The drama “Dear Thomas” wins by far the most awards at the German Film Awards. Director Andreas Kleinert gives an acceptance speech with a message. Wladimir Klitschko sends a video message.

“I want to stay where I’ve never been.” The portrait “Dear Thomas” won the most awards at the German Film Awards.

In it, director Andreas Kleinert tells the story of the life of the writer Thomas Brasch (1945-2001) with impressive black-and-white images. The drama received nine awards, including the Golden Lola for best feature film. The awards were presented in Berlin on Friday evening.

The film also won awards for direction and screenplay. Albrecht Schuch, who plays Thomas, was honored as the best leading actor. The 36-year-old won his third Lola after “Systemsprenger” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz”. Actress Jella Haase, who plays his partner in “Dear Thomas”, was awarded Best Supporting Actress.

In the wake of the Ukraine war

The film was released in the cinemas in autumn and can now also be viewed on streaming platforms. When Kleinert accepted the award for best director, he used the moment for a speech. When he thinks of Thomas Brasch now, he thinks he must give an anarchist and anti-capitalist speech, Kleinert said, and warned that arming corporations that produce weapons would not bring peace.

The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine shaped the award in several places. A video message from Wladimir Klitschko was shown during the show. In it, the 46-year-old spoke of the war and acknowledged the importance of documentaries. “My dear friends. I hope we’ll see each other again soon,” said Klitschko.

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) spoke at the beginning of her trip to the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. “The war changes everything, even an evening like this,” said Roth. Is it still possible to celebrate the film? “You can’t just do it – you should, you have to.”

The German Film Prize is considered the most important national award in the industry. The awards are associated with around three million euros for new projects, the money comes from the house of the Minister of State for Culture. The approximately 2,100 members of the German Film Academy had voted on many of the award winners.

The other award winners

Two other acting prizes were awarded for performances in the drama “Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush”: Meltem Kaptan was honored as best leading actress, Alexander Scheer for best male supporting role. The film by Andreas Dresen also won a silver Lola, while the bronze award went to “Große Freiheit”.

A total of six productions were nominated for the best feature film – in addition to “Dear Thomas”, “Rabiye Kurnaz against George W. Bush” and “Great Freedom”, the comedy “Contra”, the episodic film “Beautiful” and the drama “Spencer” were proposed.

Cameraman Jürgen Jürges received an honorary award for outstanding services to German film. He has worked with directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder (“Fear Eats Soul”), Michael Haneke (“Funny Games”) and Uli Edel (“Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo”).

Jürges said there were interesting works among the films nominated for the evening. “And that gives hope. Because we will need committed people and relevant work to make cinema more attractive again and to bring viewers back.” Referring to Russia’s war in Ukraine, he said: “This war will change all of our lives forever.” He also warned that global rearmament could not be the long-term solution.

Around 1700 people were invited to the award ceremony at the Berlin exhibition center. The evening was moderated by Katrin Bauerfeind. Among the guests were actor Matthias Schweighöfer, actress Heike Makatsch and other celebrities. Actress Alexandra Maria Lara and director Florian Gallenberger appeared as the new top management of the film academy – the two also thanked their predecessor Ulrich Matthes on stage.

Actor Ulrich Tukur took out the accordion during the show. Christoph Maria Herbst acted as if he had missed his assignment, then said “Ms. Roth, can you just do that…” and pressed his snack into her hand. He joked on stage about the vegetarian catering (“Could eat the cardboard box by mistake, don’t notice the difference. No, kidding.”) and presented the best female lead (“Great, only women.”).

The children’s film “The School of Magical Animals” was recognized as the most popular film. Best documentary film was “The Other Side of the River”, best children’s film “The Path”. The Bernd Eichinger Prize went to Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski and Jonas Dornbach from the Berlin production company Komplizen Film. Last year, the tragic comedy “I am your human” won the award for best feature film.