First Dortmund Documentary Film Award Goes to Helga Reidemeister

Helga Reidemeister

The Dortmund │ Cologne International Women's Film Festival is to present the first-ever Dortmund documentary film award to Helga Reidemeister. The award, which comes with prize money of 10,000 EUR donated by Sparkasse Dortmund, has been instituted to honour the lifetime work of women directors for their services to European documentary film. With the choice this year of Helga Reidemeister, the festival is pleased to distinguish a film-maker who has been producing documentaries single-mindedly for forty years and who is prepared to tackle controversial themes and portray reality in all its unsettling aspects. At the centre of many of her films are people who never let things get them down, even in the most difficult of circumstances. When viewing the life stories and destinies that fascinate her, Ms Reidemeister never loses focus of the social structures and political implications. In her view, the private is always political.

Helga Reidemeister, born in Halle an der Saale, studied art at Academy of Fine Arts and film at the German Academy of Film and Television in Berlin (dffb).Politicised by the student movement; she was active as a social worker in the new housing development of the Märkisches Viertel in Berlin from 1968 to 1973. It was here that her first film was made: Der gekaufte Traum (or "The Bought Dream") about a working-class family. Many award-winning films were to follow – with subject matter such as children on cancer wards in Moscow, women in prison, peace activists and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Berlin – until in 2002 she took off to Afghanistan where she was to make two documentaries: Texas – Kabul and Mein Herz sieht die Welt schwarz – eine Liebe in Kabul (aka "War and Love in Kabul").

To mark the 20th anniversary of the cooperation between Sparkasse Dortmund and the Dortmund|Cologne International Women's Film Festival, the new Dortmund Documentary Film Award as sponsored by Sparkasse Dortmund will be conferred in Dortmund every two years.

The first presentation ceremony will be held on 17 April 2011 in Dortmund. In addition, the festival will be showing Helga Reidemeister's War and Love in Kabul on 16 April. The screening will be followed by a talk about the film and Ms Reidemeister's other works.

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