Category Archives: #Berlinale

Berlinale Spotlight: Films Travel to Asia

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Just when you think it can’t get any better, they go and do something like this!

The Berlinale has had a global presence with specially curated film programs for many years now. The Berlinale Spotlight extends the festival and makes its activities visible throughout the year.

 

Berlinale-Berlinale Spotlight gives us the opportunity to make our work concrete and tangible to audiences even beyond the festival. The films on the screen exemplify what makes the Berlinale sections so distinctive and the Berlinale unique in its complexity,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.

 

The Berlinale’s long-standing and successful collaboration with the Goethe Institutes in Kolkata and Hong Kong will continue in the autumn and winter of 2017. A total of six short film programmes are to be presented with works from the Berlinale Shorts, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino and Panorama sections, as well as the full-length fiction film Ein Weg (Paths) by Chris Miera (Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017). The short film programmes have been put together by Maike Mia Höhne, curator of the Berlinale Shorts section.

 

2015_0004_img_175xvar“The films reflect the great diversity of the short format: bold, playful, political, narrative. The short film is an essential sector of the film industry, but also of storytelling and culture. In its capacity as such, it will travel around the world,” says Maike Mia Höhne.

 

The Berlinale Spotlight programmes in East Asia will be shown at the Cine Moko in Hong Kong on October 18 and 25, 2017; at the Cinematheque Passion in Macau on October 15 and 20, 2017; at the Goethe-Institut in Shanghai, China on October 18 and 20, 2017; and at the Goethe-Institut Beijing, China on November 18 and 19, 2017.

 

Berlinale Spotlight has been invited to India for the Kalpanirjhar International Short Fiction Film Festival from December 1 to 5, 2017; DIALOGUES: Calcutta International LGBT Film & Video Festival from November 23 to 26, 2017; and the TENT Little Cinema International Festival in December 2017. All festival screenings will be held at the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata.

 

Berlinale Spotlight films:

 

Altas Cidades de Ossadas (High Cities of Bone), directed by: João Salaviza (Portugal), 19 min.

Avant l’envol (Before the Flight), directed by: Laurence Bonvin (Switzerland), 20 min.

Call of Cuteness, directed by: Brenda Lien (Germany), 4 min.
Centauro (Centaur), directed by: Nicolás Suárez (Argentina), 14 min. – Honourable Mention 2017

Cidade Pequena (Small Town), directed by: Diogo Costa Amarante (Portugal), 19 min. – Golden Bear for Best Short Film 2017

Ensueño en la Pradera (Reverie in the Meadow), directed by: Esteban Arrangoiz Julien (Mexico), 17 min. – Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) 2017

Estás vendo coisas (You are seeing things), directed by: Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca (Brazil), 18 min.

Everything, directed by: David OReilly (USA / Ireland), 11 min.

Final Stage, directed by: Nicolaas Schmidt (Germany), 27 min. – Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017

Fuera de Temporada (Out of Season), directed by: Sabrina Campos (Argentina), 23 min.

Hiwa, directed by: Jacqueline Lentzou (Greece), 11 min.

keep that dream burning, directed by: Rainer Kohlberger (Austria/ Germany), 8 min.

Kometen (The Comet), directed by: Victor Lindgren (Sweden), 11 min.

La prima sueca (Swedish Cousin), directed by: Inés María Barrionuevo, Agustina San Martín (Argentina), 20 min. – Generation 2017

Le film de l’été (The Summer Movie), directed by: Emmanuel Marre (France / Belgium), 30 min.

Martin Pleure (Martin Cries), directed by: Jonathan Vinel (France), 16 min.

Min Homosyster (My Gay Sister), directed by: Lia Hietala (Sweden / Norway), 15 min. – Generation 2017, TEDDY Award 2017

Oh Brother Octopus, directed by: Florian Kunert (Germany), 27 min.

Os Humores Artificiais (The Artificial Humors), directed by: Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal), 30 min. – Berlin Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards 2017

Street of Death, directed by: Karam Ghossein (Lebanon / Germany), 22 min. – Audi Short Film Award 2017

The Boy from H2, directed by: Helen Yanovsky (Israel / Palestine), 21 min.

