In the summer you took over as director of the Campus. I imagine it’s a bit like moving into a new apartment: You’re happy that the previous tenant left a washing machine, but you’re annoyed that the old fridge is still there. What was your first impression at the Campus?
The Campus is still a very new project, but it’s also worth taking a critical look at the past. That should be applied to previous years and those yet to come: What worked and what was received well by the talents? Which formats haven’t perhaps reached full maturity? I found a lot that I think is great and there were several things which I wanted to think about in a new way. The move to the new venue in the Hebbel Theater provided the occasion to do just that. The space in HAU is somewhat smaller than in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Based on our experience from the last few years we decided to reduce the number of participants in order to be able to offer the talents even more intensive and more individualised attention. We would like to tailor our formats more precisely to what makes sense for the Campus participants and what they really need.
How will this individualised attention actually take form?
It starts with the assessment of applications. We look at each application very carefully and, if need be, take up contact with the applicants at a very early stage, if we believe that it would be worth it for them to apply for special programmes like the Script Doc Clinic or the Garage Studios. From the moment that the talents know that they’ll be taking part, we try to foster connections between them. Ideally, they can do it themselves over the website. Moreover, we also help them prepare for meetings with certain experts and in some cases we connect talents with experts as early as mid-January via our website.
More than merely meeting the expectations
We are fully aware that the talents come to the Campus hoping to meet famous, highly accomplished personalities and we make an effort to meet these expectations. But we also want to give them a little push. “Meet the expert” doesn’t just mean “meet your star”. It’s much more about offering the talents real help for their work through people with “specialist knowledge” – such as in the area of sales for documentary films or about the independent film scene in Japan or Argentina, or that know how to best use digital software for set design. We also want to inspire young filmmakers by suggesting ideas, topics and people they don’t yet know about or couldn’t know about.
I find the concept of the “enlightening institution”, which Dieter Kosslick likes to use in this context, very fitting. While the term is 200 years old, it describes how for us it is on the one hand about providing the talents with what they expect from the Campus, but on the other hand about offering them things they could not know beforehand and which, hopefully, they will find great in retrospect.
Besides the practical changes that accompanied the move to the Hebbel am Ufer Theater, does the location bring with it another type of inspiration, because it has a very open, alternative and political image?
It was a good starting point that events in a similar spirit take place in the HAU throughout the year and that we are very welcome there. I also hope that the proximity of the new venue to Potsdamer Platz will integrate the Campus into the festival in an even more dynamic way.
What immediately comes across as positive for us is that there are three theatres that are each very different architecturally speaking. The HAU1 with its classical theatre architecture is ideal for the large lectures by renowned guests, where most of the action will take place on stage. The atmosphere of HAU2 encourages the open exchange of ideas. There you can easily organise a workshop at a large table with room for 40 or 50 people. In HAU3 there are three floors: the Garage Studio, the Script Doc Clinic and Editing Suites will be installed here.
Hands-on films and politics
Everything taking place in HAU3 will be hands-on, concentrated and practical. Here you’ll wear your imaginary blue collar. And even if it’s just for one day, because we don’t want the “hands-on” activities to cut the talents off from the rest of the Campus.
What sort of projects will the Garage Studio be focused on?
The format has been designed for fast production for fast release on the Internet. The Garage Studio is the “replacement model” in our programme for the “Talent Movies of the Week”, which was more focused on the production of “classic” short films for cinema screening. The area of films produced solely for digital viewing in the Net is still virgin territory – also for us. As we speak countless such films are already being made, but it’s still totally unclear how the professional film industry should react to the phenomenon.