The 31st Hamburg Film Festival opened on Thursday evening with many German celebrities from film and television on the red carpet and the Jordanian, award-winning drama “Inshallah a Boy”. The ten-day festival is also the last show for long-time boss Albert Wiederspiel, who, after 21 years, is clearing the stage for his successor Malika Rabahallah.

“Truly the end of an era!” said Hamburg’s Culture Senator Carsten Brosda (SPD) at the beginning of the opening evening in the Cinemaxx cinema at Dammtor. With impressive passion and open arms for the guests, Wiederspiel turned the festival into a forum for cinema from all over the world. He offered a stage for young talents as well as established film stars.

Above all, his generosity, his political awareness and his clear stance shaped the Hamburg Film Festival. “His solidarity always goes out to all those who are persecuted in their home countries. The film festival gives them a stage and a voice and helps them to be heard,” Brosda continued. Wiederspiel has repeatedly brought world cinema with social and political relevance to Hamburg.

On Thursday he also took the opportunity to draw attention to the grievances and political tragedies in countries such as Ukraine, Armenia, Turkey and Israel.

Lots of stars on the red carpets

By October 7th, more than 130 films will be showing on the screens of the festival cinemas, including numerous world, European and German premieres.

There are also numerous winners from international film festivals to be seen again, such as the Venice winners “Poor Things” with Emma Stone, “Evil Does Not Exist” and “Paradise Is Burning” as well as the crime drama and Cannes winner “Anatomy of a Case” with Sandra Huller. The opening film, director Amjad Al Rasheed’s debut, also won an award at Cannes.

Mads Mikkelsen, Sandra Hülser, Bjarne Mädel, Heinz Strunk and the directors Wim Wenders and Dominik Graf are expected on the red carpets.

At the start of the festival on Thursday, Nina Petri, Jonas Nay, Hermine Huntbirthh, Nina Hoger, Barbara Auer and Sandra Quadflieg, among others, smiled into the cameras.