The biggest little festival in Berlin
Throughout the year Berlin is host to over 100 independent film festivals, and most of them are held at the Moviemento Kino in Neukölln. Not only is it the oldest cinema in Berlin, but the Moviemento Kino is also the most popular cinema for film festivals both short and long. Every September for the past eight years, the Down Under Berlin Film Festival (DUB) has spent five days filling Moviemento Kino with superb and diverse film from Australia and New Zealand. This year is no exception as the screen comes to life during the 2018 festival titled, ‘The Landscape of Us’, running from September 19th – 23rd. The theme is an homage not only to this year’s beautiful and haunting film landscapes that are a visual treat for the eyes, but also an invitation to the audience to explore the inner landscapes of the stories they represent — the personal, emotional, social, historical and political landscapes of Down Under.
Over five days DUB screens an impressive 10 feature length or documentary films and 40 short films. The short films are spread over six different short film program screenings, including the Australian Short Film Today reel from the Chris and Francesca Beale Foundation and the very exciting Battle of the Shorts evening. This is where New Zealand and Australian film battle it out against one another over two sessions. Only one film per session is crowned the winner! The audience chooses the winner, and the filmmaker that wins will receive prizes in the form of online subscription packages to film platforms or music licensing websites. Perfect prizes for filmmakers everywhere!
Addressing current topics, such as masculinity and the treatment of Indigenous Australians, the festival opens with the critically-acclaimed western, Sweet Country, by Warwick Thornton, and closes with Pete Gleeson’s depiction of Australian country life in his bold documentary, Hotel Coolgardie. Other angles are taken by Adrian Russell Wills’s celebrated documentary, Black Divaz, which is just one example of LGBTIQ content within this year’s program, and Jo-Anne Brechin’s romantic drama, Zelos, told from the perspective of a modern man.
If you missed the satirical, political documentary, Terror Nullius, at the Exposed film festival in Berlin earlier this year, you can catch it at DUB. Or, if scaring yourself is more appealing, bravely walk into the screening of Australian horror, The Marshes.
Made by Female Directors
Down Under Berlin is proud of the fact that 50% of all films in this year’s program are made by women. Highlights here are New Zealand feature, Waru, directed by eight female Maori filmmakers, Terror Nullius (mentioned above) by female art-collective Soda_Jerk, and the personal documentary, Symphony on Skis, from New Zealand/German Carla Braun-Elwert.
Meet the Filmmakers
Some screenings are also attended by the filmmakers themselves, some of which reside in Berlin and others who are on the festival circuit and make the trip to Berlin to join in the festival fun. This means there will be some interviews and Q & A sessions with the filmmakers after their screening. Additionally, there will be drinks in the festival lounge after the films. Whatever your film taste, the landscapes of Down Under Berlin 2018 will entertain and challenge you by what both Australia and New Zealand lay on their sleeves: their hearts. Check out the entire DUB 2018 program here, and treat yourself to a night out — or two or three!
All images courtesy of Down Under Berlin.