HIGH REPUTATION

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.


 

Akademie Schloss Solitude / Stuttgart, Germany

Akademie Schloss Solitude / Stuttgart, Germany

for emerging and advanced professionals in Architecture, Visual ArtsPerforming Arts, DesignLiteratureMusic/Sound and Video/Film/New Media;
furthermore for scholars, scientists and professionals from the disciplines of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Economy/Economics

The Becoming of what not yet Is –
On promoting talents and the genesis of art

Akademie Schloss Solitude (Academy Castle Solitude) was established to promote art and culture, in particular by awarding residence fellowships to emerging artists and organising artistic encounters, seminars and conferences, performances, lectures, concerts and exhibitions by fellows and guests.
Swiftly, it became one of Germany’s most renowned artist residencies, offering the highest capacity of furnished live/work studios for guest artists. Up to 45 residents with divers cultural and professional backgrounds can be hosted at once within the castle’s facilities.


The two officers and cavalier’s buildings facing the Baroque castle contain the living, working and exhibition areas of the Akademie since 1990. While the Rococo exterior and classical parks nowadays mostly serve as wedding location – a young engaged couple stepped in right behind me to make an appointment mistakenly at the residency reception – the other part of these grounds are a vivid laboratory for artistic research and cultural practice.
In 2015, the institution celebrates its 25th anniversary, still under alert lead of the programme’s Founding and Artistic Director, Jean-Baptiste Joly.


A lot of events, exhibitions, performances, concerts and conferences take place, not only at the castle, but at special sights and places. You can take the chance to watch the video documentation of the ongoing exhibitions at Akademie Solitude and the performances of the opening night.
Special thanks to all participating artists – Mica Cabildo, Stephanie Choi, István Csákány, Nestór García Díaz, Bill Dietz, Miako Klein, Carolin Liedtke, Sînziana Păltineanu, Cyriaque Villemaux!
Video by Hagen Betzwieser.


Artists are accepted for a period of three to twelve months, receiving a grant by the institution. Applications can be submitted every two years during an announced period – since 2014 also online. That caused the fact that the number of entries nearly doubled on about 3000. Cheers to the work of the fantastic team of Akademie Schloss Solitude and the jury that ever reassembles the selection of artists within the divers disciplines was made.
Now, their art projects find realisation within the anniversary year.
The focus always remains on the artists with a very personal approach. At Akademie Schloss Solitude the creation and generation of art as well as the promotion of artistic talents is the driving force of all efforts.

More info on the Akademie Schloss Solitude homepage and on Facebook.

Photos:
A.M.;

Interview with:
Prof. Jean-Baptiste Joly,
Director of the Akademie Schloss Solitude,
Konstantin Lom,
Administrative Director,
Angela Butterstein,
Coordinator Press and Public Relations,
Claudia Gehre and
Clara Herrmann,
Art Coordination Fellows 2014;
Stuttgart, 5th November 2014 and
Berlin, 23rd April 2015.


 

Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo / Rome, Italy

Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo / Rome, Italy

for Creatives within the disciplines of:
fine arts, literature, music/composition and architecture

This residency stipend is one of the most important awards of Germany for outstanding artists

Villa Massimo, short for Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo or Italian: Accademia Tedesca Roma Villa Massimo, is a German art institute in Rome. The entrepreneur Eduard Arnhold established it in 1910. Several buildings belong to the complex embedded in a neo-classicistic park, which is maintained in the finest. It is located only three metro stops east of central station ‘Roma Termini’ near Piazza Bologna.

The tradition of art and culture patronage of Academies as an elite promotion model, has worked well for more than 100 years. (See Angela Windholz: ET IN ACADEMIA EGO*, also considering e.g. the Académie de France Villa Medici or the American Academy on Janiculum Hill.)
It is an anachronistic phenomenon regarding art historical periods and movements in the 20th and 21st century. Yet the attraction of art practitioners to this form seems perpetual.

*Angela Windholz: ET IN ACADEMIA EGO – Ausländische Akademien in Rom zwischen künstlerischer Standortbestimmung und nationaler Repräsentation 1750 – 1914. Regensburg 2008, ISBN: 978-3-7954-2060-4, 472 pp.


