Sore head today. I managed to make it into the British Council party last night. I had forgotten that they have a short film of mine that they send out to international festivals so, with a bit of smooth talking, a business card and a smile I make it in. It’s quite a large venue, typically for Berlin the space is bizzarely laid out but rather beautiful.
Inside I bump into my old school friend -another Devon filmmaker -Geoffrey Taylor who featured at last year’s Encounters festival with a short film made under South West Screen. We immediately make our way to the free bar -dangerous combination of words that, ‘free’ and ‘bar’ -he’s already met a few of his friends and contacts and introduces me to some good people. By the end of the evening I’ve entered two film festivals and exchanged cards with two producers and a DOP.
These events are always a bit odd, there’s always a lot of pretence; producer types trying to look ‘money’, overdressed rich girls taking pictures and filming themselves, blah blah blah. The point is though, it’s a great chance to meet people and due to the alcohol, everyone is in a pretty sociable mood -you just have to hope they’ll remember you in the morning.
I head to the Film Market in the late morning to try and talk to MEDIA, who control the pot of money handed out by the EU for film and television. The woman is friendly and helpful, but basically it’s not that helpful to me. You have to be applying through a production company which has been officially registered for a year or more and have a track record of at least one feature film.
It’s past the halfway point of the festival, the market is essentially winding down, and in terms of my search for finance I think this meeting with MEDIA pretty much sums things up.
Having contacted 10 companies that I felt would be appropriate, I had only two replies, both of which essentially came to nothing. I never expected to be signing any contracts and I feel happy that I’ve taken a lot from my time here so far. But I think it’s becoming obvious that there is a big gap between where I’m at and where a financier needs you to be before they entrust you with a big wedge of dough, and that’s ok, I’m here to learn and I’ve gotten a really good understanding of what I need to do to push things forward. I’ve also made some really helpful contacts, so as soon as I get back to England I can continue to work towards getting this film funded.
Back in the Talent Campus at 2pm I head to the Switching Roles: Multi-Talents in Film featuring the wonderful Julie Delpy. The only thing is, it’s not featuring Julie Delpy. A sign on the door declares that due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ Julie Delpy won’t be appearing. It’s just my opinion but these so called ‘unforeseen circumstances’ might have something to do with the fact that The Countess, Delpy’s second film as Actor/Director, was critically panned last night.
They bring in Ria Rasmussen, who starred in Luc Besson’s Angel A and has directed a first feature called Human Zoo, which opens the Panorama Main Programme at this years festival.No one mentions the absence of Delpy, which was the sole reason I bought my ticket.
The talk is actually rather good though, and director Christophe HonorÃ©, Chansons D’Amor, speaks with particular eloquence about what it means to make films to him and also switching mediums as a storyteller. That seems to be a recurring mantra at the Talent Campus, and one I connect with a lot: ‘It’s all about storytelling’.
German super-star Til Schweiger, who just worked with Tarrantino on Inglorious Bastards, strikes me as an arrogant jackass and I’m told later by a Berlinner that he makes terrible films and once tried to set up an alternative German Film Council because he didn’t get his way with the current one.
Things take a turn for the worse when Rasmussen tries to claim that all filmmakers working today are influenced in some way by Tarrantino: ‘You’re either going with what he created, or going against it.’ NO! No you’re not. You’re a beautiful and probably talented girl Ria -but shut up. As Vincent Gallo said, he’s a great collage artist. He’s made a few great films for sure; but he hasn’t changed the form of cinema. Every film he’s made has been borrowed from one or many other films -he doesn’t do anything new and his last three films were self indulgent pap. Godard changed cinema, Tarrantino just repeated what had already gone before.
Sorry. Rant over.
Max Richter has recently shot to fame for his beautiful and haunting score for Waltz With Bashir. The clips he plays from this and his other work are absolutely fantastic. However, I’m beginning to feel ever so slightly aggrieved with the Talent Campus.
I’m seeing some amazing speakers and I’m taking something from each and every one of them. However, this lecture is called Telling Stories With a Score and it just doesn’t touch on that at all. That’s been the case with most things I’ve seen, they have a very specific title, indicating a subject that will be investigated and instead we just watch people talking about themselves. Still though, Max Richter is a jolly nice chap, terribly English contrary to the name, and responsible for some sumptuous music, so it’s good to hear what he has to say.
In the evening we go to the Berlin Today shorts screening that features our two new friends from New York. This is where each year filmmakers are asked to produce a short on a different theme. This year the theme is The Wall. Their film is about a tiny Alaskan Island that is suffering the very real consequences of climate change. Apart from the first film, which swings between brilliance and utter rubbish, they’re all consistently very good.
â€¢ Geoffrey Taylor’s Breathe featured at View From Here 2008, and was followed up with a screening at the London Short Film Festival. Read about it.
Posted by Max Sobol
(image: (the unforeseen) Julie Delpy in The Countess)
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