In 1998, at the height of his stardom, Germany’s best know actor - & future filmmaker credited with over 51 million admissions to date - attended Oldenburg to present his debut role in an American film »SLC Punk!«, starring Matthew Lillard. To accommodate over 1,000 fans and autograph seekers, streets in front of the cinema were shut down for the first time. An awe-struck 20 year-old police officer remarked: »I’ve never seen anything like this.«
Hailed by Rolling Stone Magazine as »One of America’s Best Singer-Songwriter’s«, the prolific musician presented 2013s »Butch Walker: Out of Focus« with producer, Salomé Breziner, at the JVA Oldenburg – part of the Fest’s annual screening venues. Nicknamed ‘The Alcatraz of the North’, Butch rocked the high security prison with an unchained solo concert for the audience of inmates and members of the general public.
In 2005, Oldenburg honored the Wilson Brothers with the German Independence Honorary Tribute Award. The annual secret party was held in an abandoned high school, and Andrew and Luke got top marks playing swing the bottle.
Award-winning Italian actress, Valeria Golino, arrives directly from the world premiere at La Biennale di Venezia with director Silvio Soldini and charms Oldenburg audiences at the International Premiere of »Emma« (Il colore nascosto delle cose).
Heading the first ever ‘all female’ International Jury for the German Films, Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino arrived to present 2012s »Union Square« with director Nancy Savoca – the recipient of Oldenburg’s first Honorary Tribute in 1994.
»It’s been a great honor, here in Oldenburg, to experience modern day German culture through the lens of your independent cinema.«
- Mira Sorvino
Fans line the Red Carpet at the Oldenburg State Theatre, as Nicolas Cage arrives to receive the 2016 German Independence Honorary Award. Onstage, his heartfelt acceptance speech touched the audience. A true artist & icon.
Iris Sommerlatte, Andrzej Zulawski and Tim Blake Nelson enjoying Filmfest's traditional Soup eating at Oldenburg's butcher's »Monse«
»No event captures the atmosphere at the Oldenburg Film Festival more beautifully than the traditional Saturday Soup Lunch in the pedestrian zone.
Standing Ovations for Seymour Cassel at World Premiere of LeVar Burton's »Reach for Me«
»The world premiere of ›Reach for Me‹ turned out to be a huge success. Director LeVar Burton received a long standing ovation, followed by a second when Seymour Cassel entered the stage.«
- epd film
The 2010 Jury President & Star of Excellence recipient, Deborah Kara Unger, returns to Oldenburg and joins 2011 Jury President & Star of Excellence recipient, Matthew Modine on the 2011 Opening Night Red Carpet. Both Alums of the Fest, Modine presented the world premiere of his 1999 feature debut in Oldenburg, and Unger returned to present Emilio Estevez’s »The Way« at the Mid Gala screening at the St. Lamberti Church where it received a 7-minute standing ovation.
After presenting his 2002 directorial debut, Christophe Honoré returned to Oldenburg as the 2016 recipient of the Honorary German Independence Retrospective Award.
»Honoré makes movies much the same way Truffaut and Godard once made movies- with the idea that cinema was the most important thing that could ever be.«
- The Cinematheque
Following her world premiere in Venice, the German-based American director presented 2009s »Desert Flower« in Oldenburg. Inspired by true events of gender-based injustice, the critically lauded feature was nominated for Best Film at 2010s German Film Awards.
»We still talk about female and male directors.«
- Sherry Hormann
Instant heart pals as Indie Icon, Seymour Cassel, and 2010 Jury President Deborah Kara Unger, form an immediately bond & embrace the spirit of the Fest. For Cassel, the unofficial mascot since 1999, this was his 10th time at the Fest, and his enthusiasm would inspire Ms. Unger to faithfully return as an International Ambassador each year following without fail.
Father/son filmmaking duo - Larry & Jack Fessenden - keepin' it classy with Ron Burgundy at the 2016 World Premiere of 16 year-old Jack’s directorial debut »Stray Bullets«.
»As production came to a close, something most filmmakers don’t have to put up with reentered my life: high school.«
- Jack Fessenden
Europe's longest-standing Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luxembourg's esteemed Jean Asselborn & Festival Director Torsten Neumann at the Exerzierhalle to present the 2016 German Premiere of Pasha Rafiy's »Foreign Affairs«, an intimate portrait of this extraordinary diplomat.
In the Festival Lounge with Radley Metzger – the 2010 recipient of the German Independence Honorary Retrospective.
»Radley Metzger is legendary, revolutionary, provocative, and artistically formidable.«
Crowds went wild for Oscar-winner and global icon, Nicolas Cage, as his star was unveiled at the OLB Walk of Fame. The 2016 honoree thrilled audiences at the presentations of each of his films within his Tribute, sharing intimate anecdotes and a remarkable skill for impressions.
»I’m in control of being out of control.«
- Nicolas Cage
For the first time in its history, the 2017 Retrospective was dedicated to a producer. And with nearly 100 films to his credit, the Maverick producer, Edward R. Pressman, received the 2017 German Independence Honorary Award. He launched the careers of such greats as: Brian de Palma, Terrence Malick, Oliver Stone, Abel Ferrara, & Katherine Bigelow.
»My alliance is with the filmmakers. It’s us against the world.«
Andrew and Luke Wilson with Seymour Cassel at Filmfest's legendary »Secret Party« in an Elementary School.
Joanna Cassidy’s powerhouse performance as Zhora in »Blade Runner« secured her immediate status as an icon. And after nearly 50 successful years remaining at the top of her game, she came to Oldenburg as the 2015 recipient of the German Independence Honorary Tribute Award & Star of Excellence.
»Talk about beauty and the beast – she’s both«
- Blade Runner
A year before her breakout role in »Bend It Like Beckham« launched her to international stardom, the 18 year-old actress came to Oldenburg to present the German Premiere of 2001s »The Hole«. Five years later, Keira Knightley would be nominated for her first Oscar.
American Rock’n’Roll rebel filmmaker, George Armitage, arrived in style at the secret Hot Rod party. Honored with the 2015 German Independence Honorary Retrospective Award, his films touched the pulse of the times. In attendance with his entire family, this great-unknown filmmaker of American Cinema touched the pulse of Oldenburg auds – a true rediscovery.
His award-winning performance in 2003s »The Station Agent« garnered the actor critical acclaim, and in 2010 he presented »Pete Smalls Is Dead« in Official Competition in Oldenburg. A year later, his now iconic role in »Game of Thrones« would launch him to international stardom, and Peter Dinklage would become household name.