The sheer number of applications proves it:
Villa Massimo annually receives approximately 1.600 applications for 9 places available, plus the stipends for a three months stay at Casa Baldi in Olevano Romano, a village south-east of Rome, about one hour away.
To cope with this huge amount of submissions, fine artists, who form the biggest group of applicants of all disciplines, have to apply on country level, whereas all other artists need to submit their intent on federal level.
Facing times of neo-liberalism for decades, many creative professionals are scouting for an escape. Those artists are intensely seeking for the safety of an institutional patron to be relieved from the economic pressure of continually producing.

Despite this, the Academy historically favours established and renowned artists, who might not be at the bottom of the food chain.
The statue on the column shows the profile of Eduard Arnhold and a plaque to honour him, the founder of the villa.

Who would not love to receive the honour of a stipend like this? Spending an entire year devoted to inspiration and practice, resting at a magnificent, paradise-like place, just enjoying the scent of pine and cypress in the air and the flickering light breaking through tree leaves.


Just imagine being handed over such a bright apartment, completely empty – fully reset to zero – not even a salt shaker in the kitchen remaining from the predecessor. Not to mention the capacity to bring over family – the two-storey studios are large enough and the scholarship includes a monthly stipend of 2.500 Euro.
Moreover, other artists and experts can be suggested for an invitation of a week of interaction, staying in one of the noble guest apartments in the main building.

Jazz musician and percussionist Paul Lovens maps out his brain on his desk, the day before leaving his studio here. With 50 years experience of touring the world and more than 200 audio releases, he set a special interest in music improvisation.
The two photos in this column give an impression of the studio of Thilo Folkerts, landscape architect and founder of 100Landschaftsarchitektur, who specialised on experimental gardening concepts. He let us sneak in and was so kind to open the park-fronted doors.

Those residents who are interested in certain architectures, excavation sites, particular museums and archives only need to communicate their ideas to the Artist’s Relations Coordinators.
The gentle team, with its connections and special contacts, can make exceptional things possible. For example, they organise trips and tours with expert guides, who open
gates that, for the ordinary audience, normally remain closed.

Almost inevitably, the fellows witness the cultural policy of Italy. The centre of the great Roman Empire and cradle of the arts is currently reducing opening hours of monuments, or closing down exhibition venues completely. Institutions and NGO’s face ongoing financial cuts and ambiguous private funding guidelines.
With a stoic fearlessness, the director of Villa Massimo, Dr. Joachim Blüher, assesses this current situation.
He explains his perspective within the historicist conception of progress – the importance of artist and research residency programmes for the constitution, confirmation and modification of cultural identities.
The director also expresses his appreciation of other German ‘Künstlerhäuser’, like Villa Concordia, Schloss Balmoral or Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani, and other institutions with which Villa Massimo has entered into a composite.

What a contrast – to come back to the broad park of the villa on 36.000 sqm, secluded from the outside world by high walls and a heavy iron gate. A trench opens up, not only between Romanesque improvisation and German management logic, but also between the ‘island’ situation of the Creative and the entire production process.
On one hand, the artists are remain among themselves within this locked park, on the other hand, they are encouraged to deliver creative output that is linked with or refers to the region and the locals.

Well known on the cultural agenda of the Romans are the divers events taking place at the villa, like lectures, concerts or exhibitions. Just to mention the ‘Sander-Lerski exhibition’, the kick-off for ‘fotografia’, a show series curated by Ute Eskildsen,
that draw a broad public. Or the ‘Electric Campfire’, which attracted especially the younger local audience.
The photo above shows the ‘Mosaik-Saal’ getting prepared for another evening event the same day.

But what is expected from the artists in return?

Certainly, it is an adherence to a philosophy of a high profile organisation, representing a state like an embassy, and the behaviour in consciousness of cultural diplomacy.
Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry for Cultural Affairs and Media, of the Chancellery of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For the artists, that also means not producing an artistic intervention, which could be interpreted as offensive to any social group or religion.
Following an extensive three-year restoration, in 2003 the Academy started a renewed commitment to nurturing culture in Rome and in Italy. For 2016, a climate-sensitive conversion is planned, interrupting the residency operations, which will be taken up again in September – from then on following the academic, instead of the calendar year.

Those Creatives to whom these structures sound obsolete and outdated perhaps should rethink their intent to apply – at least for the annual residency. There is also another short-term scheme running, the so-called ‘practice-scholarships’.
With this programme, the director appoints fellows without any selection jury attached. They will be accommodated in the same modern studios of the lane houses, numbered 1-10, that have a rear garden for residents only.

