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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Douglas Sirk Award 2017- Wim Wender

by Birgit Schrumpf

Wim Wenders was honored with the Douglas Sirk Award 2017 for his services to film culture. The ceremony took place in conjunction with the German premiere of his latest film Submergence. “Wim Wenders is one of the greatest filmmakers in the world… This price is also our way of honoring him for his tireless commitment to European cinema and his tremendous dedication to the German film industry. What is more, so many of his works feature references to Hamburg and north Germany…” explains Festival Manager Albert Wiederspiel.

The Douglas Sirk Award is the most prestigious award at the Filmfest Hamburg and has been a firm feature of the festival since 1995. It is only ever awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to film culture and the film industry through their work. Former prize winners include Clint Eastwod, Stephen Frears, Isabelle Huppert, David Cronenberg, Julian Schnabel, Tilda Swinton, Fatih Akin – to mention just a few.

Wim Wenders was born 1945 and his filmmaking career started by entering the Munich University of TV and Film in 1967. Since then, his extensive portfolio not only includes multiple award-winning feature films and documentaries but he is also a playwright, author, photographer and a major figure in New German Cinema. One of his earliest honors, the BAFTA Award for Best Director, was for his narrative drama Paris, Texas (1984) which also won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

His numerous prizes around the world include the Golden Lion in Venice for The State of Things (1982) or the Silver Bear for The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) at the Berlin International Film Festival. The documentaries Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Pina (2011), which was his first 3-D film, and The Salt of the Earth (2014) have each been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. At the Berlin International Film Festival 2015 Wim Wenders was awarded the Honorary Golden Bear for his life's work.

He received an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1989 and the Université Catholique de Louvan in Belgium in 2005.  

Wim Wenders lectured as professor for film at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (University of Fine Art) from 2003 to 2017. His “star” can be found on the “Boulevard der Stars” in Berlin.

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