The award winners of Filmfestival Münster 2023

The 20th edition of the festival comes to an end after 10 days: “I Have Electric Dreams” by Valentina Maurel wins the European First Feature Film Competition.

On September 30, the awards of this year’s Filmfestival Münster were presented at the Schloßtheater. The coming-of-age drama I Have Electric Dreams by director and screenwriter Valentina Maurel won the top prize of 5,000 euros in the European First Feature Film Competition.

The short film Mitläufer (Those Who Follow) by filmmaker Frederic Kau was awarded in the European Short Film Competition category, and the jury also awarded a Special Mention for Gedanken eines jungen Menschen beim Anblick einer sich auflösenden Welt (Thoughts of a Young Person Watching a Disintegrating World) by director Jonathan Berlin. The Audience Award of 1,000 euros goes to Tuulikki by Teemu Nikki in 2023.

In the Westfalen Connection section, the winner was: Morgen irgendwo am Meer (Tomorrow Somewhere by the Sea) by Patrick Büchting wins the prize for feature-length film (endowed with 1,500 euros and donated by Stiftung Westfalen-Initiative) and A Lady’s Rituals (Die Spökenkiekerin und das Fräulein) by Mark Lorei wins the prize for short film (endowed with 1,000 euros and donated by Stiftung Westfalen-Initiative).

For ten days, the festival celebrated European film and thrilled the audience with a diverse program at the Schloßtheater Münster. “There were discussions in the cinema foyer long after the screenings. We are particularly pleased that this year we were able to reach in particular the young audience and many students with our program,” summarizes Risna Olthuis, who directs the festival together with Carsten Happe.

“The 20th edition of the Filmfestival Münster was the most political we’ve ever had,” adds festival director Carsten Happe about the 2023 program. “There are so many pressing issues: The climate crisis, everyday racism, the war in Ukraine. So it’s obvious that filmmakers:inside are dealing with them intellectually and artistically, and we wanted to deliberately set this focus.”

I Have Electric Dreams will be shown again on 01 October at 20:00, Tomorrow Somewhere by the Sea at 17:30.

The Filmfestival Münster returns in the fall of 2025. Next year, the third edition of LITFILMS Literatur Film Festival Münster will take place from September 20 to 29.

The prizes were awarded this year by three juries:

European First Feature Film Competition (Best Director Award, endowed with 5,000 euros):

Jury statement filmmaker Katharina Huber, comic artist and director Ziska Riemann and filmmaker Huw Wahl:

“The jury has decided to award Valentina Maurel’s debut I Have Electric Dreams the winner of the European First Feature Film Competition. 
Almost like islands, drifting into each other, converging, or separating, we see an organic portrait of a family and its components moving in several directions simultaneously, struggling for a true direction. The bold performances of Maurel’s cast reflect the complexity of navigating and assessing these relationships, boundaries and ways of communicating. 
The jury was impressed by the work’s narrative power, subtle sound design, and richness of visual detail, all of which felt emotionally open and engaged. Maurel grants the audience a multidimensional view without imposing any judgment, without pushing any agenda. The characters are truly brought to life in this luminous piece, together with all their facets of sensuality, failed and successful connections, violence and affection, and maybe most importantly, a longing for a kind of poetry that might break the cycle.”

European Short Film Competition (Filmwerkstatt Grand Prize, endowed with 3,000 euros):

Jury Statement Actress Michelle Barthel, feature and documentary director Erec Brehmer, and screenwriter and director Fitore Muzaqi:

“We discussed until late at night to find out which film deserved the award in the European Short Film Competition category. And we would like to reiterate that all the films we have seen have made a special artistic achievement and also deserve to be admired here by the largest possible audience.

However, we were able to see one film that stood out for us in particular. And this film comes around the corner broadside with a topic that makes one freeze in fright, but also compellingly calls for civil courage and civil disobedience.

