International Debut Feature Fiction Film Competition

Award winner Maya Da-Rin

Unfamiliar circumstances call for unfamiliar formats: The Festival opening ceremony on 9 September at Cologne’s spacious Filmpalast cinema will also include the award ceremony. The juries have already selected the winners for each award. The winner of the International Debut Feature Film Competition 2020 can also now be revealed:

Maya Da-Rin receives the €10,000 prize for A FEBRE (THE FEVER). Her film premièred at Locarno in 2019 and collected that festival’s Best Actor prize. The film deals with the dramatic changes in the living environment in the Brazilian Amazon region.

The international jury was made up of Claudia Steffen (CEO, Pandora Film), Maria Paula Lorgia (researcher and curator, Columbia) and Huei-Yin Chen (curator, Women Make Waves Taiwan). In their jury statement, they said:

“Maya De Rin's point of view is precise and poetic. She makes a sharp and smart reflection about modern industrialization in Brazil and its consequences in both personal and political spheres. The film is conceptually rich, profound and relevant, a cinematic experience that connects the audience with the interior world of its characters and a need for understanding of the complexity of these times. ”

Award-winner Da-Rin became a mother to triplets in the past year, and so will not be attending the Festival in person. However, she expressed her great delight and gratitude at being chosen for the award:

“...such an important and necessary initiative for the film community, unfortunately still dominated by the white and masculine gaze.”

THE FEVER: 12 September, 6 pm Odeon Cinema, Tickets
From 9 to 13 September the film is also online available on the Festival’s streaming channel.

The competition 2020

The films by the female directors in the Debut Feature Film Competition are veritable seismographs when it comes to analysing our social contexts. They show where we are situated, both privately and politically. They are debut creations that have an inherent courage to try things out, to play around, while at the same time displaying great visual power and narrative strength; many of the films have premièred at the major festivals such as Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Locarno.

Eight current feature films have been nominated for the International Debut Feature Film Competition, which has 10,000 € in prize money on offer. The films present us with strong female protagonists and recount stories of confidence and chaos, of fateful decisions and unexpected solidarity. In their portrayals of the struggle for independence and self-determination, they conjure up countless magical moments of hypnotic power. Five continents are represented in the competition, the individual countries being Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Taiwan and Cyprus, including three German premières.

A jury made up of three international film specialists confers the Debut Feature Fiction Film Award.

Previous award winners:
2018: Carla Simón ESTIU 1993 (Spain)
2016: Ana Cristina Barragán ALBA (Ecuador)
2014: Neus Ballús LA PLAGA (Spain)
2012: Belma Baş ZEFIR (Turkey)
2010: Susanna Nichhiarelli COSMONAUTA (Italy)
2008: Aurélia Georges L'HOMME QUI MARCHE (France)
2006: Claudia Llosa MADEINUSA (Peru)