Berlinale Talent Campus 2009 – Part 1

I had every intention of keeping a blow-by-blow blog account of my time at the Berlinale Talent Campus, but now find myself aboard a flight to Minneapolis (more on that later) without having written a word.  Numbed by lack of sleep, borderline alcohol poisoning, and of course the impact of master classes, seminars, and one too many parties, I sit back and look forward to a few hours of rest in the sky.

For those of you who don’t know, the Berlinale Talent Campus is a week-long conference for young filmmakers and runs in parallel to the Berlin Intl. Film Festival (aka Berlinale). It invites filmmakers from all over the world (106 countries this year to be exact) to come to Berlin, interact with one another, learn from the masters, and take part in what is truly an international meeting of minds.

Having screened at the festival last year, it was a true delight to return to a city that makes me feel completely at home.  Sitting on the bus from the airport into town, as familiar streets and building popped into view, a warm fuzzy feeling grew inside me and I had to smile.  It was good to be back.

Most everyone from the Talent Campus was housed at the Wombats Hostel, near Rosa-Luxemburg Platz.  I haven’t stayed in a hostel for about 15 years, so it was a bit of a throwback to my time backpacking through Europe before I moved to the States.  Despite some concerns, the rooms were clean, as were the sheets, and everyone’s spirits were high.  Add to that a bar on the top floor, just in case you didn’t consume enough alcohol at one of the daily parties, and you have the makings of a perfect ten days in Berlin.

Day in and day out, the schedule was pretty much the same.  Get up early (around 7am), catch the shuttle bus to the Talent Campus Center, attend a bunch of seminars and master classed, then hit the parties.  Generally speaking, I wasn’t getting to bed before 2am, but I was fully prepared in advance to do away with sleep.  Such is the festival life.

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