Perhaps I’ve been out of the loop, but I just discovered a wonderful Youtube gem that was screened as part of Interfilm’s opening night kick-off. Watch it HERE. You’ll thank me. It’s even more fun on a giganto screen amidst an audience of thousands. Scroll down for more awesome films and trailers below…
But first, a quick recap of Day 1 here at the Interfilm fest. Berlin is like no city I’ve ever visited and Interfilm like no other fest. It feels like a whole new world has opened up to me. It’s been wonderful…and a little intimidating. Moments after I first arrived, I had little time to freshen up and find my way to the opening night kick off. Interestingly, some street names seem to change at every block making it rather challenging to find one’s way about at first.
After a couple wrong turns, I found my way to the giant venue. It was already packed with thousands of people, all speaking German, all in groups of friends. In my jetlagged state and not knowing a soul or more than a handful of German phrases, I confess I had a minor case of ‘fish out of water’ syndrome. I had no idea what was going on, nor where I was supposed to go. Part of me wanted to retreat and hide in my hotel. I quickly amputated that part and left her bloody carcass in an alley out back. Life’s too short for such nonsense.
I then followed some folks into a giant auditorium and took a seat. Mercifully, a fellow next to me made a remark in English and we fast became friends. I marveled once again how film fests so easily unite kindred spirits. A documentarian from the U.K. who currently resides in Portugal, he’s a lovely chap and a big horror buff. And I was so grateful to have a buddy to muse about the weird goings-on onstage. Most of the show was in English, but it was like some bizarre variety show you might see on TV in South America or Japan only with German humor and accents.
Our host was quirky to say the least . He arrived on stage by bicycle (they’re everywhere here) and launched into an odd monologue at which I occasionally chuckled only to discover I was the only one to do so. I suddenly wondered if he had not intended to be funny. I would later learn from a native that this is not uncommon in my fave quote thus far: “German humor is awkward and we ourselves do not always know when it is funny or not.” I like this place.
They showed a number of films and previews of films that will screen during the fest. OMFG! In all of my vast festival travels I have only seen a few shorts that compare in variety and scope as these. Interfilm is celebrating its 30th year and our host boasted “ This year, we received 7,000 entries. We only accepted 500. So, relax. We weeded out all the riff-raff for you.” Once again, I was the only one to chuckle. Oops. And yowsah! 7,000 short films?! Can you imagine? Congrats, Team – we beat amazing odds.
To give you but a hint at the range, a few highlights included:
Concerto Crasso http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDYQSMXnw7g
La Gran Carrera http://vimeo.com/27602618
It was all so inspiring. Short films are truly revered here. Such perfection in artistry can be achieved in this smaller, but remarkable format. I have fallen in love with this wonderful medium all over again and can’t wait to shoot our next. More info on that when I return. I’m jumping on the transmedia bandwagon and it’s so wonderfully exciting. Endless possibilities. But I digress.
The program ended when a guitar accompanist who was present for the duration of the stage show jammed out an awesome rendition of Iggy Pop’s THE PASSENGER, a personal favorite, and our host sang just like Iggy himself. There was an impromptu sing-along and then he rode off on the bike he’d ridden in on. Nice!
There were both a ‘reception’ and a ‘party’ directly after. The reception offered free champagne, wine and beer (no water anywhere – d’oh!). I was so parched I had no choice but to down some champagne. Oh darn. Upstairs was the “party”, which consisted of wall-to-wall people. The only other difference I could discern from the downstairs “reception” was that there were some cubes of Swiss cheese piled on platters. No other food – double d’oh! I grabbed a few cheese cubes, chatted a bit more with my new bud, then went back to the hotel just before 1am. After 24 hours of travel and no sleep, food or water in some time, I seriously needed some recupe time.
The walk home was bitter cold with an eerie but beautiful fog in the air. I kept expecting Peter Lorre to come by whistling and offer me a balloon. Inspired, I wrote some ideas down for my latest writing assignment then promptly conked out into the most peaceful sleep. It seemed like only minutes later when my alarm so rudely woke me up. Breakfast is only served at the hotel until 10. Oy.
I think Berlin may just challenge New York as the town that never sleeps. It’s been rather nonstop since my arrival. Not that I’m complaining. There’s a wonderful energy here – so vibrant, yet not at all stressed out like so many cities. I’ve never been anywhere like this. The history, the people, the love of art permeate the crisp air. And let us not forget the beer. Sublime.
Apparently there is little industry in Berlin, which is made up primarily of artists and academics. My own personal Mecca. Everybody’s so well traveled, educated and diverse. I love how discussion seamlessly flows through a plethora of topics and languages.
Anyway, these are my first impressions. More to come. Now, I have more screenings to attend…