Most cinema lovers observe what is happening at the Cannes, Venice and Sundance Film Festivals, even if they cannot attend. The programs always look promising and leave us with excitement and hope that the films will one day make it to our local cinemas. Unfortunately, quite a few movies never receive distribution deals, leaving a wider audience unable to see it. Luckily there are lovers of film like Hannes Brühwiler, who help films they believe in reach the silver screen in Berlin!
Hannes’s Festival is poetically called Unknown Pleasures and screens an amazing selection of American independent movies. The festival runs from June 3rd until June 16th 2016 at Arsenal and Il Kino. I met Hannes and spoke with him about American cinema, Unknown Pleasures and the best places for great film in Berlin…
“Unknown Pleasures started as a one-off screening series eight years ago. The first edition was so successful that not continuing wasn’t an option,” founder and programmer of the festival Hannes Brühwiler tells me. The festival is now in it’s eighth edition and is still as passionate about great American independent movies as ever.
“Hollywood is so powerful that the creative industry evolving beside and even in opposition to it is amazingly creative,” Hannes says, explaining the choice of the festivals focal point.
Curating film screenings is Hannes’s job, so you can trust that he’s chosen films that are not only entertaining, but also great works in storytelling, cinematography and cinematic art altogether.
“I look most forward to our guests and the conversation with the audience” he tells me. Directors Michael Almereyda, Brigitta Wagner and Patrick Wang will present their films during the festival at Arsenal Kino. The festival is an especially great opportunity to see films in their Original Language Version. “I’d say our audience in Berlin is half Germans and half expats,” Hannes explains. The festival has taken excursions to other cities around Germany, but nowhere is it as well received as in Berlin.
Our special recommendation is Frederik Wiseman’s latest film In Jackson Heights (USA 2015). In his 40th film, the master of direct cinema plays fly-on-the-wall in New York’s community of Jackson Heights. 167 languages are spoken in this part of Queens and gentrification is the topic of the moment. The film is a whooping 190 minutes long and has its lengthy episodes, but it transports the viewer into a different world and gives insights into the minds of self-made men and women and a community as diverse as it gets!
Of course I couldn’t let Hannes go before he told me the secret cinema spots of Berlin to watch great films. “I love the old stuff they show at Zeughauskino and for the new movies in OV I come to the CineStar at Potsdamer Platz,” he says, and laughingly adds: “those two are as far from cinema concept as one can go, but for me they are a good combination.”
Thank you Hannes for the chat and great insights. We wish you all happy pleasure-hunting.