Hamburg Film Festival Wins Douglas Sirk Award for Ulrich Seidl –

The Hamburg Film Festival will no longer present Austrian director Ulrich Seidl with the prestigious Douglas Sirk Award following a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel expressing concerns about the treatment of young actors during the filming of his latest film. Sparta.

However, the festival will continue to show Sparta within their program.

“With regard to the Douglas Sirk Award, we have decided not to award the award, as the current allegations against the production will overshadow the awards ceremony,” said Filmfest Hamburg director Albert Wiederspiel and head of programming Kathryn Kolstedde.

The couple went on to say that the allegations against Seidl were published in Der Spiegel after the festival program brochure was published.

“We included the film in the program because of its outstanding quality. This is a very delicate film about a particularly difficult and taboo subject. The allegations against Ulrich Seidl are directed against conditions during filming, not against his film,” the statement said.

“So we decided to keep the film on the programme. In addition, we will also show Riminithe 2022 Berlinale entry that completes the cinematic diptych dedicated to the story of two brothers.”

Sparta revolves around a German struggling with his paedophilic tendencies who seeks a fresh start in the Romanian wilderness, where he turns a run-down school into a safe place for local children. The production features Romanian child actors aged 9 to 16.

According to an investigative report by Der Spiegel, the parents of these actors told the magazine that they were not aware of the film’s themes and subject matter during filming.

Seidl denied that any wrongdoing took place during filming, posting a statement on his website in response to the article.

“Inaccurate representations, rumors or events taken out of context on the set of SPARTA are assembled into a distorted picture that does not correspond to reality in any way,” he wrote.

He added that “I am accused of intentions that cannot be far from reality. I can’t leave it without objection.”

The film was pulled from TIFF following the allegations. San Sebastian says it will continue screenings Spartastating that only a court decision could result in the film being made.

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