Berlin is definitely not L.A. Even though the German capital has several production companies and the big Filmstudios Babelsberg right outside the city, during the year the local movie-industry is nearly invisible. Invisible but not non-existent. No wonder they shine even brighter at the biggest festival in Germany for contemporary film culture: Berlinale.
At this year’s edition not only did we have the chance to visit the press previews from several movies but also we got an exclusive backstage tour of the festival including a visit to the photo studio with Canon, sponsor and creative partner of the festival.
We breathed some air of glamour and lots of love and devotion for the art on celluloid while speaking with the team of Berlinale who did not hesitate to answer all our questions and explain us in details everything about the cultural DNA of this celebration of creativity.
After the jump we show you our Backstage discoveries and tell you more about our incredible highlight of the festival.
photo: Berlin Station / EPIX
No matter how hard to believe it might prove to be at first, Berlin has hosted the shooting of a variety of tv shows and films, from unknown indies to massive, Hollywood blockbusters, such as Inglorious Basterds and Hunger Games. It is very hard to describe the feeling of watching your beloved city on camera being the centre of a plot that has very little in common with the way you choose to spend your time in the German capital. Here are my favorite picks, when it comes to tv shows and films worthy of binge-watching, that have been shot to a great extent or even entirely in Berlin. Make sure you share with us your opinion/suggestions on the comment section below.
“4 Blocks” is a story about the hardships and crime in Neukölln. The series follows protagonist Toni played by Kida Khodr Ramadan and his struggle with daily business in the context of Arabic clans. He wants to leave his “4 Blocks” behind for the sake of his family, but Neukölln doesn’t let him go easily.
With Frederick Lau, who plays a friend of Toni in the series, we fell in love with when we first saw him stirring up chaos in the hit Berlin movie “Victoria”. He became our new face of Berlin and embodied the “real people”. His role was as rough around the edges just like Neukölln is with its beautiful ugliness. Kida Khodr Ramadan does his own part in representing a realer image of Berlin, which is much more diverse.
The Berlin underground scene is one of the most diverse in the world. Makes sense – where there is a large society, there is also an underground, an anti-pole to the mainstream. If you look around the Hip Hop scene nowadays, a lot of things have changed. The subcultural character of Hip Hop seemingly vanished and slowly but steadily German Rap became mainstream. But still, Hip Hop is the voice of the unheard, an organ for the youth and a space for resistance.
Young filmmaker and and photographer Mirza Odabaşı took it upon himself to go back in time, to the origins of Berlin and German Rap culture and met up with a wide range of artists and personalities from the scene. In his documentary LeidenSchafft, a pun from the words “passion”, “misery” and “creation”, Odabaşı goes into the deep meanings of the local Rap culture, talks about identity and finding and defining yourself in and outside of the music. He met up with many icons of the scene, ranging from well-known artists like Marteria, Chefket, Eko Fresh and many more to rather Oldschool trailblazers such as Killa Hakan, Marcus Staiger or Spaiche.
In 43 minutes Odabaşı manages to get into topics such as experiences of social exclusion, some of the possible reasons to why Hip Hop is so popular amongst the alleged socially disadvantaged adolscents and portrays the people shaping the German Hip Hop scene in beautiful images in Berlin.
In that way, “LeidenSchafft” is a look back and an appraisal at the same time, bringing light to the underground. And human emotions.
See some impressions of the film and a teaser after the jump.
sense8, photo: Netflix
It’s been such a long time since we wrote about TV shows, but now that the nights are getting longer and the temperatures lower we are starting to get into hibernation mode, cosying up in our blankets and watching movies and tv shows in the evenings ignoring the wet and cold outside.