Undoubtedly, there is an agreement on the value of arts and culture for society and the consciousness about the privileged situation in which Germany is to be able to sustain its artists. We all can be grateful for that.
A heartfelt thank you for welcoming me.

Photos: A.M.; Interview with:
Dr. Joachim Blüher, Director, Sylvia Metz and Julia Trolp, Artist Liaisons,
Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo
Rome, 24th September 2014.


 

Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg / Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany

Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg / Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany

1) for filmmakers: screenwriters, directors, producers, but as well
camerapersons, editors, costume and set designers, composers and sound designers
2) for young media professionals: digital techs, visual artists, cross-media researchers

Spectacular cities to explore for filmmakers
And a new AIR programme to come soon:
media pros in interchange Berlin-New York

‘24/7’ AIR programmes

About five years ago Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg started to run its residency programmes called ‘24/7’, at first only welcoming filmmakers from abroad in Berlin-Brandenburg.
Since more than three years it is working reciprocally and gives film creative from Germany, based in the capitol region, the opportunity to travel to Israel, France, China, India and Mexico, and to host film professionals from these countries contemporaneously.

The aim is to provide the chance to work on, maybe even to realise a project abroad, like writing a film script, or just to find inspiration from the different culture, habits, landscapes and languages for the tangible work.
The already existing running residency programmes are affiliated in the department Film Funding, especially in charge is Dr. Teresa Hoefert de Turégano.
In terms of selection of course, Managing Director Kirsten Niehuus is strongly involved.


To let the stipends profit the most within the short period of time – the duration of the stay varies between two and three months according to the city – the cooperation with local partners is intense right from the beginning. This includes networking events and dinners introducing the guest to the film- and media industry on site, and setting up contacts considering the individual needs of the participants.
Depending on the destination, housing and programming is organised differently.
For example, the close collaboration with the Israel Film Fund is the most established one. Executive Director Katriel Schory is involved throughout the procedure,
including the application- and selection process till the practical realisation and involvement of the German fellow.
In Tel Aviv e.g. housing is arranged in a private flat, unlike to Paris.
There the exchange fellows are accommodated at the Cité Internationale des Arts based in the 4th arrondissement, hence directly in the city centre of Paris around ÎIe Saint-Louis, where they find ateliers, rehearsal studios, and moreover common space for commutation and reflection with artists of divers disciplines and backgrounds. Detailed information on the other cities, on deadlines and requirements can be found online.


Former fellows were e.g. Samuel Maoz with his project ‘Foxtrott’ (working title), who is the director of the multiple awarded feature film debut ‘Lebanon’, 2009.
Also director Matthias Luthardt participated as a resident in Tel Aviv with his film project ‘The Dog’, which will be in production soon.
One of the first stipends hosted in Berlin was the Israeli-Arab director/screenwriter Suha Arraf, writing the script for her film ‘Villa Touma’ here, the film shown at this years’ Venice Film Festival, causing scandals

related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the request for reimbursement of funds.
Generally, Medienboard has a flexible approach to the projects the candidates are applying with as well as to the practical proceedings on location. The focus remains on the personal profile and requirements of the stipend.
A tip for potential applicants: Teresa Hoefert de Turégano emphasised that the motivation letter is particularly important to her, stressing motives for and impact on the creative work.

Since 2013, there is also an AIR collaboration with Villa Aurora Berlin/L.A., the former house of German-Jewish writer in exile Lion Feuchtwanger in Pacific Palisades, California. This exchange is to enable one fellow routed in film business to link with Hollywood and stay in L.A. for a quarter of a year, together with three other residents from different branches.
See the blog article about the residency Villa Aurora, L.A.

To reach the Medienboard offices at Media City via public transport, the closest S-Bahn train station is ‘Griebnitzsee’. Just across from the station’s entrance there is beautiful lake Griebnitz. It is definitely worth climbing down the stairs for taking a little timeout and looking over the waters on a late summer’s day.


New Media AIR ‘Berlin-NY, NY-Berlin’

Medienboard and Made in NY Media Center by IFP are currently developing an exchange programme for young media entrepreneurs and creatives.

