by Charmaine Gorman –
I’m sure you are all aware how many film festivals take place in Berlin each year. No? Around 100. Crazy right!? So what’s one more in the grand scheme of all things film and fest? Well, actually it’s pretty exciting because its theme is like none other in Berlin at the moment, and the only one of its kind in Germany: The Weihnachtsfilmfestival. So if you are looking for something different to do and get out of the house this Christmas period, why not head to Moviemento Kino to celebrate with the very 1st edition of the Berlin Christmas Film Festival. Short or long, horror or romance, Christmas is a theme not to be missed as it gives such great variety.
We were able to chat to the festival director André Kirchner to ask about the ins and outs of producing a Christmas film festival for the first time, his love for a hot Glühwein, and exactly how his Christmases were spent years ago.
1. Why a Christmas film festival?
As John Waters says in our opening movie Jingle Bell Rocks! (Mitchell Kezin, CA, 2013): “Christmas, you can love it or hate it, but you can’t really ignore it”. Christmas polarises. That’s a perfect playground.
2. How did you spend your Christmases and a child?
I had wonderful Christmases with my family in a village in the Thuringian forest. With a lot of snow, harmony and dark fairytales told by my grandma. I think that’s the reason I still like Christmas. Even I experienced that it’s also a stressful, loud, annoying and emotional dangerous time with too many expectations.
3. How hard was it is to find Christmas themed films and when did you start the search?
I was really overwhelmed of the 848 film submissions from 81 different countries that reached the festival. There was no limitation to genre or length (the film just had to be shot after 2000). That was a great start for a program with a lot of different perspectives on the old fashioned Christmas theme.
4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I think I wanted to be a cook or a teacher. When I was 12 I wanted to be a filmmaker. I can’t cook at all but still do films.
5. What is your day job?
I’m freelancing in the field of media. Sometimes I do image films, sometimes graphics or layouts, photographs, sometimes more production or organisation. It’s never boring.
6. You have a great horror film line up in the program, why is Christmas so attractive for horror films?
It’s the darkest time of the year. There are a lot of creepy stories around Christmas. Mostly it’s about punishment for bad behaviour, like Krampus for example. Christmas itself is like fiction, a runaway from the ordinary life and embedded in a plastic fairytale world. So it’s just a matter of time when the bright and calm spirit of Christmas is attacked by evil.
7. What is your favourite film genre?
I really like movies that are settled in the here-and-now. In terms of genres, I’m open to almost everything.
8. What is your favourite film/s of all time?
For drama, I would say About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, US, 2002). My favorite horror movie is Martyrs (Pascal Laugier, FR, 2008). And in terms of Christmas movies I have to admit Home Alone (Chris Columbus, US, 1990) is hard to top. For me it’s the mother of alternative Christmas movies. I mean a boy who protects his home from burglars – that’s pretty creative.
9. What do you prefer, a Christmas market in the snow, or house-made Glühwein by the fire at home?
Definitely Glühwein by the fire. I’m a big fan of a welcoming and cosy mood. Hope the festival will be like this!
10. Will there be a Christmas film festival in 2017?
It’s not sure yet but I think it would be great to continue. I’m doing the festival together with Teresa Vena. So we’re a pretty small team. It would be awesome to have some more people on board for this wild sleigh ride.
Why not check out some of the films on at the Weihnachtsfilmfestival? And, if you are interested in joining the team for next year, contact André at firstname.lastname@example.org for more Christmas film festival fun!
See you at the movies!
Charmaine Gorman is an Australian actress and writer living in Berlin with her family. As a content writer and editor, she works for many clients around the world, she also facilitates the Robert Marchand acting and directing workshops in Berlin.
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