Thanks to readers contribution, a seasoned producer with over two decades of international experience has informed us of malpractice and bias in the Munich Film Festival film selection process. The Berlin and Rome-based professional, whose work includes an investigative feature documentary challenging French and Saudi Arabian governments, has raised allegations about the festival’s “pre-selection” or “filtering” of submissions.
According to the producer, the Munich Film Festival advertised a prize aimed at honoring production companies that completed films “against all odds.” The producer’s documentary, which took five years to develop and faced substantial governmental resistance, seemed a perfect fit for the category.
However, the submission was reportedly never presented to the selection committee. The producer discovered that an acquaintance on the board of the German association of Documentary Filmmakers, AG Dok, was also a member of the festival’s selection committee. This information was not disclosed during the selection process, which the festival kept confidential purportedly to “avoid collusion.” The producer learned of the acquaintance’s committee role weeks later, sparking a revelation that most submissions never reached the committee.
An investigation by the producer and the acquaintance allegedly found that out of approximately 100 entries, less than 20 were actually reviewed. Backing the claims are extensive email exchanges between the producer, the acquaintance, and festival officials responsible for the award section. This revelation casts a shadow on the festival’s transparency and fairness, raising questions about the integrity of its award selection process.
Film Industry Watch did not review the email exchange but this report is in line with the many other reports of such practices in the industry, such as our report about the Sundance Film Festival not watching all submissions.