45th Film Festival Max Ophuels Prize

22.01.2024 to 28.01.2024


At the 45th Film Festival Max Ophuels Prize in Saarbrücken, the Ecumenical Jury awarded its €2,500 prize to "Jenseits der blauen Grenze" (Beyond the Blue Border) by Sarah Neumann (Germany 2024). The prize money is jointly donated by the Katholische Erwachsenebildung im Saarland - Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft e.V. and the Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft für Evangelische Erwachsenenbildung im Saarland e.V., represented by the Evangelische Akademie im Saarland. The film also received the audience award for the feature film competition and the prize for the best young actor, which was awarded to Willi Geitmann.

"Electric Fields" by Lisa Gertsch (Switzerland 2023) also received several prizes, namely the festival's main prize, the Max Ophuels Prize, the Fritz Raff Screenplay Prize and the Film Critics' Prize (Fipresci Prize). The prize for best director (Film Prize of the Minister President of the Saarland) went to Sara Summa for "Arthur&Diana" (Germany 2023).

The festival opened on 22 January with "Rickerl - Musik is höchstens a Hobby" by Adrian Goiginger (Germany, Austria 2023) starring the Austrian musician Voodoo Jürgens. The Ecumenical Jury awards its prize to a film from the feature film competition. Other competition sections of the festival are the Documentary Film Competition, the Medium Length Film Competition and the Short Film Competition. The Tribute of the 2024 festival was dedicated to the German director Christian Schwochow.

Link: Homepage of the festival


Beyond the Blue Border
Directed by:

This film captivated us with its narrative power and universal relevance.

The overwhelming power of the film lies in its profound portrayal of the self-sacrificing and selfless nature of friendship. The main character is at an existential crossroads in her life. On the one hand, a sporting career and ties to family and home beckon, while on the other there is freedom and heartfelt friendship. This dualistic structure reflects the conflicts that people can encounter time and again on their journey through life. The audience is taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride and witnesses the inner struggles of the main characters.

The subtle staging and impressive acting lend this film a unique intensity. The camera work, the visual language and the music emphasise the inner conflicts and make them tangible. It is remarkable how the film manages to penetrate the different levels of human existence while maintaining a sophisticated cinematic level.

The film's message encourages us to find true freedom in human relationships and deep friendship.

(Photo: © Jakob Fliedner, Wood Water Films)