The DEFA Foundation announced today that the film director Kurt Maetzig has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his services to German cinema.
A scene from "Das Kaninchen bin ich" from 1965
Maetzig, who will also receive 15,000 euros ($21,000) in prize money, was born in Berlin in 1911 and was one of the co-founders of DEFA, the state-owned film production company in former East Germany which produced hundreds of films from 1946 until its dissolution in 1995.
The company was responsible for films like "Die Legende von Paul und Paula" ("The Legend of Paul and Paula"), which remains one of the most popular films produced in the former East Germany. DEFA also released the first German film production made after the end of World War II, "Die Moerder sind unter uns" ("Murderers Among Us"). The film premiered in 1946 and starred the popular German singer and actress Hildegard Knef.
Maetzig established a reputation as one of East Germany’s foremost film directors. He was the brains behind the film version of Manfred Bieler’s novel, "Das Kaninchen bin ich" ("The Rabbit is Me") which was banned in the German Democratic Republic for its criticisms of the socialist regime.
Director Kurt Maetzig (l) will also celebrate his 100th birthday in January 2011
Other prize-winners include director Feo Aldag whose new film "Die Fremde" ("When We Leave") was recently nominated as Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. He won his prize for advancing creative development in the film industry. In addition to his award, he will receive 7,500 euros ($10,500) prize money. "Die Fremde" tells the story of a young Turkish girl rebelling against the traditionalist attitudes of her family and is also set for a US release early next year.
Kurt Maetzig and the other prize-winners will be presented with their awards at a special ceremony in Berlin on November 12th.
Author: Gavin Blackburn (dpa)
Editor: Greg Wiser