Saarbrücken.

The surprise and climax of the almost two and a half hour online awards ceremony almost failed.

Because while actress Idil Üner was still holding the laudatory speech for best director (“The Soul of a Beast” by Lorenz Merz) on Wednesday evening, the jury’s evaluation of the best feature film at the Max Ophüls Prize film festival ( MOP) was playing at the same time: for “Moneyboys” by CB Yi.

How good that both are difficult to understand and that the Sino-Austrian author and director was already on the road en route to the film festival in Anger, France. Viewers were able to discover a perplexed Yi, who cashed three times at the MOP, an important festival for young German-language films – and was able to announce these awards directly at the premiere in France.

“Moneyboy” wins

Because “Moneyboys” not only won the Max Ophüls prize for best feature film, endowed with 36,000 euros, but also received the prize for best screenplay and the prize of the ecumenical jury. The film is about Chinese homosexual Fei (Kai Ko), who works as a moneyboy (scammer). “The conscious use of color, music and aesthetics powerfully underlines the dynamics of making quick money with one’s own body on a precarious path to China’s upper class,” was the verdict of the Ecumenical Jury. . “It’s good that what I want to say also happened,” Yi said and admitted, “I’m really happy. It touched me.”

After ten days, the promising German-speaking filmmakers won a total of 18 prizes worth 118,500 euros in the competitions for feature films, documentaries, medium-length films and short films. Three prizes were awarded to “Soul of a Beast” by Lorenz Merz (director/screenwriter): for best director, for best feature film for film critics and for Pablo Caprez as best young actor. The film tells the story of a trio of friends who break into the zoo at night – and the next morning the world is different. “A crazy, wild ride,” said the jury for best director. “A fireworks display of images, music, sounds, sensuality and magic. Unpredictable, unpredictable.”

Festival in hybrid form

Above all, Lorenz Merz was “incredibly grateful”: not only for the awards, but also for the “super nice hospitality” and the human exchange in Saarbrücken: “It was so beautiful, gentle, friendly and inspiring.” Festival director Svenja Böttger and artistic director Oliver Baumgarten were also happy that the 43rd MOP could at least take place in a hybrid form after the online version in 2021. Most of the 80 films were released not only on a streaming, but also in a decentralized way in nine Saarland cinemas. “It was very good to take that step back,” Böttger said.

The final event, which took place as a purely online event, was missing the red carpet and the celebrities, but there were still great emotions: with tears of joy, with silence or even unbridled jubilation. Unlike a joint award ceremony in Saarbrücken, some winners had to party on a very small scale on the screen: sometimes alone in the hotel room, with a friend on the train, with the team on the sofa or with family in Portugal. Watching him was sometimes as entertaining as it was touching.

Prize giving on Youtube

Not only Paula Knüpling and Marina Prados were pleased with the rating of their film “Ladybitch” and the award for socially relevant film, but also with the organizers of the film festival – including Oliver Baumgarten, who is now taking new professional paths after eight festival editions . According to the jury, “Ladybitch” is exactly what is expected of the Max Ophüls Prize: “That young filmmakers try something, experiment and risk something so that something new can emerge.” (dpa)