FW: Naturally, both of our long-time acting coaches Jean-Louis Rodrigue and Christoph Conrad were thrilled when we presented them with the idea for this year's theme. Their workshops at Berlinale Talents aren't just focused on a text-oriented understanding of acting; they're about the relationships between the body and its environment, i.e. the presence within a space.
CT: Each new theme is a search for questions, and the mentors have a lot of freedom in designing the answer. Jean-Louis and Christoph use the Alexander technique, which is about the attainment of consciousness in body and spirit. Watching them lead the workshops is very exciting.
Distribution in Arab countries and creative networks
And how will the participants in the Sales & Distribution Studio delve into the theme?
FW: We thought about economic space from the start and likewise the cultural spaces that the Talents come from. In France or Germany, film distribution works very differently than in Arab countries, for example. The latter region will be a focus - we'll be looking at how distribution has developed under political influences and alongside social upheavals. And in spite of the numerous developments in the area of online distribution, we'll be putting the spotlight on cinemas again: What kind of cultural centre has been established with the Metropolis cinema in Beirut or the Zawya cinema in Cairo? What connections and distribution chains to local film culture, to other cinema projects and to filmmakers in Europe and around the world have developed as a result?
Beirut is the newest international branch of Berlinale Talents. How has the programme been received in the Arab world?
CT: For the past two years, the Robert Bosch Stiftung has awarded a film prize to German-Arab film projects as part of Berlinale Talents. During our work together we discovered that a targeted promotion of certain subsections is missing in the area of film in the Arab world. That's why we specifically focused on the three areas of sound, editing and camera and worked very intensively with only 20 Talents in Beirut. In contrast to its sister branches in Guadalajara, Buenos Aires, Durban, Sarajevo and Tokyo, Talents Beirut isn't connected to a big international festival but grew with the support of the Goethe Institut and the Metropolis cinema in Beirut.