Spotlight Award: Tom Schilling


Tom Schilling: © Stefan Klüter
Tom Schilling: © Stefan Klüter

Spotlight Award in Acting

We are immensely proud to celebrate the on-going career achievement of Berliner Tom Schilling by honoring him with the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival’s Spotlight Award in Acting, and screening two of his most recent sensational works: the block- buster thriller Who Am I - No System is Safe on Opening Night and the 6-time German Film Award winner, A Coffee in Berlin (Oh Boy).

Despite his boyish appearance, he has long been a favorite of German directors, though international audiences are just now warming to his understated charm and talent. Following the phenomenal global success of the WWII mini-series Generation Warin 2013 (over seven million nightly viewers and sold to over 80 countries) and Oh Boy’s stateside art-house triumph, he’s on the verge of becoming German cinema’s best-kept secret. Schilling made his television debut in 1999 as Tucky in Ben Verbong’s crime show Kinder der Gewalt, before making his big screen debut in Friedemann Fromm's thriller Paradise Mall. A year later, he played a supporting role in the comedy Exit to Heaven. His big break came with Hans- Christian Schmid’s successful literary adaptation of Crazy, for which, alongside Robert Stadlober, he was awarded Best Newcomer at the 2001 Bavarian Film Awards.

In 2002, Schilling played the lead in Michael Gutmann’s coming-of-age film Heart in the Head. In 2003 he appeared in Benjamin Quabeck’s homage to the be- ginnings of the German New Wave, Play it Loud, and a year later in Dennis Gansel’s Before the Fall (Napola). He can also be found In Oskar Roehler’s two films, Agnes and His Brothers (2004) and Atomised (2006), in anarchic Berlin-based Black Sheep (2007), his third collaboration with Robert Stadlober, in Uli Edel’s The Baader Meinhof Complex, and alongside Götz George in Mein Kampf.

This year Schilling appeared alongside Daniel Brühl in Simon Curtis’ Woman in Gold (2015). For 2016, his international credits already include Saul Dibb’s critically anticipated ensemble war drama Suite Française, in which he appears with stars Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts.

Even with this added exposure, it is undoubt- edly Schilling’s modesty and dedication that will continue to build his reputation into the future: “You try to stand in front of the camera and be as authentic as possible, no matter what language you’re speaking.”

Tom Schilling's films at the 2016 Berlin & Beyond:

The Spotlight Award inaugurated in 2015, with German actor Ronald Zehrfeld as the first honoree.


    © Stefan Klüter
    © Stefan Klüter

    Spotlight Award in Acting

    We are proud to celebrate the ongoing career achievements of the talented Ronald Zehrfeld. On this special occasion of his visit to our festival, we will honor him with the first-ever Berlin & Beyond Film Festival Spotlight Award in Acting and screen three of his latest films, Inbetween Worlds, The Kings Surrender and Phoenix. The Spotlight Award will be presented on Friday, January 30, 2015, at the Northern California Premiere of Inbetween Worlds, at San Francisco's legendary Castro Theatre.

    Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1977, Ronald Zehrfeld graduated from the prestigious Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art. It was while he was studying there that he was discovered by one of the great names in theatre, Peter Zadek. He subsequently took on leading roles in German theatre. Following his studies he first worked exclusively in theatre, principally with Zadek at the Berliner Ensemble, the St. Pauli Theater in Hamburg and the Deutsches Theater Berlin.

    In 2006, he made his film debut in Dominik Graf’s East German coming-of-age tale, The Red Cockatoo. In 2009 he appeared on the big screen again in the role of German folk hero Klaus Störtebeker in Sven Taddicken’s 15th-century, pirate adventure film, 12 Paces Without A Head. In 2010 he worked with Dominik Graf for a second time, in the acclaimed and award-winning TV series Im Angesicht des Verbrechens (In the Face of Crime).

    He appeared in Christian Schwochow’s Cracks In The Shell (2011), Toke Constantin Hebbeln’s Shores Of Hope (2011) as well as giving an impressive performance alongside Nina Hoss as the male lead in Christian Petzold’s Barbara (2012), set in 1980s East Germany. Barbara premiered in competition at the Berlinale in 2012 and in the same year Ronald Zehrfeld was nominated for Best Actor at the German Film Awards, and the film became Germany's Oscar entry. All three films have screened at past editions of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival.

    In 2013 he was in the controversial tragi-comedy Finsterworld, directed by Frauke Finsterwalder. 2014 brought two sensational reunions. First, in Dominik Graf's historical, ménage à trois drama Beloved Sisters, which premiered in the 2014 Berlinale Competition section and was selected as Germany's Oscar entry. Then, the collaboration with director Christian Petzold and Petzold's long-time muse, the actress Nina Hoss, in the spellbinding postwar drama Phoenix, that garnered astounding acclaim from the world press at its Toronto world premiere.

    2014 has truly been a busy year for the versatile actor. He played the leading role as a German soldier in Afghanistan, in Feo Aladag's Inbetween Worlds, which premiered in the main competition of the Berlinale. In the summer, Filmfest München premiered Philipp Leinemann's The Kings Surrender, with Zehrfeld as a member of a special police force, caught between corruption and friendships.

    In 2015, he can be seen in the drama Die Heimatlosen/Fritz Bauer, directed by Lars Kraume.

    Editorial Source: The Match Factory

    Ronald Zehrfeld can be seen in these 2015 Berlin & Beyond Film Festival selections: