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The program of the LICHTER Filmfest 2019 is fixed

25.03.2019 | 08:21 Clock | Culture
The program of the LICHTER Filmfest 2019 is fixed

The LICHTER Filmfest once again links current world cinema with the future of German film and film highlights from Hessen. "Nature" is the main theme of the twelfth festival edition. One year after the emergence of the Frankfurt Positions, the discussion about the future of German film will continue on the festival Friday in the off-location TOR Art Space. This year's festival centre is also home to the video art exhibition of the LICHTER Art Award. In the Naxoshalle, LICHTER will dive into virtual reality for the third time.

From 26 to 31 March 2019, visitors* to the 12th LICHTER Filmfest Frankfurt International can look forward to more than 100 films, subsequent discussion rounds and accompanying events on the annual theme of "Nature". "As in previous years, we have brought one of the most socio-politically pressing questions of our time to the festival with our focus. There is no better medium than film to highlight what we are currently doing to our planet," says festival director Gregor Maria Schubert. In order to further raise awareness of the issue, the festival organizers not only wanted to show the darker sides of human behavior, but also set out to find artistic positions in which the beauty of our world illuminates the screen.

"The films in our international series could hardly be more different. But they have one thing in common: every day, nature seems to lose a piece of the planet to mankind anew," says Johanna Süß, deputy festival director and responsible for the curatorial concept of the series. The films Aquarela and Anote´s Ark, in which icebergs and holiday paradises sink into the sea, bear witness to this. Land loss and flooding on the one hand meet the conquest of resources from our earth's crust on the other, as Nikolaus Geyerhalter's new documentary Earth shows with striking images.

And if humans aren't interested in exploiting our livelihood, they still dream of communes in the countryside (Of Bees and Flowers and Too Late To Die Young) or want to become one with nature, like Alex Honnold, the world-renowned extreme climber from the Oscar®-winning documentary Free Solo.

With Nuestro Tiempo and Memories of my Body, two German premieres are screening at LICHTER. The opening film Gräns is a darkly romantic mix of self-discovery drama, fantasy and body horror. "Our big wish above all is that our viewers* get involved with films they haven't heard of before," Schubert said.

Supporting program and special screenings

The accompanying program to the annual theme takes up the human dichotomy between longing and everyday life (based on the film Of Bees and Flowers) and devotes a lecture to the bear in film. Further discussion rounds following the screenings with speakers from Pro Asyl (on Facing The Dragon), the European Space Agency (on Fly Rocket Fly) and the planning department of the City of Frankfurt (on Atlas) enrich the discussion about the films already in the cinema. Live soundtracks of the silent film classic Sunrise and a compilation of pornographic films from the early 20th century complete the range of the festival programme.

Future of German Film

For the past two years, LICHTER has already sought out the future of German film in its film programme. Groundbreaking first features, acclaimed festival favourites and new directorial hopes for German film have since become an integral part of the festival and will be screened again this year as part of the Future of German Film section.

With Oray (GWFF Award Best First Feature at Berlinale 2019), The Melancholic Girl (Best Film at Max Ophüls Award), Wintermärchen (Best Film at Film Festival Cologne) and Kahlschlag (Best Newcomer Film Hofer Filmtage), four films are represented that have already attracted attention with major film awards in recent months.

On the occasion of the LICHTER-organized event "Shaping Film Funding for the Future" at this year's Berlinale, the pamphlet Farewell to Yesterday summarized the Frankfurt positions and other film-political contributions of the past year that emerged in the context of the "Future of German Film" congress. Now, at the 12th edition of LICHTER, the results of this paper will be continued in further panels. The next concrete steps for action are to be planned on the Friday of the festival. These will focus on the strategic question of "reform or revolution", the debate on the FFG amendment and the cooperation of various film policy initiatives.

The regional film programme

Founded twelve years ago as a platform for regional filmmaking, LICHTER will once again bring the diversity of Hessian filmmaking to the big screen. "The regional competition is exceptionally strong and multi-faceted in 2019 - moving refugee fates will be as much a part of the programme as an animated children's film and a suspenseful thriller in the milieu of the Frankfurt real estate mafia," says Schubert. The productions were all made with the participation of filmmakers and sponsors from Hesse and the Rhine-Main region.

World premiere at LICHTER is Monowi Nebraska. In the film, Lilo Mangelsdorff visits a town in the American nowhere. The special thing: Only one inhabitant and her snack bar are still there. As a German premiere the Mainz producer Christoph Thoke brings the film Izbrisana to Frankfurt. The Watson´s Hotel (directed by Regunath Vasudevan, Peter Rippl, Nathaniel Knop) about life in a dilapidated hotel in the Indian capital Mumbai is also screening as a German premiere at LICHTER.

As in the feature-length competition, 24 regional short films are competing for the White Bembel. "The up-and-coming directors from the university film classes in Kassel, Offenbach, Darmstadt and Mainz are again very strongly represented," says Süß.

3rd LICHTER VR Storytelling Award

For the third time, the festival is hosting the LICHTER VR Storytelling Award. With over 90 films, the VR competition has received significantly more submissions than in the past two years. A jury of experts has selected five finalists from Taiwan, South Korea, France and Germany. "The number shows: our Storytelling Award has made a name for itself in the VR scene. The great international interest has encouraged us to establish the section as a permanent part of the festival," says Süß. Within 60 minutes, viewers wearing VR glasses will embark on a whimsical science fiction trip and experience a tour of a city that probably no one knows and yet should be very familiar.


For the 9th edition of the LICHTER Art Award, more than 120 works were submitted from all over the world - from Bulli in Australia to Madrid in the US state of New Mexico. The spectrum of selected works - from documentaries and essay films to fictional and real narratives about politics and social issues - provides insight into current trends in video art. The works of the five finalists each form their own commentary on our social reality and the current social phenomena of our time. They can be seen in a curated exhibition at TOR Art Space. The award ceremony of the LICHTER Art Award will take place there on March 26 at 6 pm.

The five finalists* and their works are:

Endre Aalrust // Dear Deer // DE/NO 2018

Zanny Beeg // The Beehive // AUS 2018

Andrew De Freitas // WEIGHT // BR/CA 2018

Natasha A. Kelly // Milli's Awakening/Milli´s Awakening // DE 2018

Lisa Kori // Three Minute Eggs // USA 2018

This year's international short film program also revolves around the annual theme of "Nature" - among the seven short films is the Oscar®-nominated Animal Behaviour by Alison Snowden and David Fine.


This year's festival center, the TOR Art Space, is home to the video art exhibition as well as panel discussions on the evolution of Frankfurt's positions. The Naxoshalle hosts film programming, the VR screenings as well as the award ceremony on the festival Sunday. The festival will open at the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm. LICHTER remains loyal to the Mal Seh´n Kino, the Harmonie Kinos as well as the DFF - Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum. Further festival cinemas are for the first time the Pupille and the Parkside Studios in Offenbach.

Guests + Tickets

For guests, film awards and juries of the 12th LICHTER Filmfest, please see the attachment. For detailed information on the individual programme items and tickets, please visit:

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