Looking back at 10 years of the Talent Campus and advice for the future
The Talent Campus celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2012. What trends can you identify, when you look back at the past ten years?
CT: Our role has become more tangible. The concept of the global village applies to the Campus in a positive sense. We have, for example, supported international co-productions, whether through funding awards, which we initiated with partners or through our short film competition, the Berlin Today Award. We have awakened an interest in international newcomer talents in the film industry and promoted targeted collaborations, also amongst the emerging filmmakers themselves, naturally. We don’t just invite established filmmakers to the Campus so that participants can profit from their experiences, but conversely hope to show that the younger generation has a lot to say and contribute. I can still remember well how difficult it used to be for industry newcomers to contact established filmmakers. There was a certain arrogance, which we are trying to counter with a kind of democratization. Four years ago, for example, we developed the Dine & Shine format, a dinner for 430 guests at which we bring together Berlinale guests with the emerging talents. Now we start getting enquiries about the Dine & Shine event from established producers, financiers and distributors as early as the summer.
Just ten years ago the word “networking” had a totally different meaning. Similar to developments in the virtual space, comparably flattened hierarchies and communities have formed in the real world – thanks to online business portals and, most recently, social networks.
MWK: Beyond that, the Campus has presented itself more and more as a platform for project development. Of course a six-day programme is too short to sufficiently work on film projects. But since the Campus offered a very dense atmosphere at the beginning of the year, a place where everyone is open to new impulses and fresh ideas, many emerging filmmakers see the Campus as a place for orientation and decision-making. The Campus aims to maintain this approach in the future: we don’t just want to bring together up-and-coming and established film professionals, but we want to help talents benefit from the encounter in terms of content and take a decisive step with their projects.
The opening event is called after this year’s Campus theme, “Changing Perspectives.” These days, no one’s professional biography seems to follow a linear path and filmmakers seem to be more open to try new things. What advice would you offer the talented filmmakers about getting on the right path? Is it more important to concentrate on your goals or is it more about taking advantage of opportunities that arise?
MWK: One piece of advice would be to always be open to the new, to not focus too much on your own thing, but to have the energy and concentration to listen to and take seriously the comments and feedback of others. The input one receives from all sides – especially at the Campus – can be overwhelming and sometimes frightening, but can prove to be very fruitful as a way to create new ideas and develop one’s project further in a different way. For most of our emerging talents, the Campus literally opens up a new perspective. Coming to Berlin for the first time allows them to meet people from different countries and experience how they aren’t just the only ones who have difficulties developing material or making films in their home country. Following the Campus they often have a very different perspective on how and with whom they want to work on their films.