Blowing one’s own trumpet: “achtung berlin” champions an impressively diverse local film scene.
It’s time once again for our fair city’s film community to give itself an almighty pat on the back – “achtung berlin” returns for its 13th annual edition to shine a spotlight on the finest new cinema emerging from Berlin. This year around 80 films will screen in 10 venues across town.
A total of 10 fiction features and 11 documentaries will duke it out in the headline ‘Made in Berlin-Brandenburg’ competition strands. While the eligibility criteria might sound a touch restrictive, that’s in no way reflected in the films themselves, which are set in locations as diverse as Argentina, Georgia and Turkey, and which run the gamut tonally from grim social realism to oddball humour.
“Vânătoare”, by Romanian DFFB graduate Alexandra Balteanu, is an atmospheric slice-of-life drama that evokes with startling clarity the unenviable daily routine of a pair of impoverished roadside prostitutes. At the opposite end of the spectrum, “Die Hannas” is a quirky, mumblecore-inflected dramedy about a stuck-in-a-rut thirtysomething couple, each determined to expand their romantic horizons. On the documentary front, “Zwischen den Stühlen – To Be a Teacher” is a curiously gripping account of three trainee teachers, charting their struggles to assert authority in the classroom whilst contending with the maddening bureaucracy of the education system. We’re also looking forward to Opening Night selection “Beat Beat Heart”, a lo-fi tale of heartbreak that received a warm reception at US indie fest Slamdance, and “Bunch of Kunst”, Christine Franz’s documentary about poetically profane UK post-punk duo Sleaford Mods.
As per last year, Exberliner magazine is assembling a jury (composed of Exberliner’s film editor Paul O’Callaghan, director Jules Herrmann and Exberliner reader Lili Hering) to honour a film with an international perspective worthy of the Exberliner Film Award.
New for this year is a three-day programme at our cinema, where all films will be moderated in English and followed by English-language filmmaker Q&As.
As part of these festivities, Exberliner is hosting a double-bill of hand-picked highlights on Sunday (April 23rd), with the added incentive of Sunday brunch!
Documentary, D 2016, 103 min, directed by Jakob Schmidt
Anna, Katja and Ralph are on their way to be teachers. All of them have already finished their degree and need to proceed with a practical teaching part in order to achieve the desired teacher’s certificate. For the first time, they solely stand in front of a class and need to deal with two contrary roles: They have to grade the pupils, but mentally prepare for their final test themselves.
Feature film, D 2016, 102 min, written & directed by Julia C. Kaiser, with Anna König, Till Butterbach, Ines Marie Westernströer, Julia Becker, Anne Ratte-Polle, Christian Natter, Cynthia Micas, Anne von Keller
Anna and Hans belong together. That is why friends simply call them “The Hannas”: they are a well-balanced and stable couple in its ‘sleepy’ thirties that shares an obsession with cooking – a passion the relationship relies on. One day, they meet the wild sisters Kim and Nico with whom each of them starts an affair, without knowing about the betrayal of the other. While this incident turns the couple’s emotions upside down, they do not know about Kim’s and Nico’s connection yet.
Feature film, D 2016, 74 min, directed by Alexandra Balteanu, written by Xandra Popscu, Alexandra Balteanu, with Corina Moise, Iulia Lumânare, Iulia Ciochină, Sergiu Costache, Dragoş Olaru
Lydia raises pigeons and lives on a farm with her husband and two children. Denisa’s boyfriend needs new sneakers and Vanessa longs for a dream lover with green eyes. The three women meet every day at their job under a motorway bridge outside of Bukarest. The camera follows Lydia, Denisa and Vanessa during one day and shows how they go to work, get dressed, wait and seduce potential suitors.
Documentary, D 2017, 97 min, directed by Jakob Preuss
Director Jakob Preuss meets Paul, a man who wants to escape from Morocco to Europe. Paul has already made his way from his home country Cameroon through the Sahara up until the coast. There, he is waiting for his chance to leave Morocco. Soon, he is able to reach Europe by crossing the sea in a rubber boat. He survives, but about half of the fellow refugees lose their lives during the two-day odyssey. After two months of custody, Jakob finally meets him again in a Spanish refugee camp.
Feature film, D 2016, 86 min, written & directed by Luise Brinkmann, with Lana Cooper, Saskia Vester, Till Wonka, Aleksandar Radenković, Christin Nichols, Jörg Bundschuh, Caroline Erikson, Hans-Heinrich Hardt
Kerstin believes in true love. Since months she dwells in sweet memories with her ex-boyfriend Thomas and waits for him to come back. One day, Kerstin’s mother Charlotte comes to visit – she brings a whole suitcase. A few days earlier, Charlotte split up with her partner and does not know where to go instead. Inspired by Kerstin’s flatmate, she discovers a dating-app and invites men home – a behaviour clearly disturbing Kerstin’s daydreams.
Documentary, D 2017, 103 min, directed by Christine Franz
Jason Williamson, a former chicken factory worker and singer of “Britain’s angriest band” Sleaford Mods, beatmaker Andrew Fearn and manager Steve Underwood share a very own idea of the music business. The fans love the band’s unconventional DIY ethos and the brutally honest lyrics about subjects that are normally ignored within the English music business – because who wants to hear another love song if you have to get along with £15 a week?
»achtung berlin« is over, but you don’t have to miss out on the best of the fest. Tonight’s your chance to catch the winner of the internationally-minded Exberliner Award.
EXBlicks – A film & Chat Series
Berlin flicks and the people who made them in a real Kiez Kino
achtung berlin – English Days at Lichtblick-Kino
presented by EXBERLINER
Films: 7,50 € – Screening will be followed by Q&As
Sunday Film + Brunch: 10 €
2 Films + Brunch: 16 €
Brunch between the films presented by EXBerliner,
kindly supported by GreenGurus and Flying Roasters.
achtung berlin – the new berlin film award, Apr 19–26