After twelve years of the Filmfest, the question is obvious. How many films have you seen professionally during this time?
In the twelve years I’ve seen almost 4000 films. From 200 university films alone, 50 had to be selected each year. That alone is already 720 short films. The entire team watches around 2000 films a year.
One can assume that passion drove you. In 2018 you declared that you wanted to remain director of the film festival for as long as possible. They said, “This really is a dream job.”
That’s what I love, and that’s what makes the rest of the work fun for me. The films carry me. I’m happiest when I’m at the cinema in the dark. Then I have the strength and joy to make this platform possible. A film festival like this is an event with a couple of hundred screenings, plus lots of other things: receptions, discussions and much more.
Nevertheless, it sounded different in 2018. What has changed?
I’ll say it positively: you should go when it’s most beautiful. The 40th anniversary of the film festival is the icing on the cake. Last year I received the Bavarian Order of Merit for services to art and culture in Bavaria. More is not possible. The jubilee seemed appropriate to me to redeem the old adage: one should go to a party when it is at its most beautiful.
Isn’t it also the case that the big screen is losing popularity and that viewing habits have been repurposed since Corona at the latest?
We have to separate that: The production is going extremely well and there were question marks behind the distribution for a while. But we see positive signs: Now, for the 40th, we have organized some low-threshold events in spring. We were in front of 800 people in the largest cinema in Germany, in front of 200 people each in the Brandhorst Museum and in other cultural institutions in Munich. Everything full! And the box office numbers are getting better. Nevertheless, it is of course true: cinema is more difficult. But you also have to see: Even in 2019, more than 250 German productions were new to the cinema. This is too much. The system is overloaded. Some core audience members have replaced going to the cinema with new activities. It will be difficult to go back there. Corona certainly played a big role in that. But suddenly there is a whole new audience for it, from the current Oscar winner to “Sonne und Beton”. That gives hope. I would say there is a fundamental question for all branches of culture.
In what way? Bavarian politics showed during Corona that support for permanent employees is of great importance, but culture is by no means.
First Corona, then the Ukraine war and the energy crisis have meant that culture is having a hard time – from a cultural-political point of view. Culture is – to paraphrase Richard von Weizsäcker – not a nice thing to have, but a must-have: food. But I would also like to say: the cinemas will not die anyway. The market will only consolidate in all areas.
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