The new media fellowship created by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg in conjunction with NY Media Center offers digital media professionals the opportunity to swap living and working environments with their transatlantic peers.
The scheme was largely adapted, taking over successful modules, plus adding branch specific extra aspects:
Two entrepreneurs, media professionals and young business people from the Berlin region have the chance of a three-month fellowship in New York City. While at the same time two New York media practitioners and creatives will be invited to spend three months in Berlin-Brandenburg, being accommodated in the city.
The stipend will include workspace in a co-working facility at an interesting hotspot for Start-ups and young business people in the media and digital sector fostering creativity and the share of expertise, prospectively in Berlin-Kreuzberg. An individually tailored mentoring programme is rounding up the concept. The media residency programme will take place from April till June 2015, offering the fellows the opportunity to attend industry events such as Berlin Web Week and Internet Week New York, both taking place in May.
The goal of the programme is to strengthen the international networks linking these two media hubs, particularly interesting through its interdisciplinary approach and the coaching elements.

The facts
Both residency programmes cover travel and accommodation costs, both organised by partner institutions; In Berlin e.g. the practical proceedings are taken over by Nipkow Programm and Startup Germany. Moreover, the fellows receive a monthly allowance of 1.000 Euro.
The calls are sent out in autumn, and the selected next term residents are usually announced on a festive occasion during Berlin International Film Festival.
Especially in the film and media branch, realising a project and producing a film is a process, which takes a long time, usually several years. So it is kind of immanent to grow and keep connected with the fellows through their careers.


And who actually is…?

The Made in NY Media Center by IFP  Designed by MESH Architects, it is a multi-disciplinary creative space with nearly 2.000 sqm at 30 John Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn. It is a place where storytellers from multiple disciplines, industries and platforms create, collaborate, connect and incubate across a spectrum of programmes, events and experiences. The Center brings together innovators in film, video, gaming, technology, and more through education, mentorship, entrepreneurship and content creation.

Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
The company is the first stop for professionals in film and media industries in the area. It unites film funding and business development of both federal states, Berlin and Brandenburg, under one roof.
Its goal is to strengthen and further develop the film and media industry in the capital region.


More info on the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg homepage and on Facebook.

Photos: NY Media Center, A.M.;
Interview with:
Dr. Teresa Hoefert de Turégano,
Filmfunding Advisor, and
Alex Röhl,
Consultant Media Business Development,
Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH,
Babelsberg, 20th August 2014.


 

Int. Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia / Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany

Int. Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia / Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany

for writers, composers and fine artists

‘We believe that new art should be talked about, should be read, seen, heard and experienced.

…Art exists and lives not just through the artists themselves, but also through those who read it, look at it and listen to it.’

According to this credo the very dedicated cultural and art supportive people of the Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia realise a truly intercultural exchange and open house programme.
It is boosted by a spectacular place, a baroque-classicistic palace itself located at the old town of the Bavarian trade city of Bamberg, and well-sustained by the Ministry of Culture of the Free State of Bavaria.
The Artist Residence is in its 16th year of existence, also introducing the new European candidate countries, like the Czech Republic in 1999. The fix personnel comprises five persons who are taking care of organisational matters, communication
and also of the publications such as yearbooks and CD’s.
The director of the Künstlerhaus herself is not only manager, but also artist herself: the writer and poet Nora-Eugenie Gomringer. She is in charge of this position since nearly five years, bringing in not only managing skills, but also a vivid artistic side and art connections.

Before, head of the institution was Bernd Goldmann – of course in that period the focus of his work was mainly the construction of an emerging AIR and the rehabilitation of the buildings.
Yes, plural, as it is not only the building of Villa Concordia with it’s new glass building
attached in the garden, which is hosting six double storey artists’ apartments with view to the beautiful baroque garden and the river Regnitz.
The first residential year after their construction was 1999, before there were two other buildings hosting, a rented one at Schillerplatz and one of them still serves
as a residence and working place:
At the building at Neuer Ebracher Hof, in short walking distance, the other six apartments, studios and working ateliers are to be found. The administrative offices are located at Villa Concordia since 2003, after completing the renovation works there.

It is a dream spot working in these wide and high stuck decorated premises, including a library, the exhibition area flooded with natural light, where at present the former resident fine artist Ryszard Kajzer is presenting his poster works.
Some pick up regional symbols and icons Bamberg is known for, like he did with the city contour of ‘seven mountaintops and eight church spires’. Ryszard Kajzer also
brought three large banners of a former artistic project, which were hanged on the garden wall.
All fine artists have the chance to present their works in an up to six weeks long exhibition. If collectors want to purchase a piece of art, the AIR is commissioning without charging any fee.
But Villa Concordia is not only taking care of the current artists, the colleagues take a lot of efforts to stay in touch with their alumni and to keep the collaboration alive. From time to time artists keep coming back for realising an art or educational project in interaction with the Künstlerhaus and other institutions of the region.

