1985, the ‘MÄNNER year’, celebrated the resurrection of the German film. However, in the following year, there was already talk of a ‘disastrous tendency of ambiguous comedies’. But in 1986, there was also reason to celebrate: the festival completed its second decade. Doris Dörrie thanked Heinz Badewitz for ‘20 years of Hof’, brought along her film PARADIES (PARADISE) and received the very first Film Award of the City of Hof, an honor that would continue to be awarded every year for services to German film and, in particular, to the Hof Film Festival.
And although it is not a money prize, the award is still highly coveted. Prize winners include Herzog and Wenders, Achternbusch …
‘I’d like to say thank you, and nothing more.’
… and Graf, Sönke Wortmann and Hans-Christian Schmid, the actor Joachim Król and the ‘Kino Kino’ team of Bavarian Broadcasting, who, year for year, report on the festival with competence and affection.
But awards were actually never intended to be part of the festival, and to this day the Hof IFF has remained without a competitive section and without a jury. The awards in Hof are not presented by the festival itself but by companies, organisations or by the city of Hof itself, which does, however, follow the suggestions and recommendations of festival director Heinz Badewitz, who up until his sudden death in March 2016 was solely responsible for the program selection. Several thousand films are submitted each year, a fraction of which he chose for the festival, for whose organisation on location Badewitz thanked Rainer Huebsch (‘the man without whom nothing would work’) at the festival’s 1986 anniversary edition.
The accolade was embedded in one of the festival boss’s famously witty opening speeches studded with verbal surprises in which he pointed out empty seats (in case there were any, which was becoming increasingly seldom), and earlier, when smoking was still allowed, he never forgot to warn about the dangers of smoking – for both one’s health and the projection. In later years he reminded audience, ‘Please don’t forget to turn off your mobile phones.’