DFFB celebrates five nominations for the First Steps Awards

The 20th First First Steps Awards will be presented on September 9, 2019, and the DFFB is delighted to have five nominations for these coveted awards:

Director Susanne Heinrich’s feature film DAS MELANCHOLISCHE MÄDCHEN has been nominated for the best feature-length film, which comes with a €25,000 prize.

Director Lothar Herzog’s feature film 1986 has also been nominated in the same category.

Cinematographer Agnesh Pakozdi is nominated for the MICHAEL BALLHAUS PRIZE, which comes with a €10,000 prize, for her work on DAS MELANCHOLISCHE MÄDCHEN.

Producer Romana Janik is nominated for the NO FEAR AWARD, which comes with a €10,000 prize, for her work on the film 1986.

And finally, Jacob Hauptmann’s screenplay ZEIT DER MONSTER is nominated for the FIRST STEPS SCREENPLAY PRIZE, which comes with a €10,000 prize.


About the films/screenplay


A girl roams through the city looking for a place to sleep. Along the way she meets young mothers who celebrate motherhood religiously, goes home with an abstinent existentialist for whom sex is “just another market”, and waits for the end of capitalism in a drag bar. Her attempt to write a book doesn’t make it beyond the first sentence of the second chapter, and she finds no space between art galleries, yoga studios, and the beds of strangers. Instead of trying to fit in, she starts perceiving her depression as a political issue. Through 15 of the girl’s humorous encounters, DAS MELANCHOLISCHE MÄDCHEN, explores our post-modern society between precarity and self-marketing, serial monogamy and neo-spirituality, disillusionment and the pressure to be happy. Susanne Heinrich’s debut film brings together pop and theory, feminism and humour, and gives you tons of quotes you’ll want to see on advertising billboards in neon letters.



Elena is a student in Minsk, Belarus. She has a passionate but increasingly difficult relationship with her boyfriend Victor. When her father is suddenly arrested, she has to continue his illegal businesses. In order to make deals for him, she must repeatedly drive into the ‘forbidden zone’ of Tchernobyl. She is fascinated by the zone’s deceptive beauty—but soon her life seems contaminated by a destructive force…



It’s the summer of 1914, just before the beginning of the First World War. Elsa (19), a nurse with a strict Calvinist upbringing, takes a position in a remote hospital ward in the German colony of Cameroon. While the leading physician Alexander (37), with Elsa’s help, rigorously pursues his research to create a drug against narcolepsy, his wife Lydia (28) struggles to find meaning in her life. When Elsa discovers several poisoned animals in the infirmary, the commander of the nearest police force begins to investigate the case with brutal methods. The irruption of violence causes the already fragile structure of the infirmary to collapse and brings repressed desires to the surface, which plunges Elsa’s ordered world view into chaos.

Back to Journal