Film Notes: Frankfurt Film Awards, Goethe-Institut’s Uwe Johnson Series

In News by Porter Anderson

This month has included the announcement of the Frankfurter Buchmesse Film Awards, and in November, New York City’s Goethe-Institut will host a monthlong film series to honor an English translation of Uwe Johnson’s work.

Image – iStockphoto: Egbell

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Fidelity to Their Source Material’
New this year, the Frankfurter Buchmesse Film Awards winners were announced during the book fair this month.

They comprise:

  • Best International Literary Adaptation: Intrigo: Death of an Author, based on the novels of Håkan Nesser, directed by Daniel Alfredson. This is one of three films based on Nesser’s trilogy. The other titles are Dear Agnes and Samaria. The films are in English and star Ben Kingsley, Tuva Novotny, John Sessions, and Gemma Chan
  • Best International Literary Adaptation for Children or Young Adults: Romy’s Salon, directed by Mischa Kamp
  • Best Illustrated Book on Film: Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies (Quirk Books, 2017)
  • In the category Best Illustrated Book on Film, which was awarded in cooperation with the MGIP Motovun Group of International Publishers there were two runners-up: Marilyn Monroe 50 Sessions (Knesebeck Verlag) and Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years (Reel Art Press)

While there’s no good fit in terms of category for the honor for the work, the jury also named Andy Coyle’s direction of Luke Pearson’s Hilda content from Nobrow’s Flying Eye Books in its Netflix release of September 21. The work was given a “special recognition” for the work.

In a prepared statement, the jury chief, Ellen Harrington, was quoted, saying, “This year’s competition was extremely compelling and highly varied—with a broad range of countries, film genres and very diverse source material represented.

“These filmmakers impressed the jury with their exceptional production values and fidelity to their source material. In particular, with the Best Adaptation for Children and Young Adults, we were pleased to note that all of the protagonists were compelling characters, who happen to be girls or young women, and many of the directors and authors on whose work these films were based are also women.”

Below is a trailer from Netflix for its first season of Pearson’s Hilda series.


‘Uwe Johnson’s New York’ at the Goethe-Institut

New York City’s Goethe-Institut has announced an installation and film series, Riverside Drive Revisited: Uwe Johnson’s New York, opening on November 1. It’s a monthlong program recognizing the first complete English-language edition by New York Review of Books Classics of Johnson’s Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl (October 16).

Translated from the German by Damion Searls, the new release—a boxed set—was supported by a grant from the Goethe-Institut with funding from Germany’s ministry of foreign affairs.

On November 1, translator Searls, the writer Renata Adler, and literary critic Liesl Schillinger will be on-hand to talk about the postwar Anniversaries, which is set between April and August of 1968 and is called by the publisher “an ambitious historical novel as well as a wonderfully observed New York novel.” The focus will be the work’s resonance for our own era’s political and social challenges.

It’s the story Gesine Cresspahl, a 34-year-old mother and German immigrant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and her 10-year-old daughter Marie. The chapter-per-day format sketches the turbulence of the times set against a disastrous Nazi German past, in the singular purview of Johnson (1934-1984).

Following the event on the 1st of November will be a series of film-series events:

  • November 2, 7pm: Anniversaries: A Film, Part I, directed by Margarethe von Trotta, with an introduction by film journalist Anne-Katrin Titze
  • November 3, 5pm: Anniversaries: A Film, Parts II to IV, directed by Margarethe von Trotta
  • November 8, 7pm:  Summer in the City, a documentary about the Upper West Side, directed by Christian Blackwood, with an introduction by Damion Searls
  • November 13, 7pm:   Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One, a 1968 experimental film written, directed, and conceived by William Greaves
  • November 15, 7pm: Trace of Stones, 1966, directed by Frank Beyer

All showings are open to the public at the Goethe-Institute at 30 Irving Place in New York City, and the installation element of the program is to feature newspaper headlines that accompany Anniversaries’ Gesine Cresspahl through her daily life. There also will be digital images from the Uwe Johnson Archive in Rostock, a map of important places in the novel, and a reading room with books by Johnson and books that inspired him.


More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and on the work of the Goethe-Institut is here.

You can review our coverage from the 2018 Frankfurter Buchmesse with free downloads of our Publishing Perspective Show Daily magazines. 

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.