Berlinale Residency “24/7″ / Berlin, Germany

Berlinale Residency “24/7″ / Berlin, Germany

for writer-directors, so directors writing their own film script, from all over the world,
who are currently working on a feature film project (fiction, documentary, or cross-media) for theatrical release, with a production company attached and who already released a feature length film at an A-list international film festival

Creative impulses and cinematic synergies…
using what Berlin film-wise has to offer

Berlinale Residents 2015
The Berlinale Residency” is running its 2015 edition from September 1 to November 30, hosting these three filmmakers on the picture above. The Berlin International Film Festivalsresidency programme welcomes Fernando Eimbcke, Mexico, Ella Manzheeva, Russia, and Daniel Borgmann, New Zealand/Denmark. They are this years’ fellows of the “Berlinale Residency”, which belongs to the scheme “24/7″ of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.
These three screenwriters/directors applied with their current feature film scripts, succeeded the selection process, and now participate in the three moths term, staying at the capital of Germany.

Already when applying, their projects need to be in a quite elaborated phase, at least existing in first draft and a producer attached. Fernando Eimbcke and Ella Manzheeva already have been participants of Berlinale Talents previously – by coincidence, as it is not premise.
They have the opportunity to maximize the potential of their projects and to find their audiences, without limiting the creative qualities of the stories they want to tell – as it is depicted officially.

Residency Welcome Dinner 2015,
with Ella Manzheeva, Fernando Eimbcke and Daniel Borgman.
This photo was posted on Facebook 2nd September.

Residency Welcome Dinner 2015, with Ella Manzheeva, Fernando Eimbcke and Daniel Borgman

How does it work?
The team of the festival is taking good care of their fellows. First contact person is residency coordinator Kathi Bildhauer who is practically helping, organising, guiding and counseling them, as well as coordinating their personal programme. Every participant also has a scriptwriting mentor by her or his side, with regular meetings and sessions on their film project.
If possible, the festival team tries to match experts and residents also due to language capacities so that sometimes contents can be discussed in the fellow’s mother tongue. A great obligingness especially when it comes down to tinker or polish nuances in dramaturgy and dialogue. Other industry mentors counseling on production, financing, sale, festival release and various aspects will follow.

65. Berlinale poster kl
Berlinale office corridor located at Potsdamer Platz.

The first “Berlinale Residency” took place in 2012, arosen from ideas and a lot of efforts to establish such a programme by Christine Tröstrum, Project Manager/Berlinale Talents, and Matthijs Wouter Knol, since June 2014 director of the Berlinale European Film Market (EFM).
The first two editions were carried out in collaboration with the Nipkow Programm and six fellows could participate at a time. Since then, the concept was adapted and changed a bit: E.g. the project sessions are held in 1:1’s by now, not with all mentors coming together at once. Moreover, only three filmmakers are accepted in 2015, but each one having a ‘godfather’, a Berlinale staff member who is taking care in a very personal way. Also the partnership with the International Film Festival Guadalajara, Mexico, and the exchange of fellow filmmakers doesn’t exit anymore due to modifications in funding.
Now, the scheme can take place with the support of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH and the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), Germany.
Kathi at the office
The “Berlinale Residency” fosters an open application system - not based on recommendation or patronages, but a fair process with two application rounds to get through. So, the jury is openly named and decisions are trackable. This year, about 60-70 applications were submitted, as Kathi Bildhauer tells. It is not conditional to have been cooperating with the Berlinale before, whether screening a film at the festival or participating at the script or doc station of Berlinale Talents, but fact is: most of the residents so far did.

residents with Dieter Kosslick
The photo above shows Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick in the middle, Kathi Bildhauer (left), and participants of the 2013 edition.

The writer-directors receive three monthly grants of 1.500 Euro each, enabling them to live and work in Berlin for this period. Accommodation needs to be self-organised, but surely the fellows will find help and good advice. A programme is set up for them, e.g. a special cinematic series introducing the residents and showing their filmic works three days in a row at Arsenal, Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V. in November. Network-events, dinners, meetings and familiar gatherings with renowned film professionals, like Wim Wenders,
are made up, and of course a trip to Filmpark Babelsberg is indispensable.
An invitation to the Berlinale Co-Production Market which takes place during the festival in February is included. It is also obligatory for the filmmakers and their producers to attend the 3-day Residency workshop in November.
The residents are expected to present their projects at the market in a well-developed stage in order to have the best opportunities to find co-production partners and financiers for their projects.

residents 2013
Residents 2013

To conclude:
The aim is
to support the writer-directors and their new projects not only script development-wise, but also in terms of production, financing and marketing and to connect them with potential partners. So that their films can hopefully be realised soon. Existing partnerships, synergies and networks are benefited from and new ones are set up.
With small budgets, but a very engaged and heartfelt team, plus smartly benefiting of a dense industry structure this AIR is truly recommendable. Hopefully residency funding from national and European bodies (generally) will improve and the staff will receive more backup, so that the programme can expand again. Fundings especially dedicated to promote cultural exchange and artist mobility are still to be broadened.
Certainly every alumni will state the personal and professional progressions – at least when standing in the limelight on a red carped at the occasion of premiering their feature film. Then the time of decent reflection and acknowledgment of the great support gained from programmes like this one has come.

Kathi Bildhauer
Christine Tröstrum m.Br
Nicole Münch 2

More info
 on current residents, their projects and programme as well as about applications for the upcoming year can be found on the Berlinale Residency homepage and via the official Berlinale Facebook page.

Interview with:
Kathi Bildhauer, Berlinale Co-Production Market / Talent Project Market / Berlinale Residency (left),
Christine Tröstrum, Berlinale Talents (right), and
Nicole Münch / Berlinale Talents (left, b/w);

Photos: A.M., ©Berlinale, Nicole Münch,
Berlin, 14th July 2015.