In what may very well be the oddest movie news story of the day, Uwe Boll is suing the Berlin Film Festival over their refusal to screen his new Auschwitz movie. Not because they find the film to be too disturbing or horribly exploitive or because Germans don’t like to be reminded of their shameful past. No, Boll just doesn’t want to pay the $170 entry fee.
We all know Uwe Boll has become infamous for a series of ineptly assembled video game movies. In recent years he’s gone more the indie route with a series of unflinching low budget movies focusing mostly on the very depths of human depravity. Humanity doesn’t get any more depraved than the Holocaust, and the extremely graphic trailer for his new film Auschwitz had the Internet abuzz with most stating how horribly exploitive it appeared. Boll argues that any other filmmaker making such a film would potentially be Oscar bound. The actual quality of Auschwitz remains to be seen, but it won’t be seen at the Berlin Film Festival. Here’s the Hollywood Reporter to explain why the movie won’t be screened there this year:
At issue is the 125 Euro entry fee all films are required to pay to be considered for the Berlin festival. Boll refused to pay the fee to submit Auschwitz, claiming the fest, and director Dieter Kosslick, was acting in bad faith and would not judge the film on its merits.
“Kosslick has been fighting me for the last 25 years, as Berlin festival director and before, when he was head of (German regional film board) the NRW Filmstiftung,” Boll told THR. “I don’t believe the Berlinale handles all films fairly. Kosslick has his deals with the major studios and invites his old pals from the Filmstiftung days. There isn’t fair competition.”
Boll’s suit will claim that many films picked to screen at the Berlinale — particularly prominent Hollywood films — did not pay that fee, making the festival criminally liable.
The Berlinale’s counterpoint to Boll’s claim is that the entry fee is only required of films that apply to be screened at the fest and that, according to fest guidelines, the fee is usually waived for films that are invited to play.
I’m not sure if this is Boll fighting the good fight against the system or just him being stubborn in the face of a perceived longtime rivalry with a little dash of a Rodney Dangerfield “I Get No Respect” complex. Either way, if I were the Berlin Film Festival organizers, I really don’t think I would want to tick off a guy who has spent the past few years making movies about mass murder. Did they not see Rampage? That’s another way to close a film festival – permanently.
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