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WELCOME!

Welcome, welcome, welcome! For the first time ever, the BERLIN ART FILM FESTIVAL will show a fine selection of art films that depict Berlin in a different, daring, experimental, unusual and poetic way. For four days, we will be screening over 30 films that range from non-narrative shorts to classics of the Berlin School.

The programme includes established directors like Angela Schanelec, Cynthia Beatt and Thomas Arslan as well as film students and fresh new talents like Julian Radlmeier, Vika Kirchenbauer or Lisa Violetta Gaß. All features are accompanied by short films and will be introduced by the filmmakers or members of the team. English subtitles are provided, and talks will be in English. Half the filmmakers are women.

Programme highlights include the opening (4.12.) with ICH WILL MICH NICHT KÜNSTLICH AUFREGEN/ ASTA UPSET, the world premiere of THE COAT by Christophe Chemin (4.12.), a live porn dubbing of bONKING bERLIN bASTARDS (5.12.), the Berlin short film programme (6.12.) and the German premiere of Sabine Lidl’s documentary NAN GOLDIN – I REMEMBER YOUR FACE (7.12.).

The screenings are framed by two panel discussions (6/7.12.), a big festival party (6.12., Südblock) and a kick-off screening on 21.11. at fsk am Oranienplatz. Let the magic begin!

BACKGROUND

This summer, Mary Scherpe, founder of the blog „Stil in Berlin“ came up with the idea of a film festival linked to the film column „Discover This“, which Toby Ashraf had been running on her blog for over a year. Soon after, the concept of showing different, fresh and exciting new Berlin images on a big screen was born and most of the programme was curated within a week. Since the blog „Stil in Berlin“ had quickly changed its language to English due to its very international audience, it was clear that all films of the BERLIN ART FILM FESTIVAL (and all film talks) should be accessible to a non-German speaking audience. In the following months, preparations ran at full blast and many filmmakers confirmed their coming.

The festival grew and grew, got two parties, a kick-off screening and a patron (Clemens Schick). When all hopes for a sponsorship fell apart, the entire project was at risk, and when last minute funding was denied, it actually seemed like an impossible endeavour.

But our enormous anger at always being financially and institutionally dependent fuelled the energy to pull something up no matter what. So far financed with private money, the BERLIN ART FILM FESTIVAL is a non-profit, non-funded, non-sponsored project of love and idealism. We need your support – by showing up! In this light, many distributors were kind enough to lower their fees or supply free film copies and a bunch of amazing artists (trailer, homepage, poster design) agreed to work for a third of what they would have deserved. Many friends agreed to volunteer and help out and brought an amazing new energy to the project. The Facebook page gained 2000 Likes in five days and if the screenings fill up quickly – there might even be a BERLIN ART FILM FESTIVAL in 2015.

INTENTION

As someone who has known film festivals as a journalist, presenter, jury member and film worker, Toby Ashraf took his inspiration for the BERLIN ART FILM FESTIVAL from THE BALLERINA BALLROOM CINEMA OF DREAMS – a tiny, sweet, local and magical film gathering organized by Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins in Nairn in 2008. THE CINEMA OF DREAMS was almost an anti-festival that stressed the social element of the cinematic experience, celebrated a feeling of togetherness and put the love of film over the need for publicity. Instead of trying to copy big festivals, the BERLIN ART FILM FESTIVAL also attempts a different approach: there will be no red carpets, no awards, no competition, no submissions and no hysteria about the latest and newest films.

It’s certainly a risk to show older films but it seems a good idea to use a festivity like this one to re-contextualise, re-visit and re-appreciate films that too few people have seen. Nevertheless, some films are actually brand new, but that’s not the reason why they were programmed. The BERLIN ART FILM FESTIVAL tries to bring filmmakers and film lovers together for a dialogue about film. The support of and collaboration with many of the featured filmmakers exemplifies the spirit the festival wishes to keep up: trying to work together to celebrate edgy, daring, commercially problematic and exceptional films.