The Crying Conch, directed by: Vincent Toi (Canada), 20 min.

The Rabbit Hunt, directed by: Patrick Bresnan (USA / Hungary 2017), 12 min.

Vênus – Filó a fadinha lésbica (Filly the Lesbian Little Fairy), directed by: Sávio Leite (Brazil), 6 min. – Panorama 2017

 

As well as the full-length fiction film:

Ein Weg (Paths), directed by: Chris Miera (Germany), 107 min. – Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017

 

Berlinale_Proud

(Source: Press release from Berlinale Press Office)

 

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Summer Berlinale at the Radio Eins Open-Air Cinema in Friedrichshain

Posted by Larry Gleeson

From July 20 to 23, 2017, film fans will have another opportunity to see audience favorites and winning films from the Berlinale Competition, Panorama, Forum and Generation sections: under the stars and before their German cinema releases.

Thursday, July 20, 9.30 pm
On Body and Soul, director: Ildikó Enyedi, Hungary 2017, 116 min, Hungarian with German subtitles, Competition (Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film).
Director Ildikó Enyedi will be present, the film will be introduced by Anke Leweke and Knut Elstermann.
More about the film: On Body and Soul

Friday, July 21, 9.30 pm
God’s Own Country, director: Francis Lee, UK 2017, 104 min, English with German subtitles, Panorama.
Presented by Michael Stütz, Programme Manager of Panorama.
More about the film: God’s Own Country

Saturday, July 22, 9.30 pm
Casting, director: Nicolas Wackerbarth, Germany 2017, 91 min, German, Forum.
Director Nicolas Wackerbarth will be present, the film will be presented by Christoph Terhechte, Section Head of Forum.
More about the film: Casting

Sunday, July 23, 9.30 pm
Weirdos, director: Bruce McDonald, Canada 2016, 84 min, English original version, Generation.
Presented by Maryanne Redpath, Section Head of Generation.

Further information at: www.freiluftkino-berlin.de

Logo-Berlinale-Facebook

(Source: Berlinale press office)

 

2017 Berlin Film Festival Retrospective

Posted by Larry Gleeson

I was proud to be an American abroad.


https://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2017/06_streaming_2017/Videos.html#item=45501

Diego Luna: I’m here to investigate how to tear down walls. Apparently there are many experts here. And when I bring that information back to Mexico…
Maggie Gyllenhaal: And to America.

 

Of course we must begin with the Wall. Fifty-six years after Berlin was split into two by a wall, a Mexican actor and director and a US actor – both members of the International Jury – sat together at the first Press Conference of the 2017 festival and drew inspiration from a peaceful revolution to learn how barriers and borders can be overcome. And not in the metaphorical sense.

On January 20, 2017, a shocking event played out in Washington D.C., one which appeared to many observers to be a nightmare from which they could no longer awake: Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America. And one of his election promises was the vow to build a wall between “his” country and Mexico to put an irrevocable halt to the flow of migrants from south to north. In the previous year, the billionaire had waged his election campaign against his opponent Hillary Clinton chiefly with half-truths, falsehoods and audacious lies, causing contemporary politics to be labelled ”post-factual”. The traditionally paranoid tendencies in American politics received an unprecedented boost. Thirty years after Reagan’s “Tear down this wall”, the global political situation scaled new heights of unreality to shocking effect. Journalists were excluded as the enemy whenever the new strong man in the White House deigned to face inconvenient questions.

And although Festival Director Dieter Kosslick already made it clear at the 67th Berlinale’s Program Press Conference that Trump should be deliberately omitted because the billionaire chiefly had the media circus surrounding him to thank for his success, it is still Trump we must begin with to make clear the “political” atmosphere in which the 2017 program unfolded.

Three of the 2017 Competition films: Viceroy’s HouseFélicitéEl Bar

The End of Utopias

The great ideologies had already been done for, communism and capitalism had both been discovered to be dead-ends. What remained was a reactionary (ultra) nationalism with powerful leading characters who created a lot of noise in the media: Trump in the US, Putin in Russia, Erdogan in Turkey, the list goes on. Society’s unifying themes had unravelled and vested interests governed and dominated – and the program of the 67th Berlinale reacted accordingly. “A spectre is haunting us – and not just in Europe. We have confusion following the collapse of the great utopian dreams and disenchantment with globalization. […] Rarely has the Berlinale program more forcefully captured the current political situation in images”, wrote Dieter Kosslick in his foreword to the program. A way out of this confusion was offered by a look back and an analysis of the historical developments which led to this current impasse.

