The Cologne Conference is an international Film and Television Festival that takes place annually in Cologne, Germany. With about 10.000 visitors, the Cologne Conference is considered as the best attended festival of its kind worldwide. Screenings of independent films as well as debates on media politics and media aesthetic complement the event.
The Cologne Conference was founded in 1991 by journalist and media researcher Lutz Hachmeister while he was the head of the Adolf-Grimme-Institut. In addition to the Grimme-Preis, a national award, an international television festival was originated.
The TV festival was part of German media convention mediaforum nrw; but it soon developed a momentum of its own and an international reputation. In 1993, the competitive festival section "TopTen" was established, which was, in 2001, divided into two sections, one section for fictional TV and one for documentary TV. In 2007, these two categories were recombined to one category, the "TopTen" section. In the same year, the second competitive festival section "Look", which presents visually extraordinary film and television productions, was created. In 2009, the competitive festival section "Kino" has also become a part of the Cologne Conference. The "Kino" section offers the most interesting aspects concerning film. The presentations and discussions within the Cologne Conference "Lectures" examine the relevant developments on the media market. Beyond that, a workshop discussion with the winner of the "Cologne Film Award" has become an inherent part of the "Lectures" since 2007. Furthermore, there are retrospectives and revivals of legendary television programmes, such as The Monkees, Twin Peaks or The Prisoner.
Programme and Guests
One of the first TV productions presented at the Cologne Conference was David Lynch's mystery series Twin Peaks. Later almost all groundbreaking US TV series had their German premiere at the Cologne Conference, e.g. Emergency Room, Sex and the City or 24. Also British television always enjoyed strong presence, for instance with Cracker, The Office or Prime Suspect.
Besides German film and television stars, international celebrities such as Academy Award winners Paul Haggis, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and Michael Radford, Anton Corbijn, Nicolas Roeg, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Mika Kaurismäki, Ole Bornedal, David Lynch, Todd Haynes, Paul Abbott or Tarsem Singh presented themselves in Cologne.
Competition and Awards
From roughly 800 international submissions, a jury selects the programmes for the festival sections "TopTen", "Look" and "Kino". Since 1997, the Cologne Conference awards prizes in different categories. The TV Spielfilm Award, donated by the identically named TV program magazine, is given to the best contribution of the three festival sections. Furthermore, the German Casting Award goes to the best German casting agent and The Hollywood Reporter Award, sponsored by The Nielsen Company, goes to young and aspiring individuals in the media sector. Until 2007, the award for the best screenplay, sponsored by Network Movie, was also bestowed. Amongst others, it was given to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck in 2006, who won the Oscar for The Lives of Others in 2007.
In 2007 the main award of the Cologne Conference, the "Cologne Film Award", was originated. This award honors outstanding creativity in film and TV and is worth EUR 25.000. It is bestowed to those individuals, who best contribute "to the further development of the language of film and media". The award is presented by the Cologne Conference, along with the City of Cologne and States Film Subsidy Body "Filmstiftung NRW". The first laureate of the "Cologne Film Award" in 2007 was Canadian film director and writer Paul Haggis (LA Crash, Casino Royale) and in 2008, the award was given to the brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (L'Enfant, Lorna's Silence). In 2009, the award was bestowed to Roman Polanski (Chinatown, The Pianist) but the Polish/French movie director was not able to receive the prize on 3 October in Cologne since he was arrested on 26 September during his journey to the Zurich Film Festival, which caused a worldwide sensation. In 2010 David Lynch was presented with the "Cologne Film Award" for his groundbreaking work in television and cinema. David Simon received the TV Spielfilm Award for his critically acclaimed series Treme. Todd Haynes was awarded the TV Spielfilm Award in 2011 for his extraordinary re-imagination of Mildred Pierce and the Cologne Film Award was presented to Tarsem Singh.
- Casting Award: Rita Kes
- Producer Award: Stefan Schubert and Ralph Schwingel
- Writer's Award: Michael Gutmann
- TV Spielfilm Award: David Yates for State of Play
- Phoenix Award: One Shot Productions Ltd.
- Cologne Film Award: Paul Haggis
- TV Spielfilm Award: Anton Corbijn for the movie Control
- Writer's Award: Hannah Hollinger for her lifework
- The Hollywood Reporter Award: Das perfekte Dinner
In 2007, the Cologne Conference was chaired by festival founder Lutz Hachmeister, along with Maybritt Illner, Stefan Aust, Marc Conrad, Michael Schmid-Ospach and Dieter Gorny.
- Cologne Film Award: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
- TV Spielfilm Award: Abi Morgan and Hettie Macdonald for the BBC movie White Girl
- German Casting Award: Franziska Aigner-Kuhn for the movie Die Welle
- The Hollywood Reporter Award: Christian Becker, Rat Pack film production
- Future TV Award: Sex and Zaziki by Sascha Jenschewski and Alexander Perschel
In 2008, the Cologne Conference was chaired by Lutz Hachmeister, along with, Stefan Aust, Marc Conrad, Michael Schmid-Ospach and Dieter Gorny.
- Cologne Film Award: Roman Polanski
- TV Spielfilm Award: Lynda La Plante (Above Suspicion, ITV)
- The Hollywood Reporter Award: Max Wiedemann and Quirin Berg, Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion
- Casting Award: Nina Haun
In 2009, the Cologne Conference was chaired by festival founder Lutz Hachmeister, along with Stefan Aust, Marc Conrad, Michael Schmid-Ospach and Dieter Gorny.
- Cologne Film Award: David Lynch
- TV Spielfilm Award: David Simon for the HBO-series Treme
- The Hollywood Reporter Award: Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss for the AMC-series Mad Men
- Casting Award: Ulrike Müller for her casting work in the feature films When We Leave, Im Schatten and The City Below
- Cologne Film Award: Tarsem Singh
- TV Spielfilm Award: Todd Haynes for the HBO- series Mildred Pierce
- The Hollywood Reporter Award: Paul Abbott for the series Shameless and Exile.
- Casting Award: Sophie Molitoris for her casting work in the TV Movie Neue Vahr Süd.
- Cologne Film Award: François Ozon
- TV Spielfilm Award: Michael Winterbottom for the movie Trishna.
- The Hollywood Reporter Award: Karl Baumgartner, for his lifework.
- Casting Award: Daniela Tolkien for her casting work in the movies Wickie auf großer Fahrt, Das Haus der Krokodile and Offroad.
- Cologne Film Award: Harmony Korine
- TV Spielfilm Award: Frauke Finsterwalder for the film Finsterworld
- The Hollywood Reporter Award: Sibel Kekilli
- Casting Award: Susanne Ritter
- International Actors Award: Isabelle Huppert
- Cologne Conference to focus on best TV content The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Roxborough, 09/21/2007
- Cologne Conference moves to fall Ed Meza, Variety, 05/08/2007
-  Hochschule Fresenius. University of Applied Sciences
-  Lalibre.de, 08/10/2008
-  Variety.com, 10/01/2010
-  Life.com. 10/01/2010
- 'Mad Men' alumni get THR Award. Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss first actors to win award. By Scott Roxborough. The Hollywood Reporter. 13/09/2010