How can right-wing sentiment infiltrate German institutions? Does it creep into structures like a poison into the body without us noticing? Will we suddenly wake up one day and be surprised to find that right-wing violence has become normal and is not only not being fought by authorities, but on the contrary is being actively perpetrated?
Will enough people have the courage to stand up against right-wing violence to avoid a catastrophe? And if so, in which position do they have to be in order to be able to change something with their courage?

All of these questions have been posed to us by a particularly powerful film that sets a precise focus. Through an engaging ensemble, expressive imagery and political relevance, this film has managed to bring us closer to a cosmos that exists parallel to our everyday lives and can become a danger to us all. It breaks down a seemingly complex issue to the essential danger it poses to a society. Right on our doorstep, in the neighborhood, at work. It is about nothing less than right-wing thinking in institutions that are responsible for the protection of all people living in Germany.

The characters are authentic, their discord carried us along and showed us that it takes courage, steadfastness and disobedience to rebel against injustice. Because if these injustices are not stopped here, they will become a danger for the whole society.
In this context, the role of the main character shows us how arduous it is to rebel against right-wing structures without suffering harm ourselves. It is the very authentically played supporting and female character who breaks this cycle and is the voice of reason. We were asked the question very directly: Do we want to go with the supposed masses or do we demonstrate civil courage and confront injustice in our everyday lives as well?

The current political threat posed by the AFD, which is gaining more support than ever before from a small but loud and growing section of the population, shows us that our freedom and our democracy can be put at risk.

We are very happy to be able to award a film with such an important attitude today. The award of the European Short Film Competition endowed with 3000€ goes to the outstanding work of the team of Those Who Follow!”.

Honorable mention:

Thoughts of a young person at the sight of a disintegrating world

“Heat waves, floods, severe weather disasters. How should we deal, with climate change getting worse? What role can individuals play in this global drama?

Actor Jonathan Berlin finds a clear solution in his short documentary “Thoughts of a Young Person at the Sight of a Disintegrating World.” When he travels to Svalbard in the Arctic for filming, he cannot simply ignore the obvious effects of the climate catastrophe he encounters there. He begins to document what he sees, interviews scientists, and creates a powerful film about a place that will never be the same. And about a world that is about to disintegrate.

Between hopelessness and faith in humanity, the film offers in just 16 minutes a realistic, harsh and unadorned view of the near future that affects us all – without false illusions. With clear images and the calm, unagitated voice of Jonathan Berlin, we are once again made aware of the urgency for change in our thoughts and actions. Since the voices of the experts are still not heard enough in everyday life, Jonathan Berlin gives them space in his film and shows that we can all still do something against the climate catastrophe.

Change begins by not ignoring the obvious, but by facing reality. His film is a passionate appeal to all of us to take responsibility, take action, and take advantage of the opportunities available to each of us.”

Westfalen Connection (prize for the best feature-length film, donated by the Stiftung Westfalen-Initiative and endowed with 1,500 euros):

Jury Statement Entertainer Adam Riese, curator and presenter Katharina Schröder, and author and film theorist Johannes Ueberfeldt:

“With the Westfalen Connection’s feature-length film award, we are honoring a film that takes us on a trip that has highs, lows and also surprises in store. The film tells a coming of age story in a touching way that takes the problems of young people seriously and even deals with death and loss. The film perfectly captures the feeling of freedom with simultaneous disorientation of adolescents and transforms several times heaviness into lightness. Our award goes to Tomorrow Somewhere by the Sea by Patrick Büchting.”

Westfalen Connection (prize for the best short film, donated by the Stiftung Westfalen-Initiative, endowed with 1,000 euros):

“With the Westfalen Connection Short Film Award, we are honoring a film that takes a humorous journey into another time and is surprisingly up-to-date. Wonderfully choreographed, the film moves through moors, castles and hoop skirts. But the fairy tale narrative also goes deeper. It resonates with queer-feminist subtext. Last but not least, the film addresses one of the most pressing problems of our time, climate protection. Only the skirt has to stay outside. Our prize goes to: A Lady’s Rituals by Mark Lorei.”