking within the industry.