FILMKUNSTFEST MV in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's capital city of Schwerin
FILMKUNSTFEST MV (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Festival of Cinematic Arts) was founded in spring 1990 by filmmakers based in the region of today's Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania as the very first film festival in East Germany, just months before the German Reunification, combining film and fine arts, such as photo exhibitions, readings of selected works of literature or music performances.
Once a year, the festival takes place in early May, opening on a Tuesday and ending on a Sunday. Its main venue is the six-screen Filmpalast Capitol multiplex cinema which was built in 1936, which is part of the Schweriner Höfe arcade and which is within walking distance from every hotel in the city centre of Schwerin. During the film festival, screenings take place almost all day long and there is an information counter available at the Filmpalast Capitol's entrance area. The cinema's largest screen is one of the most beautiful film-theatre halls in Germany.
FILMKUNSTFEST MV arranges four competitions regarding motion pictures either produced or co-produced in Germany, Austria or Switzerland that are being decided on by four juries. These competitions include feature films (10 entries), documentary features (10 entries), feature-length children's or youth films (6 to 10 entries) and short films (20 entries). Entailing a prize money of approximately EUR 50,000 for the abovementioned competitions, the film festival in Schwerin is one of the most important competitive film festivals in Germany, particularly for up-and-coming directors.
This festival is characterised by a laid-back, almost familiar atmosphere allowing the audience to get in touch with the attending filmmakers, for instance after a screening during a Q&A with directors and actors. At both the cinema and the festival café, plenty of moderated film talks take place; 2016 even through co-operation with four political foundations addressing matters of cultural and social policy.
One of the highlights of each FILMKUNSTFEST MV is the honorary award which is bestowed by the Minister-President of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania upon an actress or an actor for outstanding accomplishments in the film industry. A complimentary tribute of selected films starring the respective honouree accompanies this award. Additionally, the film festival showcases treasures of the DEFA era as well as contemporary films produced in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania ("Films made in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania") or co-produced by the German TV and radio broadcaster NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk).
Moreover, each FILMKUNSTFEST MV features a so-called guest country by screening current films from said country, every once in a while also by organising film concerts, as happened with Turkey in 2014, with France in 2015 and with Belgium in 2016. In 2015, the Focus Baltic Sea section was introduced by the festival's Artistic Director Volker Kufahl. This section takes a closer look at film productions from the Baltic rim countries, which are Sweden, Finland, the Baltics, Poland and Russia, and emphasises the cinematographic diversity in a specific cultural area.
The FILMKUNSTFEST MV's short-film night enjoys cult status amongst many fans of the festival. This event screens out-of-competition short films in several sections to be voted on by the attending audience for a short-film night winner according to popularity.
Last but definitely not least, in 2015 the FILMKUNSTFEST MV included the Cinéfête Youth Film Festival in its programme showcasing French-speaking children's and youth films with German subtitles to our younger cinema-goers and their accompanying teachers.