"Another Round" by Thomas Vinterberg was the big winner at the European Film Awards this year, taking home Best Film, Best Director, and Best screenplay. It also won Mads Mikkelsen best actor for playing a high school teacher who experiments with being drunk all day long with colleagues.
But despite Vinterberg's joy at winning so many awards at the online ceremony in Berlin, the Danish director confessed via video link that dark clouds overshadowed the film production. His daughter sadly died whilst making the movie. He admits that the only thing that made sense to him was to carry on and large parts of the movie were even filmed at her school. The "award will honour her memory".
The best actress award went to Paula Beer for her portrayal of Undine in Christian Petzold's creation by the same name. The film is a love story and another take on the ancient German myth about a water nymph who kills lovers who leave and betray her.
The Best Documentary Award went to Romanian born, German film director, Alexander Nanau for 'Collective'.
The documentary looks at a health care corruption scandal in Romania in the aftermath of a fire in a club in Bucharest in October 2015. The event killed 27 people directly and wounded 180. Out of that 180, 37 subsequently died in the hospital, even though their injuries were non-life-threatening. Doctors signal the alarm, journalists investigated, mass protests rocked Romania and in the end, Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, and his cabinet had to stand down.
The Discovery award went to Italian director, Carlo Sironi for "Sole", his first feature film.
It's a movie about a pregnant woman from Poland who comes to Italy to sell her unborn child. She meets a young man who, for money, pretends to be the father of the child. He is tasked with handing over the newborn to his childless aunt and uncle. Emotional conflicts occur and the young man takes on paternal responsibility.
The end of the awards ceremony was touching. It marked the official farewell to the Director of the European Film Academy, Marion Döring, and the Academy President Wim Wenders. The founding members of the Film Academy are retiring after more than 30 years of dedicated commitment to European cinema.
They even got a personal parting message from Angela Markel, the Chancellor of Germany, who wished them all the best for the future. She thanks them saying "what remains are your achievements for European cinema".
Next year, the European Film Awards ceremony will be held in Berlin, hopefully as a live event.