News |Michael Ballhaus Fellowship

Judith Kaufmann | © ZDF / Network Movie Film- und Fernsehproduktion GmbH & Co.KG/ Martin Menke

Starting in 2020, Villa Aurora &Thomas Mann House will award the Michael Ballhaus Fellowship under the patronage of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas. The annual fellowship is given to outstanding directors of photography in cooperation with the German Film Academy. The first laureate is the Berlin based D.P. Judith Kaufmann. The prize, in honor of the late director of photography Michael Ballhaus, consists of a three-month residence at Villa Aurora in Los Angeles and is financed by the German Foreign Office.

'Become lovers, not technicians!' Michael Ballhaus once said to his students in regards to his actors" Sherry Homann, the head of the jury for the Michael Ballhaus Fellowship recounts. We want to honor artists who don't linger, but rather continue to discover new things.

Judith Kaufmann is considered a master of her trade, having won the German Camera Prize and the German Film Prize for Best Camera repeatedly. Her name is associated with feature films such as "Elser“, "Freistatt“, "Die Fremde“ and recently "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft“ as well as with TV movies, such as "Der gleiche Himmel“ and "Der Andere“

A retrospective of selected films will be part of the fellowship, in addition to the stay at Villa Aurora, which was Lion Feuchtwanger's refuge during his time in exile triggered by the National Socialists.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas commented: "Not only was Michael Ballhaus a sympathetic teacher and partner for those who were searching for new images, stories and opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic, he was also a committed human being. "For Ballhaus, the German-American relationship was an affair of the heart. With this fellowship bearing his name, we are demonstrating that our cultural dedication in the U.S. is not decreasing. We need more interchange in order to improve our relationship.

Ulrich Matthes, president of the German Film Academy, adds: "This is a great chance to be able to gather new experience in dialogue with other artists, condensed over the course of a few months. This is "academy" in the true sense of the word. With Judith Kaufmann, the first nomination goes to an impressive and well-rounded camera woman. I am thinking of Michael Ballhaus full of gratitude, and my heartfelt congratulations go to Judith Kaufmann."

The head of the Board of Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House, Markus Klimmer ,said: "The Michael Ballhaus Stipendium will honor distinguished directors of photography, editors and production designers of all ages dedicated to tackle "The Other" with an open gaze and interest in transatlantic exchange. Our goal is to help promote the works of these film professionals internationally and connect them with the industry in Los Angeles."

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