What motivates the Talents today? Is it fame alone?
FW: Fame is always nice, but what really motivates the Talents is the community. You can see that from the very first second as they come together here in Berlin. And when the participants discover over the course of the days that they have many things in common, that releases an incredible amount of energy. It knocks our socks off every year.
Many renowned players in the film industry stress how important negative experiences have also been for their careers. Is failure a prerequisite for success?
CT: Failure is a part of our daily lives. Some things simply don’t come off. And the more experience I gain, the better and more positively I can deal with the failures. They’re stages of development we have to go through. Perhaps the film financing falls through. Okay, then I’ll find another way. Sometimes only a change in career can help. Many great and well-known directors were only active for 15 years. Filmmaking can sometimes be just one stage in your life – let’s celebrate that or offer reasonable “exit strategies.”
Are there also situations in life when all the courage in the world does not help and you simply have to accept failure?
FW: We don’t invite anyone to Berlin and promise them the moon. We give the Talents the opportunity to become a part of the Berlinale Talents family. We remain in contact throughout the good times and the bad, because the group can always help each other. And hopefully it’s also a small “reality check” where people can review the state of things before they perhaps head down the drains.
In a press release you spoke about moments of courage in the filmmaking process “pushing artistic, political or financial boundaries.” What boundaries still remain today?
CT: In 2017, we have 250 participants from 71 countries, while our alumni network spans over 6,500 Talents from more than 100 countries. The Afghan filmmaker Karima Ishchi remained in Germany after the 2016 edition of Berlinale Talents because she kept hitting walls in her home country. She wasn’t allowed to do anything there, and now, in Berlin, she is enjoying a greater amount of freedom. We should always bear in mind restrictions like these in other countries across the world as well. Even here, we can again see massive efforts to build walls at the moment. We should value and cherish our freedom, and above all our freedom of artistic expression.