A night at the movies with the 21st Contravision International Film Festival

Berlin’s film scene is world famous: the sheer number and quality of film festivals are unprecedented… so when a friend sent an invite to Contravision International Film Festival, I was super-keen to get along.

Many Indie Travel Podcast regulars probably don’t know this, but I studied Film at University. Narrative and communities were my things, with a mix of other ideas thrown in. And Contravision seemed to represent a lot of things I love about film: small films shot with varying budgets, telling tight little stories or giving that up for narratives with layers of meaning to explore.

The very short Rupturas Deliciousas was fun.

The festival was held in a small theatre at Wabe, an arts space in Prenzlauer Berg. It was a great setting with seating for around 150, the quality of film on show was excellent and the interstitial media and MC slots were also high quality.

Many of the film’s creators were in the audience and often came on stage for a Soirée mit Claudia interview after their film’s showing. Having directors, writers, actors, and technical staff speak about their films was great – although my limited German didn’t allow me to get the most out of most interviews, some were conducted in English or a mix of both.

At 21 years old, Contravision is Berlin’s third-oldest film festival, but there was no sign of it becoming stale.

The only overtly political film of the night: a 10 minute animation on the Surveilance State, followed by a talk with its creator Manniac.

I spoke with Claudia Wente, one of the organisers and MC of the “Soirée mit Claudia” interludes. Picking the 65 films that made up the festival selection was tough. “We accepted applications on any topic. The only thing was it had to be produced this year or last year, and be under 30 minutes in length.”

And the organising committee did a great job of selecting and curating: on Friday night we saw 23 films ranging from a couple of minutes to almost half an hour (missing one as we were late back from dinner). They ran the gamut from comedy to psychodrama; animated sketches and hyper-real shoots; one-take wonders and complex shoots that took a week or longer.

Some of the Contravision organising committee hard at work.

Some of the Contravision organising committee hard at work.

The Festival runs tonight and tomorrow. On Sunday 12 films will be shown – the audience’s picks of their favourite four each night. Get along there to Wabe and enjoy.

Remaining sessions:
Saturday 14 September: 6pm-8:30 and 9pm to 11:30pm
Sunday 15 September: 6pm to 11:30pm
Full programme in English

Danziger Straße 101
10405 Berlin

Public transport:
M4-Greifswalder Str./Danziger Str.
S-Greifswalder Straße

Photo supplied by Contravision.

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