In the Competition with Viceroy’s House, Gurinder Chadha traced the colonialism which was the original driving force behind both capitalism and globalization. This period piece is set in 1947, the year in which the territory of British India was arbitrarily partitioned into India and Pakistan and the conflicts which burden both countries to this day were irrevocably set in place. A present-day perspective on the ravages of colonialism was presented by Alain Gomis’ Félicité, in which the director follows his titular heroine on her daily struggle for survival in Kinshasa. The catastrophic consequences of the colonial past may not be present as an explicit indictment in this film but they nevertheless resonate in every frame. In his chamber piece El Bar (The Bar), Álex de la Iglesia delivered an experimental set-up that reflects the growing fear in Europe of falling victim to a random and sudden act of violence: a customer of a Madrid bar is shot dead upon exiting, without cause or provocation – a scenario which, due to the many random acts of violence that haunted the “peaceful” European homeland in 2016, captures with great precision the feelings of insecurity these acts left behind. Particularly in Berlin, the memory of December 19, 2016, when a perpetrator deliberately crashed an articulated lorry into the Christmas Market on Breitscheidplatz, was still raw.

Director Ceylan Özgün Özçelik on Kaygı

Interventions

https://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2017/01_jahresblatt_2017/01_jahresblatt_7.html

The spirit of a post-utopian era and its excesses was not only tangible in the Competition but throughout the festival. Erdogan’s “purging” of the political, civilian and military apparatus found its reaction in the Panorama film Kaygı(Inflame), in which director Ceylan Özgün Özçelik tells the story of a Turkish journalist who is censored and suppressed and finally descends into paranoia. A highly explosive subject matter – for even during the Festival, on February 14, the German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel was arrested in Turkey. The power-crazed fantasies of another illustrious politician, Russian president Vladimir Putin, were considered in the Berlinale Special with The Trial – The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov by Askold Kurov which investigates the show trial of the Ukrainian film director and Maidan-activist who protested against the internationally unacceptable annexation of Crimea by Russia. Romanian filmmakers deployed placards on the Red Carpet to draw attention to the increasingly draconian censorship and the escalating corruption in their homeland. As he explained in an interview with Variety, Dieter Kosslick was relaxed about this appropriation: “‘Everyone has been using our red carpet as a kind of Hyde Park Corner, and I’m happy with this,’ he said, referring to the area in London where speakers share their political views with the crowd. ‘We want to be on the right side of the world,’ he said” (Leo Barraclough, February 18, 2017).

Such interventions were numerous and always had their finger on the pulse of the age. For example, the 2017 edition of the NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema special presentation made its focal point the Arctic, a place which, according to climate researchers, will play a decisive role over the coming decades in the survival of humanity and the planet (it seems almost superfluous to mention President Trump’s promise to his supporters that, following his election, he would rescind all the hard-fought climate protection goals adopted by his predecessor Barack Obama).

 

The awarding of the first Glashütte Original Documentary Award: Producer Palmyre Badinier, protagonist Wadee Hanani and director Raed Andoni

A New Award

In a highly-politicised region, for decades the political football of increasingly opaque claims to power and sensitivities, Raed Adoni created his film Istiyad Ashbah (Ghost Hunting) which screened in the Panorama. In Ramallah the director enabled the Palestinian ex-inmates of an Israeli interrogation centre to replay their experiences there and, in doing so, traced their trauma and his own life story. The fictional framework of this re-enactment brings the very real wounds of the past to the surface. Adoni was recognised for his work with the Glashütte Original Documentary Award – the inauguration of the first prize in the history of the Berlinale to be explicitly devoted to the documentary form.

Aesthetics and the Political

At the beginning of the festival, Dutch director and President of the International Jury Paul Verhoeven declared he would not reward any film simply for having a political content. Cinematic art, the aesthetics, would be the deciding factor. In doing so he was merely expressing what has long been a programming principle for the Berlinale. A textbook example of this was delivered by Aki Kaurismäki in the Competition. InToivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope), the director tells of an encounter between a Syrian refugee and a Finnish travelling salesman. The rigorously composed, stoical shots stage the film’s (political) stance in Kaurismäki’s very own humorously melancholic style. We desperately need immigration, said the director at the film’s Press Conference, “because our blood is getting thick”.

The nexus of aesthetics and the political demanded by Verhoeven extended throughout the programme. In the ForumEl mar la mar focused on the very stretch of the Sonoran Desert which migrants have to cross in their desperate journeys north – the place where Trump will lay the foundations for his wall. Filmmakers Joshua Bonnetta and J P Sniadecki eschew the post-factual imperative to place emotionality above actuality and instead embark upon an archaeological journey and bear witness to the human dramas in the traces left behind in the landscape by the passing travellers. Avoiding an explicit political message, the film instead makes tangible the remorselessness of the landscape, of nature.

The search for archaeological traces was one of the strongest programming strands in the 67th Berlinale, a theme which permeated all the sections. In the Competition and sections alike an entire panoply of films was devoted to the past and the historical process. The current sorry state of “reality” did not happen overnight: there were signs, developments and early events, powers that developed unseen which have now risen to the surface. Many films took a step back and sought to find in yesterday the reasons for today.

No Intenso AgoraCasting JonBenet

An overview of the cinematographic eye expanded across the sections. And, as in previous years, the richness of the documentary form was compelling: No Intenso Agora (In the Intense Now) by João Moreira Salles in the Panorama traced the vibrancy of the Prague Spring as far as the revolutionary force of Paris in May 1968. A tightly knit film essay that permitted no causality and sometimes took an eccentric view of the genealogy of events. In his almost five-hour long Combat au bout de la nuit(Fighting Through the Night), Sylvain L’Espérance took Greece as the example for his exploration of the ongoing decline of the idea of Europe, an idea which suffered a further blow with the UK Brexit vote in the summer of 2016. With Casting JonBenet, Kitty Green put the process of uncovering the truth itself in the spotlight. Rather than furnishing the story of the still-unsolved murder of the six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey with further truths, she invited the people who lived in the area at the time of the murder to a casting session and observed the mechanics by which the truths about an event are first outlined and constructed. The documentaries in the Forum were notable for their long-term observations, taking in the rhythms of their subjects rather than adding redundant dramatisation to these lives. This was exemplified by Aus einem Jahr der Nichtereignisse (From a Year of Non-Events) by Carolin Renninger and René Frölke, which portrayed the life of a north German farmer.

 

Forum Expanded panel day on the archive in the silent green Kulturquartier.

History and stories were told whilst constantly ensuring the exposure of the methods of production and reflection upon them. Archive material often played a dominant role. In the Competition, Andres Veiel (re)constructed the work of Joseph Beuys almost exclusively from contemporaneous material (Beuys); the Forum Expanded devoted an entire day of panel discussions to the archive.

The Retrospective, in contrast, provided a change of perspective and, with its topic of Science Fiction film, dedicated itself to the future without losing sight of the present in the process: “We understand that, although Science Fiction tells a story set in the future, it actually uses this future to address questions and situations from the present”, explained section head Rainer Rother.

The Fictionality of Reality and the Reality of Fictions

In the war of images the borders between reality and fiction had become more porous than ever before. Politicians like Trump, Erdogan and Putin simply declared their assertions as reality and imposed their sovereignty of interpretation via all available media. The Berlinale program provided an important counterpoint to these fatal developments: “Nowhere else, neither in Cannes nor Venice, is the appetite for reality-based and reality-seeking images as great as here. For images that cleave less to the daily politics than to targeting the heart of the now, in slow films for frantic times” (Christiane Peitz, Der Tagesspiegel, February 20, 2017). The title of the 2017 Forum Expanded was also emblematic of this: “The Stars Down to Earth”. The works gave themselves to “the search for possibilities of an artistic way of dealing with a reality that is increasingly difficult to grasp”. The view is directed back down to earth, to the here and now and the condition of perceivable realities. Yet this was not about nostalgia for a “lost” factual era but instead the unnerving feeling that “reality”, which has always been in interplay with fiction, was being suffocated under the weight of false assertions.

Maike Mia Höhne took the same line with her selection for the 2017 Berlinale Shorts which, with its title of “Reframing the Image”, similarly interrogated the fundamentals of what we see and perceive. The relationship between “medial” and “factual” reality, between fiction and reality, is obviously not alien to the cinema. It lies at the heart of the medium itself, based as it is upon changing the actuality without losing it and creating stories out of the material of the visible world. Recognition, interpretation and, in the worst cases, lying – these are the techniques and questions that constitute film.

A lot of irony: the Press Conference on Toivon tuolla puolen

Poetry and Irony in the Competition

https://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2017/01_jahresblatt_2017/01_jahresblatt_7.html

Against this backdrop it is perhaps unsurprising that, on February 18, 2017, the Golden Bear was presented to a film which engaged intensively with the modulations and relationship between dream and reality – traditionally fertile ground for both film practice and theory. Testről és lélekről (On Body and Soul) by Ildikó Enyedi ostensibly tells a tender love story which contrasts the graceful ease of a dream with the – literally – bloody reality of a Hungarian slaughterhouse. Testről és lélekről was a worthy winner, lauded by critics and audiences alike. As Anke Westphal wrote in the Berliner Zeitung: “How these two people, both marked with tragedy by fate, gradually come closer together, at first in their nightly dreams when they meet as deer in a wintery forest, and then in their apparent real lives, counts among the most beautiful, tender and truthful experiences that cinema can create” (February 20, 2017). Poetry and humour dominated the 67th Berlinale Competition. And while Testről és lélekről excelled at poetry, doyen Aki Kaurismäki, who won the Silver Bear for Best Director with Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope), provided the requisite irony. And not just with his film: asked at the Press Conference for his opinion about the danger of the Islamisation of Europe, he first made the journalist repeat her question three times and then, with the deepest of deadpan, replied that no, he had no fears about the Icelandisation of Europe – even though that country sensationally made it as far as the quarter finals before being eliminated from the 2016 European Football Championship.

Happy winners: Festival Director Dieter Kosslick with Kim Minhee, Ildikó Enyedi and Jury President Paul Verhoeven.

The International Jury continued the trend of previous years by chiefly presenting awards to films not at the centre of global attention. Alain Gomis won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize with Félicité, a co-production between France, Senegal, Belgium, Germany and Lebanon. Polish director Agnieszka Holland won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for Pokot (Spoor). South Korean Kim Minhee took home the Silver Bear for Best Actress for her role in Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone) by Hong Sangsoo. The Chilean film Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) by Sébastian Lelio won the award for Best Screenplay and Romanian editor Dana Bunescu (Ana, mon amour by Călin Peter Netzer) was visibly overcome as she was presented with the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution. This courage to give centre stage to the seemingly marginal was also honoured by the critics: “The Competition [assembled] art-house works, offering the kind of platform to small, powerful films which is unavailable to them during the rest of the year’s blockbuster-dominated film glut” (Christiane Peitz, Der Tagesspiegel, February 20, 2017).

 

Dieter Kosslick at the Award Ceremony of the Independent Juries

Diversity and Hope

The 2017 program was controversial and never played it safe. At times its immense diversity seemed to leave critics overwhelmed. Some commentators missed a clear unifying theme in the program. That this could be down to the fact that, as Andreas Busche wrote, the world itself had lost its unifying theme, was only infrequently acknowledged: “The eschewal of an official programming agenda benefits the films which, like all good art, must be measured against their own standards. And perhaps the social discourses accruing from the invisible connections between individual films are much more complex than a political slogan could ever be” (Der Tagesspiegel, February 8, 2017).

For years the Cold War and the balance of power between the USSR and the USA was the organizing principle which provided the world with clear meaning and an overriding narrative. The Berlin Wall became the ultimate symbol of this dichotomy. Where else but in Berlin should a Festival Director have hope in spite of the current tense situation? Thus Dieter Kosslick’s exhortation at the end of his speech at the prize-giving ceremony of the Independent Juries: “Don’t lose your courage, we will win.”