For our newest edition of Serie/ous Addiction we have a wonderful set of shows for you that deal with our most favorite topics in some capacity: Sex, sexuality, gender identity and Berlin! Yes, you heard right: There is a good portion of Berlin in the mix this time, you must have noticed that in terms of movie and tv productions the hype of Berlin has finally reached the world of international television. Of course you must all have heard by now that the current season of US spy show Homeland was shot here, mostly thanks to star Claire Danes talking awkwardly about her visit at Berghain on Ellen. But this is not the only show that took place here, there is one more taking advantage of the awesomeness of this city, but it’s more of an underdog. Nonetheless it’s one of my three favorite new TV shows, more about it after the jump.
photo: Britta Thie, Translantics
Translantics is a new web series about a group of artists and creative people in Berlin, produced by Schirn Kunsthalle and ZDF in collaboration with ARTE Creative. It was created, written and directed by the artist Britta Thie, who also plays the main character BiBi in the show. The story is about her and her two best friends how they navigate their life and work in Berlin. They’re dealing with the fast-forward life of young ambitious artists who jump from situations of comfort with friends and lovers to awkward encounters with competing artists. Their relationships are continually re-networked and auto-updated. You can feel the loss of intimacy because „emotion, affect, and intelligence have become products on an already flooded market“…
Berlin is full of surprises and in some way everything goes. The queer cyberpunk post-porn series Neurosex Pornoia by Eric Pussyboy and Abigail Gnash is one of these surprises that hit us out of nowhere. Of course it should not be a surprise because with projects like Pornceptual, the big success of the Porn Film Festival and long-forgotten sex clubs like KitKat on the rise again a pornographic video series was just about the next natural step. With its geeky, punky and trashy style the show is pretty much a niche thing but with its references to sci-fi and porn it will surely tickle the interest of a bigger audience. It tells the story of a world where sex can be translated into code that can be downloaded, but of course this goes terribly wrong and what was meant to be pleasure becomes something else. So far there are two episodes out that have been screened at various film festivals and events all over the world. A third, more ambitious one, is currently in the making and still seeking production support with the help of a crowd funding campaign. Enjoy the trailers and some impressions after the jump.
photo: Finding Berlin
The whole city, no, the entire world, is abuzz with the world football championchip, or WM as we like to call it, that starts today. Ironically, Claudio, Devid and myself don’t really care about football, but we know that some of you might do. So we didn’t really want to let you down and assembled the best places for public viewings in Berlin in our little Football WM Screening Guide. We hope one or more of these places will be the right one for you! Enjoy an exciting football season!
I’m a total TV show addict and one of my dreams has always been a drama show about life in Berlin. Not because life here is particularily dramatic, quite the contrary, but in those 14 years that I’ve been living here, I have experienced and heard enough stories that could fill a couple of seasons.
With the new independently produced show Ecke Weserstraße my little dream might have potentially come true. Created and produced by Johannes Hertwig and Hayung von Oepen the show tells the story of three young friends who live in the popular Reuterkiez and try to make it in Berlin. The trailer already has some lines that are pretty on point and painfully true: “Every victim here has their own blog and that’s why they everyone believes they can do it too.” Haha, are you talking about us? Well, I understand where this criticism comes from. But personally, as someone who has been blogging for 7 years and is part of an early generation of bloggers, I still congratulate everyone who starts something new, a fashion blog, a tumblr, your own little sock label. It doesn’t matter that there are already so many people out there already doing similar things. If you have the chance to try yourself out, do it and don’t let other people discourage you. I’m really curious what Ecke Weserstraße is going to express with this matter. More about it and all three episodes after the jump.
Although I don’t even own a television, I watch tons of series. Aside from cinema culture and Berlinale the past few months have turned me into a television junkie and I’ve watched multiple series back to back. The third season of Homeland reunited Nicholas Brody and Carrie Mathison on the screen. After the third season of GIRLS I am now officially in love with Adam and last night saw the season and series finale of How I met your Mother, which I will most likely watch in my lunch break at the latest. So what should i watch now? Everything is done, over, out! Do you have recommendations?
And of course if you haven’t watched the above mentioned series: DO IT! Or don’t, because it takes serious chunks of time out of your days….