Berlinale or Bust

Ok, it’s 4:17pm and in just over 6 hours I’m getting on a plane and heading for the Berlin International Film Festival.  My film, “A Little Night Fright” is screening in the Generation section, and I’m experiencing a mixture of excitement, nerves, and a ringing in my ears that won’t go away.

As the hours and minutes tick away I find myself adding to my “Things to do before I leave” list rather than subtracting from it.  I have prepped all my press material but I haven’t packed or even done my laundry.  I did get travel insurance, but I haven’t eaten any lunch or fed the fish.  I have checked the weather report for Berlin (52°/31°) but still haven’t gotten a European plug adaptor or gone to the ATM for a little “emergency” cash.

I do, however, trust that I will get all this done before I head out.

Even though I am leaving on a Friday evening, I don’t actually get to Berlin until Sunday morning.  I have a stopover in Atlanta, and then about 8 hours in New York.  Fortunately, some friends are going to meet me at JFK and take me out for lunch before I continue on to Germany.  With all the flights, I’m going to be spending the next two nights on a plane.  I have resigned myself to not getting much rest, but who needs rest when you are going to a film festival?  And especially Berlin.

I am taking an immense pleasure in knowing that I will be screening in Berlin.  Yes, some of this is a result of the thrill at being recognized by one of the most prestigious festivals in the world, but a lot of it has to do with a very personal connection I have to the city itself.

My grandfather was originally from Berlin, and came from a very prominent and respected family.  The family lived in what was to become East Berlin in later years.  During World War II, my grandfather fled Nazi Germany, wound up in Scotland, and settled there.  Save for one brother, his entire family was wiped out by the Nazis.

For the remainder of his life, he would tell my mother that there was property in Germany that belonged to the family, and that if the Wall ever came down, perhaps the family would be able to reclaim it.  He knew that he would never live to see that, and indeed he didn’t.  However, when the Wall finally did come down, and properties were restored to their original owners, my family came into a little money.

It was this money that enabled me, then completing my military service in the Israeli army, to come to the US to study film in Los Angeles.  It was this money that set me on my current course as a filmmaker.

So you see, the thought that my film is screening in Berlin, a city that lies at the very root of my career, gives me a tremendous sense of having come full circle.

My grandfather would be proud.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *