Working the Berlinale



Our very own Kevin, an esteemed guide with us now for many years, plays an important annual role in the Berlinale.  We met with him in the frenetic days of the Berlinale to ask a few questions:

How many years have you been doing this?  

This is my sixth year working for Berlinale Talents – it is a program that brings emerging filmmakers from all over the world to Berlin for a summit, networking and to develop their projects in Project Labs.

How have things changed / grown?

The professional level of the filmmakers has increased – we have some of the hottest new talent in the world attending – and the quality of the programme – the filmmaking experts (Tilda Swinton, James Schamus, Ken Loach, etc.) who are invited to the summit are truly inspiring, living legends of filmmaking.

What’s your favorite part about the process?  The most challenging?

I am a member of the selection committee of Berlinale Talents. So I review roughly 4000 applications from 127 countries with 3 colleagues. We see excerpts from their films and evaluate them based on that and their filmmaking achievements and recognitions, as well as their filmographies and festival runs. Being able to see the tireless efforts of these passionate people and the stories they are telling, as well as the formal trends and film languages being pioneered, across such a diversity of world filmmaking cultures and industries, is a real pleasure, and I would even say privilege.

In addition I am the coordinator/curator of a project lab called Editing Studio. It is a programme where filmmakers apply with a rough cut of their fiction or doc film. Those selected have the opportunity to work with a world-class editor over a week in Berlin during the Berlinale in editing suites at the dffb. I love the openness, playfulness and courage of these filmmakers who leave their egos at the door, and lay their babies on the chopping block. The programme is about dramaturgy, storytelling and narrative structuring, and above all else about returning to and re-questioning the most basic premises and assumptions that each film/story is built upon. I leave the week every year having learned so much and feeling high.

What are your recommendations as must-sees this year?  Any sleepers?

Not sure because I have not yet had time to read all the press releases that have been coming out since last week! All the sections have kept their cards to their chests so far.  Press screenings have just started and I hope next week to start asking my colleagues in the other sections for their pics. Tune into local media and tips (ex-Berliner for english language, siegessäule for queer cinema screened in panorama, and Zitty and Tip are good too for festival round-up)

One tip: we are showing the world-premiere of the uncensored 5-hour directors-cut of Lars von Trier’s much-hyped Nymphomania!

Any hidden tips on how to get access or tickets?

Definitely check out the online programme on the berlinale website. It is smart to have a read through and book tickets online. They sell out fast! And you don’t want to have to queue in the massive arkaden ticket mayhem.

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