The Berlinale Camera is awarded to film personalities to whom the Berlin International Film Festival feels particularly indebted. By bestowing this honor, the Berlinale wants to express its gratitude and appreciation. The Berlinale Camera has been awarded since 1986. This year it will be donated for the first time by the jeweler Georg Hornemann from Düsseldorf. At the 54th Berlinale the pianist Willy Sommerfeld, the producer Regina Ziegler, the photographer Erika Rabau and the film patron and policy maker Rolf Bähr are to be honored with this award.
Born in 1904, Willy Sommerfeld can look back on an 80-year-long music career. In the 1920s he studied music and while doing so began accompanying screenings of silent films on the violin and later the piano. Shortly before the advent of sound films, Sommerfeld became the musical director of the state theater in Braunschweig. After a performance in 1933, he refused to give the Nazi salute and was fired. Subsequently he worked as a composer, conductor, musical director, wrote music for radio plays, documentaries and theater, and was an arranger and music therapist. In the 1970s, at an age when others go into retirement, this universal musical genius began his second career as a silent film pianist in countless German cinemas.
On February 6 at 2:00 p.m., pianist Willy Sommerfeld will be awarded a Berlinale Camera. In tribute of this occasion Ulrich Gregor will hold a laudatory speech and excerpts from Der Stummfilmpianist by the prizewinning director Ilona Ziok as well as from The Lonely Villa (D.W. Griffith) will be presented.
The grand dame of German film and television has a weakness for red. Since 1973 she and her company, Ziegler Film, have produced over 250 films, including Kamikaze with Rainer W. Fassbinder; the screen adaptation of Fabian, which was nominated for an Oscar, Andrzej Wajda’s Korczak and the comedy Suche impotenten Mann fürs Leben (In Search of an Impotent Man). With Erotic Tales – which was made by a number of internationally celebrated directors, such as Hal Hartley and Susan Seidelman – Ziegler, an Adolf Grimme Award winner, established herself on the world market. Her motto is: “Producing remains difficult.”
On February 8 at 11:00 a.m., producer Regina Ziegler will be awarded a Berlinale Camera. In tribute of this occasion Norbert Schneider will hold a laudatory speech and the film Kamikaze by Wolf Gremm will be shown.
For over 30 years photographer Erika Rabau has documented the Berlinale. All the festival’s great stars and directors have posed in front of the camera of this vivacious, polyglot cosmopolitan. At seventeen, Rabau was drawn to South America where, in the 1950s, she first worked as a camerawoman in Buenos Aires. In the early 1960s she returned to Europe and began doing photography. In 1972 she was discovered for the Berlinale by Alfred Bauer who was its director. Alongside working as a photographer, she has often been asked to perform in front of the camera. She has played in films by R. W. Fassbinder, Ulrike Oettinger, Wolf Gremm and Wim Wenders. For years she has been a regular cast member in Lothar Lambert’s films.
On February 10 at 9:40 p.m., at the reception for the Retrospective, photographer Erika Rabau will be awarded a Berlinale Camera for her services to the festival. In tribute of this occasion Hans Helmut Prinzler will hold a laudatory speech.
For over thirty years Rolf Bähr has been closely affiliated with German film. From 1970 until 1990 Bähr was a lawyer for the German Federal Film Board; since 1990 he has been its executive director. In this function, Bähr has engaged himself with competence and wit in the country’s general film policies and funding. He has also keenly observed and influenced the development of Germany as a film location. In addition he was the several-time world, vice-world and European champion in sailing in the Tempest class between 1979 and 1987.
On February 11 at 9:40 p.m., at the FFA reception, film patron and policy maker Rolf Bähr will be awarded a Berlinale Camera. In tribute of this occasion director Volker Schlöndorff will hold a laudatory speech.
January 26, 2004