by Charmaine Gorman –
And so, another year is over and Down Under Berlin says goodbye, almost.
Down Under Berlin has seen some amazing attendance for our program this year. Even when it was stinking hot in Berlin for our first two days, and the beer gardens were calling, there were people coming to the cinema to celebrate with us. On the really rainy day, some of you saw every screening listed! Both familiar faces and new, it was a pleasure to have you there.
The DUB team came together and we made Moviemento our home for five days, working, watching, organising, drinking, laughing. Thanks Moviemento for being awesome and accommodating film fans and all those with a thing for Australia and New Zealand here in Berlin. We had €2 Bier beers, New Zealand pies and wine from Oma Marnie’s, a bucket load of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey to enjoy, movies 24/7, and a super crowd to show them too.
There were six extra screenings added in total and close to 1100 festival guests. Around 200 pies and sausage rolls as well as several dozens of bottles of wine were enjoyed. You partied with us and the attending filmmakers and guests at Zum Böhmischen Dorf till about 5am Sunday morning, plus let’s not forget our – interestingly enough considering the far distance – super personal skype chat with Australian director Stuart McBratney on Saturday after the screening of his film Pop Up. I think it’s fair to say a good time was had by all over the course of the whole festival – browse festival photos here or check out our 2016 festival playlist on YouTube where you will find videos of Q&A sessions and interviews with attending filmmakers:
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty: Down Under Berlin Audience Awards 2016
You voted, and the winners are…
The Disappearance of Willie Bingham
By Matthew Richards | AUS | 2015 | 12:44 min
We are proud of all our short films. But Down Under Berlin is really quite chuffed that Australia’s The Disappearance of Willie Bingham, by Matthew Richards, was voted this year’s favourite short film. Even though the visuals could be quite confronting, it’s simply a really well-made film, expertly told and shot, with superb actors and a subject matter no one would want to get their head around in the real world.
What’s it all about? – Willie Bingham (Kevin Dee) is the first man to undergo a radical new justice program. The government has introduced Progressive Amputation as a punishment for capital crime, performed live in front of victims’ families, stopping only at their request. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but just as the audience voted, it was your favourite of the bunch in DUB’s 2016 short film program!
About this win, lead actor in the film, Kevin Dee, says “I’m so thrilled to hear ‘The Disappearance Of Willie Bingham’ has taken out the Down Under Berlin Film Festival audience choice award. It’s great to see that this important short is resonating with audiences around the world.”
Filmmaker Mathew Richards adds, ‘I’m both honoured and humbled to hear that Willie has taken out the audience award. It means a LOT that people get it and understand what we are trying to do. Thanks so much everyone!’
Love is Now
By Jim Lounsbury | AUS | 2014 | 97 min | German Premiere
Our audience prize for the best feature-length film goes to this Australian independent film by Jim Lounsbury. What the audience especially liked about Love is Now is the fact that it’s not your average romance film. Yes, it’s a boy meets girl premise, but the protagonist is male and it’s his love for her that ultimately drives the film forward and eventually lets you discover the secrets as to why.
Propelled by new love, Dean (Eamon Farren) and Audrey (Claire van der Boom) embark on a formative adventure following the Australian Harvest Trail, but when Audrey goes missing, Dean discovers significantly more than he ever expected along the way. It’s a romance, mystery, drama, with a twist! Visually it is simply stunning cinematography and the picturesque locations this film offers are beautiful. For the DUB 2016 audience, this was a definite favourite.
Love is Now producer Sam Eather says about the win, “It was amazing to have been selected at your festival and to win the audience award is a great honour!”
Award Prizes 2016
It’s not just praise and pats on the back from Down Under Berlin. We are very happy to be able to present the creators of these two films with an awesome prize.
Our official prize sponsor this year, the Berlin-based tech startup LUUV, provides two of their highly innovative camera stabilizers solidLUUV to the recipients of the audience awards for the category “Best Film” and “Best Short Film”. A perfect gift for our filmmakers! Thank you LUUV you totally rock.
A winner of sorts
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
By Taika Waititi | NZ | 2016 | 93 min | German Premiere
Even though the worldwide smash hit Hunt for the Wilderpeople from Taika Waititi wasn’t eligible for an audience prize, it deserves some DUB praise, as it has been the most successful film screened in Down Under Berlin history!
To say there was simple ‘interest’ in this film is an understatement. Down Under Berlin opened all three of the Moviemento cinemas for a screening at 8.15pm on our closing night. Then, due to the crazy high demand of tickets, we added another late screening at 10.30 in Kino 1. Not enough? Apparently not! A fifth screening was added at 10.30 in Kino 2. And then a sixth!
We are absolutely stoked with the reaction. We are huge supporters of Taika Waititi already. In 2014 we hosted a special preview of his film What we do in the Shadows. Both Taika Waititi and co-creator Jemaine Clement were special guests who entertained a crowd of several hundred in Q&As before the movie.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople surpassed our expectations and we have Down Under Berlin audiences to thank. The audience was a mix of first timers and DUB fans from all over the world, and I don’t think Moviemento has ever housed so many New Zealanders in one night! Their community joined to celebrate this awesome film and Down Under Berlin – THANK YOU!
See you at the movies….next year!
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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