Special about this AIR is that the residency term is nearly one year for all 12 annual fellows. The cast always consists of half German artist and half are representatives / nationalities of one selected country, a country to be introduced in the cultural fields of literature, music and fine arts during this year.
So, the assembly is always four writers, four composers/musicians and four fine artists of all sectors. Usually the authors get to live at the biggest ateliers as they mainly work in their place, but surely there is no need for complaints regarding accommodation or any other need. All residents receive 1.500 Euro per month, free accommodation where also family and friends are welcome, only pets have to stay away (which is more about allergies than not wanting animals).
But unfortunately it is an issue for some artists of any league to leave their dogs or cats at home for so long. And for sure the residents can be convinced to receive any possible support in realising their projects.
Not only that the fellows will be introduced in a common welcoming evening, moreover solo events are organised if time and budget allow.

Residents of 2014/2015
The group photo shows (from left to right): Jesús Palomino (fine artist), Javier Salinas (author), Steffen Wick (composer), Michaela Eichwald (fine artist), Brigitta Muntendorf (composer), Michele Di Menna (fine artist), Christine Pitzke (author), José María Sánchez-Verdù (composer), Kerstin Specht (author), Alberto Posadas (composer), Ricardo Menéndez Salmón (author).
Fine artist Antonio R. Montesinos is missing on this photo taken on 15th of April 2014 as he arrived for his fellowship at Villa Concordia later in June.
(photo by Tobias Bohm)


Selection and Board
The fellows cannot apply, but are selected only – fitting the high reputation approach.
The invitation is pronounced by the Cultural Ministry of the State Chancellery of Bavaria, as well as all official letters are sent via this office in Munich.
So, the renowned and high range institution usually welcomes well-situated artists with a lot of award winners amongst them. The selection committee includes representatives of the Free State of Bavaria, the town council (the mayor Dr. Christian Lange), the Villa Concordia board, and artists. The complete Board of Governors is registered on the homepage.
The former owner
The renovation of this former Böttinger building, constructed out of sandstone 1716-1722 and appearing like a Venetian water palais, is truly remarkable. The house was the second one constructed for his 12-headed family, the first one is just down the little cobble stone street towards the city centre, passing by an ancient beer brewery.
Johann Ignatz Tobias Böttinger (1675-1730) was a counsellor of the archbishop and made his fortune also through arms trade. This also had an influence on the wall and ceiling decors showing tribute to this fact e.g. in the representative stairs and hallway to the auditorium.

The main goal of the AIR is to get in touch and interact with one another via the arts. To bond with the locals, to enable the fellows to realise projects at municipal locations or public spaces and to collaborate with residents of Bamberg, this is what the staff indeed succeeds to realise. Not only to present the Villa as an open house with exhibitions and evening events as lectures, concerts and round tables, in the hall as well as in the garden, but to really carry out the art productions created during this 11 months of their stay, beginning in April each year.
Example Jesús Palomino:
In September 2014 he will set up an installation next to the info flyers at the town hall with the topic of gender discrimination and equal rights, based on researches of a Scandinavian philosopher. You can see all current residents here.
In summertime, parallel to when the Festspiele Bayreuth take place not far from Bamberg, there is a special collaboration with the local antiques-shops.
This liaison was established years ago and  is happening during the ‘Bamberger Kunst- und Antiquitätenwochen’ where contemporary art is shown to mark a reflectable contrast.
Many visitors and short-term guests are in town and take profit of the intercultural exchange with the national and international fellows.

 Neighborhood of Villa Concordia.


Actually, it is a true gift to be invited for spending creative time whether hiding away within this idyllic decelerated atmosphere at the dead end of Concordia Street of the medieval old town. Surely it is a place where an artist can find inspiration and muse, having the freedom of interacting with the citizens. Famous Icelandic writer Einar Kárason joined one of the local soccer clubs, for example.
Just walking around these hilly meandering roads, rolling along the river Regnitz, crossed by many bridges, and passing the well-obtained half-timbered houses from the 13th/14th century is so inspiring. On this sunny summers’ day life in this city seems to be full of ease and joy – all the cafés and terraces are loaded, people strolling along the many, many fruit and vegetable market stalls and eating ice-cream. The townscape is typical for the region of Franken, quite alike to Nuremberg just a one hours’ drive further south.
View from one of the many bridges towards the Künstlerhaus.
And left: the old town hall of Bamberg.

