Cologne Filmmaker Wins Student Oscar | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 17.05.2008
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Cologne Filmmaker Wins Student Oscar

The much-decorated Cologne film school graduate Reto Caffi has been selected to receive a Student Oscar at the June 7 ceremony in Los Angeles. His short film is a real-life study on remorse.

Hollywood sign

The Student Oscars will be presented next month in LA

"I can hardly believe it," 36-year-old Caffi told DPA news agency on Friday, May 16, after learning of the award. "I'm so glad that what I worked on for two years is being recognized in this way."

Caffi's winning half-hour film "Auf der Strecke" ("On the Line") follows a department store detective who regularly observes a particular woman on the store's surveillance cameras. He witnesses an assault on her supposed love interest, but doesn't intervene.

Gripped by guilt, the detective's life falls apart.

"It’s the story of a person whose life is plagued by guilt," explained Caffi. "The issue of personally binding guilt interested me."

35 years of Student Oscars

Reto Caffi

Reto Caffi

The short film has already received several prizes, including the Best Student Award at the Aspen Film Festival in Colorado and the Special Jury Prize at the International Short Film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Caffi overtook finalists from the Czech Republic, Spain, Israel and Slovenia to claim his first Student Academy Award.

Since 1973, Student Oscars have been awarded annually to three promising US filmmakers and one non-US filmmaker. A total of eight Student Oscar winners have come from Germany, including last year's recipient of the Honorary Foreign Film Award Toke Constantin Hebbeln, with his submission "Nevermore."

Born in Zurich in 1971, Caffi studied English literature in Freibourg from 1990 to 1998. He then worked as a culture and film journalist in Switzerland. In 2004, he came to the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne to do his post-graduate studies, which he completed in 2007.

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