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German Film Office: Dedication to German Film in the United States – Culture

From Dpa / red

Main location for the German film: Daniel Proul

Photo: dpa / Hannah Mckay

Hollywood dominates the United States, with little room for foreign films and series in general. A “German film office” opened in the midst of the epidemic in New York was therefore intended to support German films to access the vital US market.

From Dpa / red

April 13, 2021 – 8:53 p.m.

New York – For the second time in a row, the Oscars will take place on April 25 (local time) without a German contribution. “Around the World Tomorrow” by director Julia van Haynes was dropped before the Oscars overseas. “There was definitely hope there would be a German film,” says Sarah Stevenson. “But it happens often – even when it’s nice when there’s someone in the race.”

Stevenson has not only the next Oscars, but the big picture in mind. The 45-year-old is the head of the “German Film Office” set up in New York in October. Goethe is located at and operates with the support of the German Films Financial Institution, which receives financial support from the Central Foreign Office and the Office of the Central Commissioner for Culture and Media. Stevenson, originally from Portugal, studied political science and philosophy in Germany, has lived in New York for twelve years and was previously a program supervisor for visual arts and film at the Goethe Institute.

German films are coming to American theaters

The purpose of the “German Film Office” is to promote German films in the United States, to bring German films to country theaters – both new but old, culturally and historically significant films – and to sell German films to American distributors. Minister of Culture Monica Grutters initially said that the “German Film Production” office would once again receive “international brilliance”.

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Stevenson says that although many people immediately think of Hollywood and the American West Coast when the film comes out, the “German Film Office” is owned in New York. “Actually, American distributors are residents of New York. So what’s really interesting about the German film is what happens here. That doesn’t mean Los Angeles is completely uninterested in German film. But as far as selling German movies to American buyers is concerned, it’s happening here. “

Hope for outdoor events in the summer

Stevenson says it was not easy to start in the midst of an epidemic that forced cinemas to close in many parts of the country. But a lot more was possible and successful via digital or drive-in cinema. In view of the growing vaccine campaign in the United States, more cinemas are being allowed to reopen, and Stevenson is also looking forward to outdoor events in the summer. “Our goal is to make our events more inclusive, meaning that it is socio-economically inclusive so that people can watch movies for free.”

Stevenson says the US market is important for German film. “This is not a huge market, meanwhile there are new and perhaps more opportunities in other regions of the world, such as Asia or South America. But America has traditionally been a huge market and above all an important symbol: if you set foot here as a German filmmaker, you created it, so to speak. Should. “

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At the same time it is a tough market. “There’s interest, I think it always is. But of course this is not the main interest. Movies in any other language with subtitles are not pretty to most Americans. You have a lot of glossy English language content. You have to be interested in foreign films to be open to German films. Art House is a relatively large group of people who want to go to the cinema and we want to address this audience with our films, which is about having German cinema all the time. ”Collaboration with local partners is important.

German filmmaking in the United States is still made by three directors – one already dead, two more than 70: Rainer Werner Passpinder, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders. However, in the meantime, another name has been added to many: Daniel Proul, who has already starred in several American series and films. “Everyone here knows him.”

When it comes to issues like diversity, racism or equality, American films are ahead of Germany

Not every German film is suitable for the US market. “We look very closely at the topics that apply to this issue here and to ensure that no sensitivities are violated.” When it comes to topics like diversity, racism or equality, Stevenson sees American films more than German films. In jokes, for example, humor is often not so easy to change. “Also, we’re trying to break away from these stereotypes that Americans have so quickly about Germany – with Bridges, beer and more. We want to present a contemporary image of Germany and images from Germany, ”says Stevenson. “My personal goal is to make women’s films very strong here.”

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In New York, where Stevenson was adopted, cinemas were closed for almost a year during the Corona epidemic, but have now been allowed to reopen for a few weeks – and the film expert immediately thought of Helena Jengal. Twelve-year-old German actress has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the western film “News as Der Welt” alongside Hollywood star Tom Hanks. “I haven’t seen the film yet, but I found it to be in a corner from me now. After that I thought I might have my first contagious cinematic experience. She seems to be a natural, so only one person can be excited to see what else is coming.”