Having been beavering away in our pre-production cave for many months, we wanted to remind ourselves of what it was like out there with a live audience. We also wanted to raise interest for our next mischievous film: 90 Degrees North.
So in June we decided to show our short Down Under and this month our crowdfunding film for 90 Degrees North at the Open Screening in the Sputnik Cinema, Kreuzberg. Anyone can turn up and show a film they were involved in ? be it as a director, an actor or in one case a composer. The films can be any genre, but no longer than 25 minutes. The organisers do not preview or select the films. Each audience member is equipped with a red card, if they don't like what they see, then they can express their displeasure by raising their card. If there is a majority in raised cards, the film is stopped. Apparently, this has only happened three to four times in the history of the Open Screening. The reason: the room is full of cinephiles and enthusiasts who love independent and sub-cultural filmmaking ? they are willing to give experiments a chance and to engage critically with them in the Q&A that follows each film.
The Sputnik bar was packed to the rafters on the two occasions we went. The range of films and the reasons for their creation and screening is diverse. The Director of Momma's Ashes (Lotje Kerckhaert) was on her honeymoon from the Netherlands and popped in to show her amusing short about two sisters in a massage parlour arguing over their mother's ashes. The Director of Missing Children, Robin Lochmann, had developed an antipathy for his film after sitting for hours on end compositing it in After Effects. He openly said he can't see it anymore. But I thought it had an intriguing narrative structure with a nasty bite. The untitled film by Frank Kallinowski about gentrification best illustrated how the Open Screening allows a rare platform or local filmmakers to vent their frustration. Nothing is Lost (Es Geht Nichts Verloren, Dir. Keti Vaitonis) - a wonderfully restrained love story set against the barren landscape of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ? has had a successful festival tour and has served as a calling card for the next feature film project. Echo (Dir. Kasimir Zierl) came into being whilst the Filmmaker was driving back from a shoot. It was a cold night and fearing the camera was about to seize up, he kept it warm by filming abstract plays of light through the misty windscreen. He added a voiceover from a detective hunting criminals through the night and ended up with an atmospheric piece of serendipitous film.
Open Screening's Abbas Saberi runs the show with humour, respect and enthusiasm. To put it in his own words:
?I am happy that all these talented people can come together and benefit from sharing each other's passion for film.?
Behind the scenes there are the equally enthusiastic Sputnik Cinema team led by Andrea Stosiek. Always on the lookout for suitable short films, they kindly asked if they could show Down Under not only in the Sputnik, but also in the Open Air Cinema Insel im Cassiopia. So far, our short has reached over 1,500 Berlin filmgoers.
On our second visit to the Open Screening we showed the crowdfunding film to 90 Degrees North. A rare opportunity to get a live response to something designed for the web. The Open Screening provide you with an adroit test screen audience. I intend to test a fine cut of 90 Degrees North at the platform.
On my way out I met a member of the audience, a computer scientist...who incidentally is developing a system where you can operate a computer mouse, well the arrow on the screen, with just your brain, it blew my mind...I digress...I asked him why he came, and he said that he loves the Open Screening because it gives him access to a unique film scene, you never know what treasures you might discover.
Take a look at our Startnext Crowdfunding video! And if you like what you see help us make 90 Degrees North with a donation!