On its 15th anniversary, Berlinale Talents once again offers the public and its 250 Talents a diverse programme of events, and proves that it’s still young enough to keep reinventing itself.
“This year’s theme, ‘Courage: Against All Odds,’ couldn’t feel timelier. While segregation is on the rise elsewhere, we stand in solidarity with those who believe in respect and the diversity of culture. Every year, our audiences, guests and Talents prove with their courage and love of cinema that together we’re stronger and more creative,” comments programme manager Florian Weghorn.
The everyday bravery of today’s film professionals takes centre stage at the 25 public events at HAU Hebbel am Ufer from February 11 to 16, 2017. In addition, Berlinale Talents presents five public screenings of outstanding alumni films from this year’s Berlinale festival programme. All in all, Berlinale Talents can once again boast impressive results in its talent development: 93 films, made with the contributions of 131 alumni, are screening at the Berlinale this year.
Completing the Circle – Alumni Return as Experts and Friends
The constantly growing network of successful alumni also contributes towards the Berlinale Talents programme itself. Alumna Ana Lily Amirpour, who came to international prominence with her debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, shares her creative process with the audience in a brainstorming session drawing on influences ranging from Bruce Lee to Back to the Future. The Mexican cinematographer Diego Garciá, who participated at Berlinale Talents in 2014, returns as an expert at the “Camera Studio” after recently shooting with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Carlos Reygadas and Paul Dano, as well as lensing the visually stunning indie film Boi Neon.
Courage Is a Good Idea – Movers and Shakers of the Summit
Exploring the risks and strategies of the profession, the guests of Berlinale Talents take the audience on a journey through personal, creative and cinematic moments of courage. On the opening panel, the president of the International Jury, Paul Verhoeven, returns to Berlinale Talents to discuss his most recent film, Elle. In “No Longer There: The Art of Disappearance,” artist Christo highlights the role courage plays in creating temporary artworks which are then deliberately allowed to vanish again.
Berlinale Talents amplifies the trends and voices of the film programme in the festival. Taking a break from his two film premieres, Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck visits Berlinale Talents for a talk with the expressive title “Shock of the Real: History as Provocation.” And tracing the impact of past revolutions and revolutionaries on today, the documentary filmmakers Andres Veiel and João Moreira Salles delve into archival material from their two festival films.
In “post-truth” times, cinematic storytellers are faced with the challenge of having to redefine their roles as purveyors of truths – both as critics and as activists – while at the same time maintaining their own attitudes and humour. The summit addresses this by hosting advocates of free-spirited cinema from Europe and beyond, including Polish director Agnieszka Holland. Isabel Coixet presents her new short film, It’s Not That Cold Siberia, a journey to the origins of inspiration, followed by an in-depth conversation on stage. And Sally Potter provides insights into how she transforms the film set into a safe haven in which her actors can allow intimacy and personal truthfulness to unfold freely.
Core Mission: Cultural Exchange
Hosting participants from over 70 countries makes cultural exchange an important element of Berlinale Talents. The panel “Doc Different: Co-Producing Culture” assembles bloggers, curators and filmmakers to discuss how new technologies enable us to rethink joint documentary production as a continuous process of democratic exchange. Against the backdrop of political developments in Turkey, the panel “Between the Lines: Film, Critique” gathers Turkish filmmakers and journalists who explain how independent platforms and films can offer and preserve a space for critical voices. And to promote courageous filmmakers in the Arab world, Berlinale Talents once again hosts the award ceremony of the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung for International Cooperation Germany / Arab World.
Together We’re Strong – Brave Collectives
More than ever, the public programme of Berlinale Talents allows audiences to experience new collective forms of collaboration. Production designer Alex McDowell (Minority Report, Fight Club) and a team of interdisciplinary experts engage the audience in an onstage world-building session to visualize the future of cities caught between surveillance and spectacle. Members of the much loved Berlin-based performance art collective Gob Squad take the audience on an even more immersive journey. Their emphasis has always been on free interaction and open narrations with multiple outcomes; at Berlinale Talents they playfully transfer their approach to the current hype surrounding Virtual Reality. And animation “wunderkind” David OReilly philosophises with Maike Mia Hoehne also about the new roles of the viewer, as exemplified in his new computer game Everything which has its world premiere at Berlinale Shorts.
As part of the “Drama Series Days” and supported by ARRI and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the case study “On Location: Berlin Station” provides a multidisciplinary tour of the production processes and digital workflow behind the hit espionage series Berlin Station, which was just recently shot in the German capital. On the subject of film production, three panels during the “Producers Day” put courageous producers and funders in the spotlight. They take on topics such as gender equality in the field of production, successful relations between co-producers and how to systematically support filmmakers who are willing to take financial and narrative risks.