Who wonders that until now a large amount of artworks created during the residency or after are fruits of the residency, as there can be named e.g. Mariana Leky with her book ‘Erste Hilfe’ or the Rondi at the Sala Terrena painted by Miron Schmückle.
There is the agreement that no paintings or artworks of the nearly 60 fine artist residents stay at the house – this would be just too much to take care of, in terms of insurance etc., but Schmückle’s work is the only exception.
This artwork was purchased by the Rotary Club of Bamberg and given to the Villa as a present.
All facilities are open and usable for the residents. A boat pier has been set up to connect the riverbanks.
Well, another, a rather practical artwork remained at the Villa:  Stephanie Weiß, deputy director, shows the BBQ grill constructed by Ognian Petkov from Burga, Bulgaria, who was recycling old metal pieces for constructing it which he collected in Bamberg. Who would not love it and imagine an entertaining garden party in good company?

The audience coming to the events are a dedicated strain of spectators plus friends of the resident artists. Mostly the cultural programme is offered admission free.
Also the architect who planned the additional sections of the building, Olaf Struck, by now retired, is coming over regularly to enjoy the programme, but also to get honest feedback about the practicalities of his construction.
The institution is in the comfortable situation of being relatively safe in terms of finances. Anyway, there is a sponsoring association (Förderverein). The house is grateful to be not entirely dependent on grants and funding from third parties, but is welcoming support wholeheartedly.
AIR collaboration meeting
Also in terms of collaborating with other AIRs, the Villa Concordia is engaged in fostering and setting up common projects. For example the house was hosting the annual meeting of directors of residencies this year, welcoming colleagues of about ten other AIRs, like the Villa Massimo, Rome, Centro Tedesco Di Studi Veneziani, Venice, Künstlerhaus Villa Waldberta in Feldafing am Starnberger See, European House of Art Schafhof in Freising/Munich, Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral in Bad Ems or the Heinrich-Böll-Haus in Cologne.
Together with the ‘Künstlerhaus Schwandorf-Fronberg’ there is the tradition of commonly setting up annual concerts at Schwandorf.

Nora-Eugenie Gomringer, director of Villa Concordia, Bamberg
(photo by Tobias Bohm)


More info you can find on the website and on the Facebook-page of Villa Concordia.

Photos: Tobias Bohm, A.M.;
Interview with Stephanie Weiß, deputy director, and Felix Liedel, trainee,
International Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia, 1st August 2014


Tabakalera / San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

Tabakalera / San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain

for artists and curators

A prism shining bright soon for the Basque culture

The old tobacco factory is beautifully located in the city centre of San Sebastián, opposite of the North train station and by the riverside. Changing its means from

Unknown-1producing cigarettes to ‘producing’ culture, their objective is to be a centre for the creation of contemporary culture that is under construction, with the ambition of also generating critical thought, reflection and debate. And at present the term ‘under construction’ can be taken literary: The building from 1913 with its four levels on 13.277 square meters is renovated at present. The construction works were delayed for several months due to the financial crisis in Spain, but then the process moved on constantly. The administration offices of the fifteen permanent employees as well as exhibitions are temporarily located in different rented spaces in order to carry out their activities.

For 90 years the building hosted Spain’s largest tobacco production and was closed in 2003. One year later the whole complex was bought by the Donostia-San Sebastian City Council, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Basque Government in order to transform it into an international contemporary culture centre: contemporary art, video and cinema, design and sound accumulated at the same space. It shall become a singular space of exhibitions and audio-visual programmes and, above all, a place to work, to produce, to create.

Strictly speaking, the institution will work in four areas: 1) contemporary practices including audiovisual contents, 2) laboratories, 3) media library, which will be huge, called Ubik, and 4) mediation to promote the activities in the region.
Prospectively it will be opened in July 2015, just in time for San Sebastián being Cultural Capital of Europe in 2016. Moreover, the building will be hosting several cultural institutions and containing working studios and living space for several artists in residence at the same time, depending on the project.

