art, Berlin, Film, Life in Berlin

Short Film: Rhino Full Throttle, A Berlin Love Story

This beautiful, award-winning short film Nashorn im Galopp (Rhino Full Throttle) directed by Erik Schmitt plays with a bunch of crazy filming techniques and perspectives all over Berlin.

Check it out:

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Berlin, Film

Making a short film in 48 hours…

This weekend I took part in Shoot and Run, a Berlin-based project in which you and your team have just 48 hours to make a short film.  It’s a regular competition, which focuses on a different area of Berlin each time.

The theme / genre that we were given at the 7pm registration on Friday evening was “Bicycle Road Movies” and the setting was Charlottenburg.

Off we set, brainstorming ideas, scripting, planning, shooting and editing the movie in order have it finished and delivered to the organisers at the location of the screening in Charlottenburg by 7pm on Sunday evening.

Working collaboratively with a wacky group of amateur film-makers, all of whom met for the first time on Friday evening, was an incredible creative experience.

I know you’re curious, so here’s our Charlottenburg-based bicycle-road-movie:

Two prizes were awarded at the end of the screening: The Jury Award and The Audience Award. Our film won the latter.

It was a brilliant experience, but badly organised; the screening details on the website were incorrect; the actual location of the screening was outdoors, which, considering the cold, rainy weather yesterday was a stupid idea, on top of which the organisers made everyone wait around in the cold for almost two hours before actually showing the films.

Of all the films shown, the only one without a bicycle in it won the Jury Prize. Why? Because after we’d been told the theme, that team came along and complained about the ‘bicycle’ bit (like getting hold of one in Berlin is akin to getting hold of a Bible in Saudi Arabia or something), so the theme was changed to suit them, and no one bothered to inform us…I would express exactly how I feel about that, but then this site would need a password due to excessive use of outrageous obscenities.

P.S A few people have asked, so here’s the link to the film that won the Jury Prize, and managed to get the rules changed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2IHvoHf6R4

Film, Life in Berlin

Short Film evenings: Monthly screenings at Cafe Hilde and Sputnik Kino

Here in Berlin, every second person I meet claims to be a film-maker so it is no wonder that there is a continuous stream of films being made and displayed in the city.

Two free monthly film screenings have recently cropped up; A Night of Short Film Wonderment run by The Privateer at Cafe Hilde in Prenzlauer Berg, and Testbild at Sputnik Kino in Kreuzberg.

They are very different – probably a reflection of their very diverse locations.

Night of Short Film Wonderment at Cafe HildeA Night of Short Film Wonderment at Cafe Hilde is all very sophisicated; the crowd, dominated by ex-pats, sip on cappucinos and beers whilst being entertained by a range of high quality films (including BAFTA, Oscar and Berlinale winners and nominees) that centre around a certain theme (last week’s theme was music). You can normally see the programme of films that will be shown beforehand at Cafe Hilde’s website.

With Testbild on the other hand, you never quite know what you’re getting. Film-makers turn up with their films half an hour early and hand them over to be played. The crowd is mostly German, although many international film-makers have shown their films there and a number of films are in English.

As can be expected with such a format, the films vary vastly in terms of quality – from surprisingly good to astonishingly bad…

The vibe in the kino bar is relaxed; people come and go and there is usually a dog running about. What’s really special is that after each film is shown, the film-maker gets the chance to talk about their film and the audience can ask questions.

It’s great if you are a film-maker because it’s a chance to interact with other people in the business and see what they are doing, which is often more useful than watching highly polished pieces made with higher budgets.  And if you are a film-maker (or a creative of any discipline) you’ll understand when I say that there is also a deep satisfaction to watching somebody else’s failures; it boosts our delicate egos, and gives us a chance to bitch at someone else’s work rather than our own.

Film, Life in Berlin

Premiere of The Line, Kastanianallee 77

Former Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit described Berlin as “poor but sexy”, and there is nothing poorer or sexier in Berlin than its film-making community.

Berlin has provided the inspiration for films such as Cabaret, Wings of Desire and The Lives of Others, and is home to over 100 cinemas (see list) and the Berlinale.  In Berlin, film-makers even get their own little places to hang out, such as Cinema Café in Hackescher Markt or Filmcafe in Prenzlauer Berg.

The Line PosterLast night Xavier Agudo premiered his short film The Line at the very sexy, very intimate cinema at 77 Kastanienalle, which has a cool basement bar and is decorated with Truffaut and Bergman film posters.

The film was very ‘Berlin’; made with hardly any money, an international cast and crew and inspired by The Wall. It’s a beautifully shot little film about divisions – the line between east and west, past and present, the living and the dead. I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone who’s interested in watching it – it is due to be shown at HHU Filmfest Düsseldorf shortly – but here’s a teaser.