The Award Winners

The Award Winners
Julia Daschner and Eva Katharina Bühler (from left to right)

After a week of viewing the final entries, the three jury members Sophie Maintigneux, Jana Marsik und Anne Misselwitz – all directors of photography themselves – have announced their decisions as regards the National Competition for Women Directors of Photography 2012. The award for best cinematography in a fiction feature film, endowed with €2,500, goes to Julia Daschner for her film Bergig which she directed as well. The award in the documentary film category, endowed with €2,500, goes to Eva Katharina Bühler for her Der weiße Schatz und die Salzarbeiter von Caquena (aka "The White Treasure and the Salt Workers from Caquena"), which she also directed. The awards are to be conferred at an official ceremony during the festival on 22 April in Cologne. The two winning films are to be screened as part of the festival programme.

Germany 2012, Short Film, 34’

Bergig is the story of a love that cannot be. Jan is married with two children. Mona is 15 years younger. And yet they have fallen in love with each other. In a Tyrolean mountain hut, far from their daily lives, Mona and Jan try to find out what it is that they feel for each other. Whether and how they can be together. But reality catches up with both of them. Jan’s family is important to him and he is afraid of giving it up for an affair that suddenly flares up. Mona doesn’t know to what extent she can trust her feelings, because she has often realised after a few months that she has deceived herself in love. But still they keep on going one step further. They try to find themselves, to sense and make sense of things. And at the end they have to make a decision.

Justification of the jury:
An encounter at a station. A weekend in the mountains. An affair. Mona is free, in love and full of yearning. Jan is married, a father, and in his eyes you can see an inner turmoil and a bad conscience.
But relationships are never quite black and white. He images lead us to the field of tension between the magic of attraction and fear of the impossible. Through the elegance of the hand camera the erotic power of the film unfolds in a carefully staged light. The visual language moves subtly and easily between closeness and distance, between tender feelings and the violence of nature. #Julia Daschner frames things with sensuality. She creates a deep proximity to the figures that move us.

Julia Daschner was born in 1980 in Munich. After doing work experience for a freelance television production company, she decided 2001 to take a film and television course at the Cologne Academy of Media Arts, including a semester abroad at the International School of Film and Television EICTV in Cuba. She graduated with the documentary film Auf der Walz. Today, she works as a freelance camerawoman and director.

Films by Julia Daschner (Selection)
Shanghai Crab (2011), Zucchiniblüten (2010), Auf der Walz (2009), Ein Sommer lang (2006), Havanna, 30 de Febrero (2005)

Der weiße Schatz und die Salzarbeiter von Caquena
Germany 2011, Documentary, 52’

»I think that the gringos started back then with the lithium.« Don Rosauro stands in the middle of an endless white expanse. He is a salt worker at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. In the largest salt desert on earth, descendants of the Aymara Indians are extracting salt here at a height of 3,670 metres. The largest lithium deposits in the world are assumed to be lying beneath the raw white surface of the salt lake, the material required for handys, laptops and in large amounts for the batteries of the electric cars of the future. How will the microcosm of the salt workers change when they are reached by the globalised world? The film Der weiße Schatz describes in a close-up portrait the last calm before the storm, an intact world in which the signs of coming changes can no longer be overlooked.

Justification of the jury:
Cars at a trade fair in Geneva shine bright white. The magic word of the new electric car is lithium. The lake in Caquena, Bolivia, also shines bright white. This is where the treasure is buried. For some this is salt, the basis of their lives, for others it is lithium, the basis of our unstoppable progress.
Eva Katharina Bühler describes to us in precisely composed images the daily lives of the inhabitants on the shore of the lake and the impending destruction of their existence and traditions. Her gazer is alert, her camera direction patient and decisive. The visual language develops its own dramaturgy and dynamics. At the end, the camera gives up its respectful distance and unleashes itself into a lively dance, a dance that at some point will end for the Indians.

Eva Katharina Bühler is born in 1981 in Achern. She discovers painting and photography at an early age and in 2002 wins the German Youth Photo Prize. After studying audiovisual media at the Stuttgart Media University, she gains practical experience, including at the WDR and with X-Filme. In 2005, she begins a double study in directing and camera at the Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg. She concludes this in 2011 with the films Monika and Der weiße Schatz. There follow commissioned productions for 3sat, SWR and Arte.

Films by Eva Katharina Bühler (Selection)
Monika (2011), Beelzebub (2010), Frei sein (2009), Vogel.tot (2008); DOP and Director: Alles in mir (2009), Alles was bleibt (2007)

Award for ›Der weiße Schatz
Kodak Kamerapreis 2011