As the main goal of this endeavour is to promote contemporary cultural creation in various creative fields through all its stages (research, production, exhibition) and to generate and share knowledge, all kinds of artists are welcome. According to Naiara Uranga, press and PR department, local as well as international artists will be invited, also to realise workshops with the inhabitants of the Basque Country, scheduled for one day of up to one week. This shall contribute to create a robust creative community and provide a platform for collaborative work between assorted organisations and the public.

The concept shall be integral and pioneering – fostering international exchange as well as supporting strongly the region.
For example, on the top level there shall be a restaurant offering not only a magnificent view over the city under the lights of the widely shining prism, but also typically Basque dishes.
Apart from the impressive architecture and great contents of Tabakalera, another very
interesting part of a stay in San Sebastián is getting to know more about the Basque language and culture. Not only that most institutions and businesses work bilingually, also Basque poetry has reached a very elaborated and at the same time broad popular impact. This reminds on the ancient greek theatre running spectacles in huge open air arenas for a whole day.


Learn more about the famous Bertsoz and their spontaneous rhyming of lyrical songs on stage in front of thousands of people. In contests lasting up to eight hours the singers are competing for the title of the best – improvising on current topics like political, social and everyday life issues. There is a nice 6 min documentary report on youtube (in Basque language).


More info about Tabakalera and
its programme you find on the
website and on Facebook or watch
the 2:30 min Tabakalera video.

Interview with Naiara Uranga, press and PR department of Tabakalera, July 2014

Photos: Tabakalera, N.U.


Villa Aurora / Pacific Palisades, L.A., California, USA

Villa Aurora / Pacific Palisades, L.A., California, USA

for all fields: visual arts, fine arts, music, literature, film, journalism, courating, etc.Getting the feeling of exile in paradise

Villa Aurora is a unique cultural and historic memorial of German exile history. Artists based in Germany (not necessarily of German nationality) can apply for a three months stay and a one-year fellow is nominated for a residency at the former mansion of the German Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta. They settled here in the mountains above Santa Monica, California, finding their new home in the early 1940’s, fleeing the Nazi regime with several stops e.g. in the south of France and Switzerland, and a dramatic escape over the Pyrenees. Armin Müller-Stahl, Roland Emmerich, Peter Lilienthal, the eccentric filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim as well as the writers/dramaturges Heiner Müller or Wolfgang Becker (writing the film script of ‘Goodbye, Lenin!’ at this house), the directors Hannes Stöhr, Veit Helmer, Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck (film ‘The Life of Others’, 2006), Marc Rothemund (film ‘Sophie Scholl – The Final Days’, 2005) – they all have already been here in this refuge, whether as guest or for an artistic retreat to find the idleness for research, writing and creating. From the terrace towards the downhill side you have a magnificent view to the Pacific Ocean between Santa Monica and Malibu, just where the Sunset Blvd. meets Highway no. 1, leading along the coastline. In February this garden not only hosts the fellows, staff and audience of the cultural events for one evening taking place here, but also the guests and Oscar
nominees of the annual ‘Oscar Party’.In the hallway on the first floor a life large painting of the former owners, the writer in exile, Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta helps keeping their spirit in this special mansion alive.

Nowadays Pacific Palisades is one of the most expensive residential areas where stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Cosby, Steven Spielberg or Diane Keaton. (Diane Keaton published a book about Spanish Revival architecture, also dedicating one chapter to Villa Aurora and showing a window of this house on the cover.)

Literature
California Romantica: Spanish Colonial and Mission-Style House
Text by D. J. Waldie
Created by Diane Keaton,
Photographed by Lisa Hardaway and
Paul Hester Rizzoli, 2007
ISBN:
978-0-8478-2975-0