 

(Source: berlinale.de)

Berlinale Mourns the Loss of Franz Stadler

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Renowned cinema owner and curator Franz Stadler died on Sunday after a long illness.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 2.36.00 PM

For almost forty years Franz and Rosemarie Stadler ran the filmkunst 66, a multi-prize-winning arthouse cinema in Berlin Charlottenburg. In 1971 Franz Stadler took over the two-screen cinema in the Bleibtreustraße and before long the sophisticated program he put together established it as one of the most important institutions for independent cinema in Berlin. Stadler also initiated a number of film festivals and was awarded Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit for his services to cinema. In 2011, the Berlin International Film Festival honored Franz and Rosemarie Stadler with the Berlinale Camera.

*Featured Photo Credit: Jan Windszus @Berlinale 2010

(Source: http://www.berlinale.de)

HollywoodGlee sits down with the critically acclaimed Dream Boat director, Tristan Ferland Milewski


Tristan Ferland Milewski has directed numerous documentary portraits about top pop acts like Madonna, Britney Spears and Marilyn Manson among others and was responsible for the script and direction of the documentary series MAKE LOVE – ONE CAN LEARN HOW TO MAKE LOVE (nominated for the German Television Prize 2017, a gebrueder beetz production). DREAM BOAT (also by gebrueder beetz filmproduktion) is his first feature-length documentary for theatrical release.

 

dreamboat_tristanWhat made you want to take a documentary approach to this story of a party cruise?

A cruise ship and 3000 men from 89 nations. My producer, Christian Beetz, and myself were in love with this idea from the start.

The boat is like a microcosm with its own codes, yet, in many ways, it mirrors society on a much grander scale. This is why, in the end, the questions and topics that the film addresses are not only relevant for gay men, but also for each and everyone one of us.

Ultimately, the film is a quest about longing to live and love as you are.

 

This film centers around a core group of men and you keep coming back to them. What was it that kept bringing you back to them as both protagonists and subject? What drew you to these particular protagonists?

I felt that for each of my protagonists this trip had great emotional significance.

For Dipankar from India, for example, it was his first time to be in an environment with only gay men. He was almost in a state of culture shock. Yet, it was an important step in his life towards being proud of who he is. After the film he decided to come out at his workplace and to his family and was fully accepted.

 

How did you find your protagonists for Dream Boat, as they all have such varied and interesting stories?

I went on this cruise one year before, where we already did some filming and where I already met two of my protagonists. There is also a closed facebook group where all future passengers and regular passengers can meet. Here, I got in contact with many guys and was able to tell everyone more about the ideas behind the film.

Of course, on this boat there are guests from oppressive countries or maybe those who have not outed themselves in their home countries, so making this film carried a large responsibility for me. It was important to be clear with my efforts and approachable all the time –  before, during and even after the actual shooting of film. In other words, during the entire process.
Additionally, I met all my protagonists before the trip, most of them in their home countries, to get to know them and their stories better and develop a true base of trust.

 

This film explores some deep emotions, specifically the struggle with gay men who go on cruises looking for love and relationship. What is it about cruise ships and the gay community that inspired you to tell these stories?

Naturally, in a city like Berlin, I can live quite freely as a gay man. But if you look at our world as it is, there’s still a lot of discrimination and threatening situations going on for gays and it’s getting worse. So as long as these repressive situations still exist, “islands” like this boat also need to exist so people can be who they are and be free.

What is also interesting is that the limit of time on the boat brings with it a lot of pressure and expectations.

Everything has to happen in this short time period, before you get kicked out into reality again. Time and space become abstract; we shot almost 24h a day. Everything is condensed so that, in the end, you are confronted with the real questions of life.

The film shows beautiful love stories, but also a certain loneliness which brings us to ask fundamental questions about our western civilization. In these times of selfies and self-optimization, we present ourselves on the market as a commodity in our search for love or acceptance. Yet, sometimes when we present this mere surface, we often receive emptiness in return.

 

This is a powerful film and you have been lucky enough to screen your work at the Berlin international film festival. How have you been able to master navigating the film festival world? Do you have any advice for other filmmakers who are having their first festival experiences?

