Artistic promises and unconventional greeting cards
Can you talk about the relationship between films made at film schools and independent productions?
This year, out of seven full-length films (four feature films and three documentaries), only one is from a film school. It is called DIE VERMISSTEN (REPORTED MISSING), directed by Jan Speckenbach who is a dffb graduate. Jan Speckenbach is not the average film school student who makes his first short in his early twenties. He started studying film later in life. Both of his shorts Spatzen (2009) and Gestern in Eden (2008) were screened at Cannes. One in Cinéfondation, and the other as part of a selection by German Films.
With DIE VERMISSTEN Jan Speckenbach created a terrifying futuristic scenario: children simply vanish and at first it is unclear why they disappear and where they are going to. Searches by the parents leave the audience with an uneasy feeling reminiscent of mystery or science fiction movies. It is unusual for filmmakers to venture into the realms of fantasy and visions of the future that early in their career, and they rarely create such horror scenarios. DIE VERMISSTEN is an example where the director has left behind his familiar environment. That is noteworthy and impressive.
The other six directors came to the film business via small detours. To name a few: Tim Staffel who directed Westerland is a writer who has filmed his novel “Jesus und Mohammed”. Katharina Peters, who made Man for a Day, does not have a film school background either, but gained some experience before shooting her first film Am seidenen Faden (2004). Tamer Yiğit (Karaman) has worked in the theatre as an actor and director and had a part in Die Fremde (When We Leave) by Feo Aladag that played at Panorama in 2010. His co-director, Branka Prlić also used to work in theatre. These kinds of non-linear careers are interesting to me.
It’s a little different with medium-length films. Half of those come from film schools. The filmmakers experiment with stories that ask for a smaller frame. So far they are a kind of “artistic greeting card”, but pointing to a promising future. There is talent to be found here.