The Hofer Filmtage are an event without chichi. The audience can even be there from the comfort of their own home. Nevertheless, the program is impressive.
Hof – cinema chair or couch? For Thorsten Schaumann, head of the Hofer Filmtage, this is not a contradiction in terms: “We go where the audience is. The audience decides when and where it wants to see films.” In concrete terms, this means that all films shown in Hof at the 56th edition of the festival from this Tuesday (October 25th) to October 30th can also be a streaming platform can be booked throughout Germany and watched at home. “Not everyone can come to the cinema in Hof. But we are there for everyone.”
After the corona restrictions of the past two years, this year it is again a festival under almost normal circumstances. Audience, filmmakers, media representatives – Schaumann hopes for a lively exchange. “It’s so important that you look each other in the eye again, that you feel this tension, this crackling in the cinema hall together.”
The film days will open with the film “Olaf Jagger”. The well-known artist Olaf Schubert discovers an old tape in the basement of his parents’ house, on which an interview with his mother and Mick Jagger can be heard. From the year 1965 – that’s where the parents’ house was in the GDR. A search for clues begins.
At first he thought what a strange title, said Schaumann about the opening film. But then he was totally “flashed”. “Because here the stories of two great personalities, Olaf Schubert and Mick Jagger, are very, very beautifully intertwined in an incredibly funny but also critical way.”
Numerous other feature films, documentaries and short films by national and international directors follow. An overarching theme is society, as Schaumann said. “What is society for us, how is it defined in the film? Everyone has their own story, these stories together tell a story.”
The future of cinema
Even if cinemas were often closed during the pandemic and people switched to streaming offers in front of their home screens, Schaumann firmly believes in the future of cinema: “Absolutely. But I have to offer options. Just saying: Okay, I’ll open the cinema doors, then the people will come – that’s not enough.”
There have always been moments in the history of cinema where it has been said: the cinema is dead. It is the task of a festival like Hof to point out: “The cinema is the most attractive place.” It is worthwhile for the future of the To fight cinemas, “because cinema has always survived any change – social, technical”.
Hof is a film festival with its own traditions: you won’t find red carpets and shiny evening gowns here. Instead, there is a bratwurst booth as a meeting place in front of a cinema and a joint football game between filmmakers. “Celebrating cinema professionally in a family atmosphere,” said Schaumann.
Traditionally, various award ceremonies are part of the program. The Film Prize of the City of Hof has previously gone to directors Julia von Heinz, Doris Dörrie, Wim Wenders, Tom Tykwer, Dominik Graf and Caroline Link. The Hof Gold Prize is awarded to the best directing achievement in a first feature film, and prizes are also awarded for documentaries and short films. dpa