Friday, April 25, 2008

Fatih Akin's 'Heaven' tops Germany's Lolas

Fatih Akin's ensemble drama "The Edge of Heaven" took the top Lolas at the 58th German Film Awards [1] Friday, including best pic, director and screenplay, beating favorite "Cherry Blossoms," which won three prizes including the runner-up Silver Lola for pic. "The Edge of Heaven," a Turkish-German production about two deaths that bring strangers together, also picked up a Lola for editing.

Akin's "Auf der anderen Seite" (The Edge of Heaven) is a story of loss, mourning and forgiveness set in both Germany and Turkey [2]. "Danke, danke, danke," said a grateful Akin, a Hamburg-based director of Turkish descent whose hard-hitting films about the struggles and confusion of Turkish immigrants in Germany have won also honors at the Berlin and Cannes film festivals. "It's extraordinarily difficult to measure art in any way," said Akin, 34, whose 2003 film "Gegen die Wand" (Head-On) also drew international accolades. "So I'm delighted. We don't make films for prizes but rather for life," It is the second best film Lola for Akin, whose international breakthrough "Head-On" swept the awards in 2004. This year's victory is particularly sweet, however. Akin has repeatedly butted heads with the German Film Academy, criticizing the way the academy selects its Lola nominees. Hoisting his golden statue Friday night, he made reference to the public spat, addressing star Til Schweiger, who recently resigned from the German academy after his boxoffice smash "Rabbit Without Ears" was snubbed in the Lola nominations."Just watch, Til, we're going to join (the academy) again!" Akin said.

Some 1,500 guests attended the glitzy event, held at Berlin's Palais am Funkturm. Presented by Germany's federal culture ministry, the Lolas are handed out in 15 categories and carry $4.4 million in prizes.

The winners are chosen by the German Film Academy's more than 1,000 members.


[1] For her latest drama "Cherry Blossoms" about a grieving widower who journeys to Japan, Doris Dorrie was nominated for six Lolas, the German equivalent of the Oscar.Close behind were Fatih Akin's cross-cultural drama "The Edge of Heaven" with five Lola nominations and Christian Petzold's cerebral mystery thriller "Yella" with four.

[2] Turkish migrants in Germany were the key theme of TV productions honored by the Adolf Grimme Institut in 2007. Winner of five Grimme awards in the fiction category was “Wut” (Anger) by German-Turkish helmer Zuli Aladag, about a middle-class family being bullied by a Turkish youth, on ARD. Tackling similar themes from the lighter side, further awards were snatched by series “Tuerkisch fuer Anfanger” (Turkish for Beginners), also on ARD, and telepic “Meine verrueckte tuerkische Hochzeit” (My Crazy Turkish Wedding) on ProSieben.

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