Film is team work, therefore, it is a wonderful and very special moment to enjoy and celebrate together, as you go through such a deep journey. When you’re passionate about something, then other people become passionate about it too and this hopefully transfers to the audience. For me, it was such a big gift that the film was so well-received by a very mixed audience.

And most importantly by the real stars of the Dream Boat. Most of the protagonists were able to join the world premiere in Berlin. They are very happy with the film. We had really emotional screenings at the festival, full of love, tears and laughing.

 

http://www.critic.de/typo3conf/ext/critic_de/pi1/flash/player.swf

Berlinale FILM CAPSULE: Colo (Villaverde, 2017): Portugal

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Colo, a new film by Alce Films from Writer/Director Teresa Villaverde was screened at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in Competition. The film utilized an unorthodox approach. After the opening scene of over-the-sholuder close-ups and Hollywood style medium close-ups on reverse angles, deep focus long-shots were utilized. Often times the frame pulled out rather than pushing in – a more typical filmmaking technique.

The narrative focuses on a family in the midst of economic crisis. The father, played by João Pedro Vaz, has lost. not only his job, but his strength and fortitude to continue looking for work. Instead, he escapes to the apartment dwelling rooftop to look wistfully upon the horizon. The mother, played by Beatriz Batarda, works two jobs with little time for her daughter or husband. It’s not a lack of caring. Rather, it’s a lack of life force energy. Alice Albergaria Borges portrays the daughter. She’s of high school age and is experiencing all the typical changes and social issues inherent within. Only, her issues seem magnified. Until the camera pulls out revealing stunning, picturesque mise-en-scene.

Consequently, the emotionality of the film revealed little intimacy while the overall feeling was one of benevolence. Low-key lighting and shadows added to the film’s mystique. I can’t say this was one of my favorite films. I imagine it was considered for the Silver Bear for New Perspectives in filmmaking.

Nevertheless, the film showcased the natural beauty of the Romanian countryside and allowed for character development without delving deeply into the emotional states via camera framing.

Unfortunately, by the film’s end the benevolent feeling I had felt throughout the film was gone and the film seemingly was wanting a redo. Not recommended at this time. However, with minor tweaks, I predict the film will be visible on this year’s festival circuit and will eventually have a successful theatrical run. It may be arthouse. It may be grindhouse. Or it may be avant-garde. Stay tuned for more. Until then, I’ll see you at the cineam!

BERLINALE 2017 COMES TO A SPLENDID CLOSE

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival culminated with the presentation of the awards on Saturday, February 18. (See list of prize winner)

Over eleven days, the Berlinale drew movie fans and the international film industry to cinemas and a large variety of events. Its reputation as the world’s biggest public festival was reconfirmed: a total of 334,471 tickets were sold. And with more than 7,000 visitors, the program of the Berlinale Open House in the Audi Berlinale Lounge – with its Berlinale Lounge Nights and a variety of other events – was a crowd-puller.

Not only the Berlinale but also the European Film Market (EFM) can look back at a successful edition. With 9,550 trade professionals from 108 countries at 192 stands, the EFM once again recorded a significant increase in participants this year. It was gratifying to observe the huge crowds at many different new EFM initiatives. The “Berlinale Africa Hub”, which debuted this year, achieved its goal of providing African film-making with an exceptionally attractive platform. Events within the framework of the “EFM Horizon presented by Audi” initiative, which focussed on the film industry of the future, were very popular as well.

In its third round, the expanded “Drama Series Days” again registered a rise in attendance. And with Mexico, the very first “Country in Focus” at the EFM also proved a resounding success.

Once more, the Berlinale’s activities for refugees were received with great enthusiasm: the Berlin International Film Festival had urged visitors to make donations for the traumatized children and adolescents at Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN. With the 17,574 euro (on Feb 20, 2017) collected, the center will be able to provide its young patients with additional social and psychological support, as well as recreational activities.

About 1,400 people participated in a “movie mentoring” project in which volunteers from Berlin’s non-profit refugee aid organizations accompanied refugees to Berlinale screenings.

The 68th Berlin International Film Festival will be held from February 15 to 25, 2018.

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(Source: Berlinale Press office)