A chat session with Christine Tröstrum, the project manager of the Berlinale Talent Campus and Campus International

How did you come up with the idea of Campus International? How do you choose the cities or events? Or do they choose you?

The idea was to support locally-based international film festivals in their work with the next generation like we do it in Berlin. The focus is more regional and the Campus International initiatives are smaller in size. We extend our co-operations in regions where we can both benefit mutually – meaning we can learn a lot about the region and we can support the festivals with our long term experience with young and upcoming filmmakers. Previously, there had already been collaboration between the Berlinale and the Sarajevo Film Festival. We liked the festival and their investment in the region a lot.

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This year, the Sarajevo Talent Campus has the theme “our time, my point of view”. Why do you think it is important to emphasize the personal touch right now?

For us it is very important to know the people we are working with. The film business is a people’s business. People need to know where you stand. And it is always important for us to support the next generation in their individual ways to find their own language of filmmaking.

What kind of side events or possibilities do you offer for filmmakers if they get into the Talent Campus?

The Talent Campus in Sarajevo lasts 7 days. We have selected around 60-70 young filmmakers (directors, actors, producers and scriptwriters) and we are inviting 10 young German producers with the support of the Robert Bosch foundation. In those 7 days, our colleagues in Sarajevo will offer lectures, workshops, excursions to CineLink, presentations for new projects (Pack&Pitch), and meetings between the German producers and the participants at the Talent Campus. For example, the workshop for actors with Leon Lučev is one of my favourite events every year.

Do you offer them a chance to work and stay in the business after the Campus?

Yes, the initiative of the Sarajevo City of Film project is a good example for this sustainability – I don’t like this wording, but it is exactly what we want – to bring the right people together and to give them a chance after the actual event to work together on a very concrete project.

Talking about the Berlinale Talent Campus: next year you will celebrate its 10th anniversary. How do you prepare for that? Will it be different?

The 10th anniversary of the Berlinale Talent Campus marks an essential step in the history of our festival. Since the beginning of the Campus we have strongly believed in the idea of an international summit for upcoming filmmakers. But we have made more of the Campus in the last few years: now we select numerous film projects for the Doc & Script station and the Talent Project Market and we don’t only give professional feedback within a couple of days – we also bring filmmakers together for subsequent projects. We won’t change the general set-up of the Campus, but we will extend our activities regarding individual guidance.

Could you tell me the 3 most important experiences you have had in the 10 years of organising the Talent Campus? It’s a hard question, isn’t it?

It is a hard question. There are so many… I remember the year when we changed our application for the Berlin Today Award, the short film competition of the Campus. The theme was “My Wall”, in connection to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Among the selected films, there was one documentary about the daily ceremony at the border between India and Pakistan. The story came from the Indian director Supriyo Sen. In a producers meeting he met producers from Detailfilm, a German production company.The film “WAGAH” won the Berlin Today Award in 2009, and it was the beginning of an unbelievable success story for the film, the team and the Campus. The film won around 50 awards worldwide. I will never forget the award ceremony of the German short film prize.

The next story happened in 2009 as well. We organised our first Dine&Shine dinner with around 450 guests. The concept: a matchmaking dinner between Berlinale guests and talents, which also meant they had to change seats after each course. The concept was approved but with 50 guests only. Our team was quite nervous and nobody believed me that it would go well. In the end, everybody found a seat, had a lot of fun during the evening and the Dine&Shine turned out to be the secret hot spot of the Berlinale.

There are hundreds of unforgettable moments with young filmmakers and Campus guests. I remember the session with Walter Salles in 2005. We had to postpone the session in the evening due to his BAFTA nomination. The session was about FICTION AND REALITY, and the audience didn’t stop asking questions. Or in 2007, when Shah Rukh Khan was here. Around 2000 fans in front of our theatre on Sunday morning, most of them teenage girls with their mothers, screaming and crying!

Will you be in Sarajevo this year?

This year, sadly, I can’t be in Sarajevo. But my colleague and I always try to attend the Campus International initiatives personally, when possible. I have known the Talent Campus in Sarajevo very well since the beginning, and I like this festival very much.