When Marta and Lion purchased it for only 9.000 US Dollar in 1943, this house was offside of civilization even though showing all means of modern technical features like air conditioning, refrigerator and dishwasher, but it was not in a good condition. The biggest risk was that one part of the house would slide down the mountain. To stabilise the statics was the biggest focus of the reconstruction in the 1990’s.
To get an idea of income in that time: Heinrich Mann came to the States through a ‘writers contact’ and wrote scripts for Warner Brothers for a salary of more than 100 Dollar per week. Lion Feuchtwanger earned about one year after purchasing the Villa Aurora nearly 40.000 Dollar for one script only. From this money bibliophilic Lion Feuchtwanger was fitting out a library and collecting books more than this house could bear. At the end, Lion also stored books in his own bathroom, filling the bathtub until the ceiling. Still today the residential fellows can grab Seneca, the Thora, Machiavelli, Wilde and Ibsen. library & working room 1st floor By car it takes about 40 minutes to get from the sea to Hollywood, to L.A. downtown more than one hour. But in this area, surrounded by orange- and lemon trees, already Thomas Mann and his family, Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel, the Schönbergs and many other artists and intellectuals in exile settled and created something like the ‘Weimar underneath palm trees’. Apart from Bert Brecht also Theodor W. Adorno, Hanns Eisler, Kurt Weill, Aldous Huxley, and especially Charley Chaplin belonged to the close circle of the Feuchtwanger friends, spending a lot of time in their house and garden.
Four rooms are reserved for the fellows – three of the stipends are accommodated for a 3 months period and one for a whole year: the artist in exile stipend, housed in a small apartment parterre. All have their own facilities, sharing several working rooms, library, kitchen, salon, living room. Also extra guest rooms e.g. for board, interns etc. and the operating office are located in the Villa. So there is enough space to gather together as well as to find the peace to work solely, like the upper working room where you still find the original typing machine of Lion or the Blüthner grand piano. (Also an organ is hidden in a room next to the grand salon.) The most likely place to meet up for a funny evening still is the garden terrace coming up the back entrance stairway.
What did not succeed with the property of Thomas Mann, personalities from the German arts, media and politics achieved here – setting up a foundation and raise money to re-purchase the from the University of Southern California (Marta Feuchtwanger donated the mansion and the considerable library to this university after her death in 1987 as the couple did not have any descendants) realising an artist residency according to the idol of Villa Massimo in Rome, Italy, and preserving it as historic landmark of German exile history.


One of the main goals of the transatlantic organisation ‘Villa Aurora e.V.’ is networking for the residential artists. This happens with welcoming and farewell receptions at location, collaborative events at different spots, and connecting in a rather informal, personal way. Co-operations with the Getty Center, the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and the University of Southern California with their Feuchtwanger Memorial Library which is located on the second floor of Doheny Library, were set up. One of the first addresses especially for filmmakers is the Goethe-Institute in L.A., specialised on film and usually screening the films of the residents as a public event.
For those who are more into fine and visual arts: L.A. has a vibrant gallery scene, mainly situated in Chinatown. Have a stroll around there Friday evenings. There you not only can see open exhibitions and the art interested audience, but also have a free beer – yes, a tin of something alcoholic on the street in the US!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWelcoming event for the new fellows

To get in touch with locals and the student scene and to regain the feeling of real life (apart from the closed areas of hidden properties like Bell Air) go and discover the districts Silverlake and Los Feliz.
E.g. at the relaxed bar and restaurant ‘The Dresden’ with relaxed live music you might end up spending an entertaining evening with laid back celebrities.
Even though renowned artists are among the residents of Villa Aurora, it shall not be a house of establishment only. The variety of artistic talents as well as the space and theme related projects are what counts to achieve the well-financed fellowship, including a monthly grant, the reimbursement of the return flight costs, project support, and of course accommodation at the Villa Aurora. Perhaps it is not easy to become selected, but for sure it is worth applying in order to spend an unforgettable time at an extraordinary place combining the creative isle with vibrant urbanity.

transformed Exit signRe-designed EXIT sign by Heiner Müller


The architecture of the Villa up in the mountains of Pacific Palisades in Spanish Revival style built 1928 and renovated in the 1990’s was inspired by a small castle in the south of Spain, as the wood ornamentation on the beams outside as well as the frills on doors and walls inside. Also the ornate tiles – the azulejo-mosaiques – seaming the patio are still originally preserved.


It happens that it does not rain for maybe even two years in this area of former barren landscape. When in late autumn strong winds from the desserts in Nevada come over, the so-called ‘Santa Ana Winds’, forest fires burst easily through the drought and heat, as it was end of 2007.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I took this beautiful sunset photo by the sea just down the Paseo Miramar, the address of Villa Aurora, through the smoke swath approaching from the wood fires in Malibu and Pacific Palisades.

Firefighters, also using helicopters, were struggling to contain the fires for several weeks. Therefore, sometimes threats are very close, even in paradise.



Article in cinearte XL, June 2008

The photos I’ve taken during my three months stay in 2007/2008 were published in cinearte XL, a magazine for film professionals, in June 2008 with the nine pages long article ‘Refugium am Pazifik’ by Karolina Wrobel (in German language only).

Photos: A.M.


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