The Berlinale: one of the biggest events of the film industry calendar.
Each year, tens of thousands of filmmakers, actors and industry professionals from all around the globe travel to Germany’s capital to enjoy the offerings of one of the world’s largest public film festivals. With the festival’s 74th edition just around the corner, we caught up with three of our filmmaking students to talk about their experience as PR interns.
Hey all! How about we start with you telling us a little bit about what your internship at the Berlinale was about?
Ebba: Sure! Our internship with OnepressTV had a PR and communications focus. Each of us had different roles and responsibilities but essentially, we were working together to produce video content for OnepressTV’s YouTube and social media channels.
Daria: Exactly. And then during the internship we were on the red carpet interviewing filmmakers and actors, shooting footage from press conferences and, of course, seeing lots of movies!
What did you do to prepare for the internship?
Joanne: So before we started the internship, we all spent a lot of time on the Berlinale website, going through everything in detail to find out who’s coming, who’s in the competition, the various categories and sections there are. The festival runs for 10 days and there’s really a lot going on, so there was a lot to go through.
Daria: It was really important for us to get to know the programme so we could be aware of what to shoot and where to be when.
Before starting the internships, what were your expectations and what was the reality?
Daria: Honestly I didn’t really have any – I was just really excited to go to the Berlinale! I’ve got a deep personal connection with the festival because I’m Ukrainian and a lots of Ukrainian films have premiered there previously. I’d always heard a lot about the festival and I really wanted to be a part of it in whatever way possible. I was thinking that I’d just be fetching coffees or maybe be allowed to shoot some small things, but in the end, I did way more than I expected and it was a marvellous experience.
Joanne: Coming from Germany I obviously knew about the Berlinale but not to the extent that I do now. I was just expecting to watch a lot of movies and then write about the festival. Not necessarily to review movies, but to be interviewing actors and producers and then writing about that.
But actually, I got lots of social media experience, as well as experiencing the red carpet. The red carpet is a truly incredible experience, the press conferences too. To be honest, I thought that the press conferences would be kind of boring, but that was not the case at all. It was just amazing to be in a closed room with all these professionals from the film world. It was so interesting to hear what they had to say about the films. Plus, we often managed to chat with them after press conferences and got lots of tips, which was amazing. It was so nice to see professionals willing to give tips to students about filmmaking, so really it was an invaluable experience.
Ebba: Yeah, so for me I was just hoping to get to work with industry professionals and see how they work. I also thought it would be fun to experience something new, like a red carpet. Obviously, I’ve now got experience operating cameras, so I wasn’t really nervous about that part of the internship but I was excited to meet people that might have new tricks to teach me. Other than that I hoped to meet a lot of people from the business and just to have a good time! I mean, it’s a festival, so it’s always fun.
What were your highlights of the festival?
Daria: The whole thing was a real journey. Every day was so different. There were days where I felt super emotional because of the words of the people during the press conference. There were so many things said that really moved me deeply. I felt so privileged and happy to be attending an event like the Berlinale and just to be able to experience this kind of range of emotions.
But I’d say that the premiere of Manodrome was a real highlight. Before it happened I was saying to Joanne, “Oh, you know, Adrien Brody’s in the cast, but he won’t show up. No way will he show up.” but then we were in the photographers area and he was suddenly there and it was so cool. I took so many photos on that day!
Ebba: I’ve got several highlights! One of my really good memories is from talking with the director of Manodrome, John Trengove. When he was talking to us, it felt like he was really listening and taking in what we were saying.
We also got to talk to the director of Blackberry, Matthew Johnson, who was also super nice and very funny. It was really cool when you look up to someone and then get to experience that the respect is mutual. He spent time talking with us and gave us some tips and tricks. He said that the best way to be a filmmaker is to find your own niche and make things that only you know about. It was just cool that he, and other directors, wanted to give advice to us.
If I had to choose my favourite memory I would say that it was when Stephen Spielberg was on the red carpet though to receive his lifetime achievement Honourary Golden Bear. I think he came across in a really great way and was just a normal guy.
Ultimately, it was just amazing to be on the other side of the fence and not separated from filmmakers and stars.
What would you say that the biggest thing you learnt during the week was?
Daria: Haha, first of all sleep is good! It affects everything if you don’t sleep enough.
Ebba: Yeah, truly, you have to sleep. And eat.
Daria: But besides that, I learnt that it’s always possible to get into these kinds of events and be one of the people on and around the red carpet. Nothing’s unachievable. You just have to make enough effort and put yourself out there to make opportunities happen.
Joanne: The biggest thing I learned was from watching a lot of the short films in the Berlinale Shorts category. Seeing some of those was an amazing learning experience because it showed just how much is possible. One of the films was literally just shot on an iPhone! While I’m not at the point of shooting a feature, creating a short film for submission seems like it’s a great thing to work towards.
Obviously you guys work together a lot on projects for your course, but how was it working together professionally?
Ebba: You know, that’s a good question. I thought it was really interesting how we collaborated with people outside of our student community, but personally for me, it didn’t feel super different to how we normally work together.
Daria: I loved working together. We were already very close but during those 10 days, we really bonded. It was also a cool experience because it was completely different to working on a film set. Obviously, we had to be completely professional but we still had a lot of fun and really enjoyed it.
Joanne: I guess the biggest thing for me was that we had a boss. When we’re at BIMM working on a film together, we’re all on the same level, we’re all the bosses of our own roles.
What was your favourite film you saw?
Daria: Definitely Kiss the Future (Nenad Cicin-Sain).
Joanne: 20,000 Species of Bees / 20.000 especies de abejas (Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren).
Ebba: For me, it has to be Manodrome (John Trengove).
And to round our conversation off… is there any insider facts that you can share from behind the scenes?
Joanne: OMG, yes! In the press lounge there was only one milk option available: oat milk! I really liked that.
Daria: Oh yeah, and the hot chocolate was insanely good. So I guess a big thanks to the Berlinale organisers for that!
Well, there you have it. You heard it here first. Thanks Daria, Joanne and Ebba for sharing your amazing experience!
Explore our courses in filmmaking at BIMM University Berlin here.