Winners of the First Steps Awards were announced in Berlin on Monday evening, where the most talented young film school graduates were honoured with prizes. One unexpected winner was Tobias Haase’s controversial young Adolf Hitler film – a spoof advert for Mercedes.
Haase, a Ludwigsberg Film Academy graduate, won €10,000 for the piece, which is set in a small Austrian village and sees Hitler being run over and killed by a powerful Mercedes.
The clip has had almost three million views on YouTube and contains a disclaimer from Mercedes stating it has nothing to do with the video.
“Recognize danger before it happens,” appears on the screen at the end of the piece.
Mercedes publicly distanced itself from the film when it first began garnering attention on YouTube over the summer. Bosses made it very clear that the film was nothing to do with them, and that it was a spoof.
But the First Steps jury said on Monday night that “the creative industry needs these creativity advocates,” referring to Haase. Watching the film forces the viewer to form an opinion on something more controversial than the jury had ever had to discuss before.
Mercedes is sensitive about its role under the Nazis. It provided leading members of the Nazi party, including Hitler, with staff cars and built engines for the Luftwaffe.