42nd Filmfestival Max Ophuels Prize

17.01.2021 to 24.01.2021

"Borga" by York-Fabian Raabe (Ghana, Germany 2021) won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Max Ophuels Prize Saarbruecken 2021, as well as the festival's main award, the audience prize and the prize for the socially relevant film awarded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. The film deals with the problems of globalisation and migration. Several prizes were also awarded to "Fuchs im Bau" by Arman T. Riahi (Austria 2020), namely for Best Director, the Youth Jury Prize and the Fritz Raff Screenplay Prize. It tells the story of a special needs teacher in the penal system.

The 42nd Max Ophüls Film Festival in Saarbrücken took place exclusively online. During the festival, the audience could access the films in the programme via a streaming platform for a ticket fee.

The festival showed a total of 98 productions, 12 of which were in the feature film competition, from which the Ecumenical Jury chose its prize-winner. The festival opened with the documentary "A Black Jesus" by Luca Lucchesi, which deals with conflicts between locals and refugees in a small town in southern Italy where a black statue of Jesus is worshipped.

Link: Festival-Website


Directed by:

"Borga" shows the global effects of Western consumption at the expense of the African continent in haunting, sometimes oppressive images. The related migration issue is presented soberly and realistically. But the film tells more than a story about the fate of a migrant and his family: it problematises our capitalist actions, in which toxic waste is shown as a new form of exploitation of Africa. He questions the dream of illegal immigrants who are willing to become criminals for their supposed happiness. The protagonist cannot fulfil the ambivalent expectations of both worlds and finally experiences the family as the ultimate support. The German-Ghanaian film team has succeeded in creating an authentic, topical and gripping drama with great actors and actresses. It offers the viewer a more respectful and sensitive look at stories of flight and questions clichés. "Borga" gives refugees faces and promotes solidarity within the human family.

More about the festival

For more than forty years the film festival Max Ophüls Preis in the German city of Saarbrücken presents films produced by young talented filmmakers from German speaking countries. It wants to discover and to promote the “newest” films from this cultural area. There is more. The festival was founded in 1980 which means at a time when the German film industry received a new boost thanks to the Oberhausen Manifesto in 1962.