Rather uncomfortably, I’m typing this article from 40000ft in the air, approximately 15000km from home and with the glow of Moscow emanating through my plane window. I’m on my way to Berlin, you see, and since my postcard of a TV monitor has decided to shut down on me – perhaps it was just as fed up playing the Daniel Craig thriller Dream House as I was watching it? – I’ve got nothing better to do than to tell you why I’m heading to the land of the lederhosen.
This being a film site, the obvious answer would be that I’m attending the 62nd Berlinale, the renowned film festival that showcases some of the finest international films of the new year before Cannes shows up and takes all the credit. But that’s only part of the reason. Coinciding with the festival is the 10th Berlinale Talent Campus, a yearly event in which young and upcoming filmmakers are invited to Berlin to participate in a week of lectures, workshops and networking events led by industry professionals such as Werner Herzog, Mike Leigh, Keanu Reeves and many others. The Campus also invites a handful of burgeoning film critics to hone their craft under the mentorship of professional film writers, and after applying late last year, I was among the lucky few accepted to attend. That’s why I’m currently on a plane to Berlin, where I will be tutored on how to be a better film writer, as well as how to survive as a film critic in a world where film critics are not surviving. There aren’t many initiatives out there supporting the endangered art of film criticism, so I feel very fortune to be a part of one that does.
So now all I have to do is get there (preferably in one piece thanks QANTAS). I’m excited, nervous, tired and a little bit annoyed by the people casually trying to read what I’m typing whilst they queue in the aisle for the toilet. (Yes you, gentleman in the blue shirt!) Still, ‘excited’ is certainly the prevailing emotion. I can’t wait to see what treasures Berlin has in store; I’m told it’s one of the most happening places on the planet, although given how bloody cold it is this time of year, I imagine that’s partly because you’ll freeze to death if you ever stand still!
If time permits, I plan to catch a few films playing at the festival and review them for this here website, but given that time will most likely not be very permitting, don’t be surprised if I don’t. Besides, you can always re-read Tom Clift’s excellent coverage of the Rotterdam International Film Festival if you’re itching to know what’s happening on the festival circuit.
Ok, I’ve just been given that look from the person seated in front of me that says they want to recline their chair, so unless I want a laptop to the pancreas, I best be off. Auf Wiedersehen!