Happy holidays and all the best for 2023

... we wish you from the bottom of our hearts

Yesterday, our team met for Christmas karaoke with homemade biscuits and mulled wine. Now we are in the mood for relaxing holidays and some of us will - secretly, of course - watch a series or read a book. In January, the festival season starts in Sundance and Rotterdam. But before we start looking for the most exciting films and guests for the 72nd edition of the IFFMH, we would like to pause for a moment and look back on a successful festival season with you. We are especially happy to have brought together filmmakers from all over the world and their works once again in packed cinemas and lounges with you, our audience. The fact that you took this opportunity in such large numbers and gave us so much positive feedback was a great experience. In addition to the positive press response, it strengthens our conviction that we have presented the essential part of a strong film year at the IFFMH. At the same time, it is an incentive for us not to sit back, but to continue on the path of renewal we have embarked on with you.

As you know, 2022 was also an oppressive year in terms of world historical events. With Russia's invasion of Ukraine, we witnessed the first major land war in Europe since the Second World War. The human suffering that was triggered by this, the many dead, injured and millions of refugees, is unimaginable and we take great interest in it. We are therefore all the more pleased to have given Ukrainian films and artists visibility with us. How is Katia?' from this year's competition was just awarded the prize for best director at the film festival Around the World in 14 Films in Berlin.
On the initiative of the Iranian filmmaker, human rights activist and this year's member of our international jury, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, this year we were at least able to contribute to the fact that 62 existentially endangered cultural workers were flown out of Afghanistan and are now safe. Many others, however, continue to fear for their lives and have been abandoned after standing up for Western values or actively supporting German soldiers on the ground.

During a panel discussion, Mohsen, the Afghan actress Marina Golbahari and the Afghan director and Golden Globe winner Siddiq Barmak discussed the situation in Afghanistan and Iran. During our Award Ceremony, Mohsen also made an impressive appeal about the situation in Iran. And you probably still remember: Shortly before the festival, we declared our solidarity with the free revolution in Iran on our website and social media channels. Now, in the past few days, it became known that Taraneh Alidoosti, the leading actress from the Iranian film 'Leila's Brothers', which we showed in the section PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES, was imprisoned because of her commitment to the freedom movement. A scandal that highlights how important all support for protesters in Iran is.

So we try to continue to be vigilant, attentive and mindful and hope for a better 2023 in terms of world politics!

In January, our core team traditionally meets for an intensive work meeting lasting several days. We will then recapitulate the past issue and take your numerous and constructive feedback into account. We would like to thank you for this contribution to the continuous improvement of our festival.

And now we say goodbye to 2022 with our best wishes for a relaxing holiday season and a happy new year. Here's to an exciting film year 2023, many shared discoveries and a reunion in good health!