Since 2000, the FIRST STEPS Awards are presented annually to the best graduation films from German, Austrian and Swiss film schools. Seven talented newcomers are rewarded with prize money totalling Euro 92,000 by the event's initiators - a unique joint venture of German film, TV and industry representatives.
By providing emerging filmmakers with a special forum, the initiative highlights the creative potential of young filmmakers and substantially supports their first steps into the market.
Prizes are awarded to a short film, a feature film up to 60 minutes, a full length feature film, a documentary, a commercial, a young producer and a young cinematographer. Three juries nominate up to five films in each category. Members of the juries are well-known media professionals, like actors, directors, producers and journalists.
All nominated filmmakers are invited to the award ceremony taking place annually in early autumn in the "Berlinale Palast" in Berlin, where the winners are announced. The evening's aim is to foster networking between already established and new filmmakers. Since its inception, the award has won a high reputation among professionals, film schools, politicians and media representatives.
Apart from the presentation of the awards and the nominated films themselves, FIRST STEPS runs the internet database www.firststeps.de including a complete catalogue, kept up to date, of all graduation films and their makers since 1999. The website has proven to be a useful tool for young filmmakers and experienced professionals alike.
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