Munich's Filmfest "Muenchen 2007" celebrates its 25th anniversary with a mixed bag of feature films, glamour and experiments, with the accent on the international including independent movies from Asia and Latin America.
Festival director Andreas Stroeh marks his third year at the helm with around 200 movies from 40 counties due to unspool between the opening film, a comedy The Band's Visit from Israel on June 22, and the closer, director Rainer Kaufmann's literary filming of Ein Fliehendes Pferd (The Fugitive Horse) on June 30.
Stroeh, who succeeded fest co-founder Eberhard Hauff, has lined up the sections, the International Program, New German feature Films, Geramn TV movies, Silent Movies, Nouveau Cinema Francais, American Independents, and Children's festival.
In addition, the festival will host cost-free open-air screenings at the courtyard of the fest headquarters, the Gasteig, with cinema masterpieces and discoveries shown during the past 25 years of festival.
"We are a festival for the public and we are the mediator between film makers and film fans," Stroeh said.
One highlight is bound to be Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which captured this year's Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Fest.
Another highlight in the French cinema section may have movies from China and likewise movies based on the culture of the Indians in the Andes Mountain region screened within the framework of the Visiones Latinoamericanas section. And film buffs doubtless will welcome Oscar-winner Volker Schloendorff's latest opus, Ulzhan.
At the same time, the festival will present new works from renowned filmmakers such as Kevin Smith, Clerks 2, Tom DiCillo's Delirious, Caros Sorin's The Road to San Diego, Arturo Ripstine's Sodom Carnaval, and "Amazing Grace" from Michael Apted.
Four young Munich directors are represented - Hans Steinbichler with Autistic Disco, Marcu H. Rosenmueller with Beste Zeit (Best Time), Hendrik Handloegten with Ein Spaetes Maedchen (A Late Girl) and Marco Kreuzpainter with Trade, named as this year's winner of the Bernhard Wicki Filmpreis Die Bruecke.
Retrospectives include works from noted German filmmaker Werner Herzog and American independent icon Richard Linklater.
All of Linklater's films will be screened, including Master of the Indies, which launched his career at the 1990 Munich festival.
Director, author, producer and Academy award winner William Friedkin, whose credits include The French Connection, has been selected for the festival's traditional CineMerit Award along with Kevin Kline, who appeared in A Fish Named Wanda and A Prairie Home Companion, who is also an Oscar winner.
Other awards include the Deutscher Film prize, 60,000 euros donated by the Hypo Vereinsbank, Bavaria Film and the BR TV network, as well a CineVision Award of 12,000 euros from the DZ Bank for the promotion of young talent.
Although never planned as such, Filmfest Muenchen has long since become an unofficial market with producers and licence-holders converging on Munich with their films, hoping to make deals on the fringe of the fest.