Another day, another trio of announcements from the Berlin International Film Festival (February 9 through 19). First off, this year's Berlinale Camera has been presented to Haro Senft, "one of the pioneers of New German Cinema as well as a tireless advocate of German children films... He was the initiator of DOC 59, a group based in Munich at the end of the 1950s; many of its members went on to sign the Oberhausen Manifesto in 1962." His 1961 documentary short Kahl was nominated for an Oscar and Bruno Ganz gave his first performance in a major role in Senft's first narrative feature, Der sanfte Lauf (1967).
"In 1971 he resigned from all his positions related to film policy and devoted himself unlike anyone else to developing a culture of children's films. With his films Ein Tag mit dem Wind (1978) and Jacob hinter der blauen Tür (1987) he set the standard for the genre." Because Senft can no longer travel, festival director Dieter Kosslick's already presented the Berlinale Camera to him in Munich. Still, the festival will screen Ein Tag mit dem Wind (image up there to the left) on February 15.
With 19 titles confirmed, the lineup for Panorama Dokumente, the program of documentaries within the Panorama program, is almost complete. The series will open on February 10 with Sean McAllister's The Reluctant Revolutionary, "about a Yemenite tourist guide who slowly abandons his professional distance towards the political “spring” in his country. His experiences with a customer, one of the last tourists in these turbulent times, politicize him."
The other films, with descriptions from the festival:
Anak-Anak Srikandi (Children of Srikandi) by the Children of Srikandi Collective, Germany/Indonesia - World Premiere. On "what it means to be a queer woman in Muslim Indonesia."
Angriff auf die Demokratie - Eine Intervention (Democracy Under Attack - An Intervention) by Romuald Karmakar, Germany - WP.
Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by Dagmar Schultz, Germany - WP. "Focuses on this self-defined 'black, lesbian, feminist, mother, warrior, poet' and her years in Berlin. It recounts how she inspired the development of an Afro-German movement and became a mentor for an entire generation of young women students."
Brötzmann - Da gehört die Welt mal mir (Brötzmann – That’s When The World Is Mine) by Uli M Schueppel, Germany - WP. With Caspar Brötzmann, Eduardo Delgado Lopez and Danny Lommen.
Call Me Kuchu by Malika Zouhali-Worrall, Katherine Fairfax Wright, USA - WP. "Examines the brutal murder on the Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato in 2009, and its pre-meditation for political and Christian-religious reasons, also in the media."
Detlef by Stefan Westerwelle, Jan Rothstein, Germany - WP. With Detlef Stoffel, Anneliese Stoffel, Gustav-Peter Wöhler, Lilo Wanders and Corny Littmann.
Herr Wichmann aus der dritten Reihe (Henryk from the Back Row) by Andreas Dresen, Germany - WP.
In the Shadow of a Man by Hanan Abdalla, Egypt - WP. In Cairo, "women eloquently portray their views of events and take a crucial look at the long years of pre-revolutionary times without which present-day uprisings are not understandable: then as now, it’s about the equal distribution of power and this cannot be achieved without gender empowerment, as revealed by slogans such as: 'my silence makes me lose my rights,' 'divorce is freedom' or 'my patience has reached its end.'"
König des Comics (King of Comics) by Rosa von Praunheim, Germany - WP. With Ralf König, Joachim Król, Hella von Sinnen and Ralph Morgenstern. A portrait of König, "one of Germany’s greatest cartoonist and comic book creators."
La Vierge, les Coptes et Moi (The Virgin, the Copts and Me) by Namir Abdel Messeeh, France/Qatar/Egypt. "Presents events following a Marian apparition in a Coptic village – the only proof of the miracle is a rather unconvincing VHS recording. Here, too, the women are strong, whether in their new French homeland or their native villages in Egypt."
Marina Abramović The Artist Is Present by Matthew Akers, USA.
Olhe pra mim de novo (Look at Me Again) by Kiko Goifman, Claudia Priscilla, Brazil.
The Summit by Franco Fracassi, Massimo Lauria, Italy - WP. On the G8 Summit in Genoa in 2001. "It gives the backdrop and exposes the web of lies related to the death of the demonstrator Carlo Giuliani. It also tells how neo-fascist provocateurs were involved in escalating the violence, and gives insight into the development of the brutality of the state at previous demonstrations, from Brokdorf to Naples, Gothenburg and Seattle."
Unter Männern - Schwul in der DDR (Among Men – Gay in East Germany) by Markus Stein, Rösener Ringo, Germany - WP. With Eduard Stapel, Frank Schäfer, Jürgen Wittdorf, John Zinner and Helwin Leuschner.
Vito by Jeffrey Schwarz, USA. A portrait of film historian Vito Russo, who "gave his famous lecture 'The Celluloid Closet' during the Panorama in 1983, when it was still called the Info-Schau. The book that expanded this lecture became a standard work of queer film history. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman made a film of the same name, which won the Berlinale’s TEDDY Award in 1996."
Words of Witness by Mai Iskander, USA - WP. In Cairo, "a 22-year-old woman journalist questions people on the streets about parliamentary elections and democracy, and so conveys the picture of a well-informed public whose goals often turn into clearly formulated demands on this new era."
New feature films added to the Panorama lineup:
Diaz - Don’t Clean Up This Blood by Daniele Vicari, Italy/Romania/ France - WP. With Elio Germano, Alessandro Roja and Claudio Santamaria. "Aattempts to show from a number of perspectives what happened when the authorities lost all self-control and overstepped the law" during the G8 Summit in Genoa in 2001. "The film presents the ugly face of New Europe so vividly that the events are experienced as an urgent warning for what threatens today."
Sharqiya (Central Station) by Ami Livne, Israel/France/Germany - WP. With Adnan Abuwadi and Naisa Abel El Haidi. "Israeli Bedouins are losing the ancestral lands where they rove and are supposed to settle in brand new villages."
The third batch of items out of Berlin today focuses on the Berlinale Talent Campus, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The Campus has a new main partner in the Robert Bosch Stiftung, support from Focus Forward, a documentary initiative in New York, and a round of high-profile participants who'll be speaking, conducting masterclasses and so on: Juliette Binoche, Gaston Kaboré, Volker Schlöndorff, Victor Kossakovsky, Sophie Fiennes, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, cinematographer Ed Lachman, novelist and screenwriter Yan Geling, costume designer Sandy Powell, Andie MacDowell, Christine Vachon and Ted Hope.
Also: "Directors Guy Maddin (Keyhole) and Jasmila Žbanić (Grbavica) and cinematographer Judith Kaufmann (When We Leave, Four Minutes) form the jury of the Berlin Today Award 2012 'Every Step You Take,' the Campus short film competition."