Will the encounter with the NGOs be similar to last year?
MWK: No, it will be slightly different. Last year the talents introduced themselves to the NGOs. This year the tables are turned: the NGOs introduce themselves to the talents and present their aims in detail, as well as what types of creative products they are looking for and what kinds of opportunities they can offer a young filmmaker.
Have you placed a different focus on the regions of origin of the participants or the infrastructure of their film industries with regards to support and artistic inspiration?
CT: With the programming you have to make sure that one has the right offering for everyone. If, for example, you work with digital workflows, you should keep in mind that someone from Africa might not have such easy access to highly professional digital equipment and is more likely to be working with a mini-DV camera. We should be prepared for that, but at the same time try to think ahead and to consider whether we have opportunities to support these talents.
The theme of the seventh Berlinale Talent Campus is “Turning points”. This probably brings to mind a dramaturgical process. But one can also understand it as a pliable or flexible concept, which inspires new modes of interaction. What’s the idea behind the catchphrase?
MWK: There are several ideas behind it. At first view it has to do with the narrative level, meaning stories and the way turning points are used in them. Therefore it was obvious that we would invite screenwriters and directors who can talk about their experiences with these issues and have hopefully made films that are especially dependent on turning points.
In addition we are planning a special event that sheds light on turning points that stand out because of a special societal relevance. Here it’s about events and protagonists from the fields of film and culture who have really triggered something and perhaps sparked broad discussion on a certain issue. The filmmakers close to our hearts are those who want to move or initiate something, who make a film not just to tell a pretty story but because they want to articulate their opinion and express their commitment.
In the practical process of making films everyone is familiar with longingly awaited turning points: if you’re not making progress on your script, or the decisive idea for a score that takes forever to come, or the perfect edit that just doesn’t want to work out. Turning points often come when you ask for help, by talking about it with other filmmakers. We also want to examine this mutual influence and reciprocal inspiration in the real-life working process.
And it applies to the Berlin Today Award theme for 2009 “My Wall”. In the films, which are mostly wall-related stories, changes and turning points of course play an important role.
CT: The theme was developed together with the Federal Foreign Office under the patronage of our foreign minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Our starting point was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009 and we took a very broad approach. We didn’t want to film typical Wall tales, but expanded the theme under the title “My Wall” to include personal aspects and the question: what roles do “walls” play in my life? Very different films were produced and funded by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.