The Berlinale – the International Film Festival – is a household name for film fans and is always mentioned along with Cannes and Venice. The awarding of the Golden Bear is the highlight of the film festival – for the best film in competition. The chance to get tickets for the event, very small. However, this year was different. Canon as one of the sponsors of the Berlinale gave me the opportunity to be present at the Berlinale and also to have a look “behind-the-scenes”.
The Berlinale film festival – Red carpet and a beautiful evening
Canon is expanding its commitment in many areas, such as culture and film, and is now supporting the Berlinale in Berlin in the same way. In recent years, primarily photographers were supported at the “Red Carpet”, now Canon also uses the opportunities and brings itself even more actively into the Berlinale with a sponsorship.
This red carpet is only empty during the day
After the Fashionweek less than three weeks ago, it was now again a great reason to spend a few days in the German capital and take you along not only via Instagram stories and the blog post, but also via video. In this video, which is also online on the YouTube channel since yesterday evening and shows one of my days in Berlin, is also for the first time my new Canon 5D Mark IV in use during the day.
The first small video clips already look fantastic – now there is also the possibility for me to film YouTube videos in full format or even in 4K. I’m looking forward to many new experiences and videos to share with you. The quality of the camera is absolutely incredible and I will present you many more impressions and tips for the camera in the coming weeks and months.
During the Berlinale I was staying in a Berlin luxury hotel at Potsdamer Platz and so of course, as visible in the video, I could quickly walk over to the Berlinale Palast or look into the press center.
Berlinale Press Center and a look “behind-the-scenes”
Canon made it possible for me to get a small guided tour through the press center, the VIP guest area and also into the VIP photo studio a few hours before the evening film by Volker Schlöndorff “Return to Montauk”, where the world-famous photographer Gerhard Kassner portrays between 100 and 150 stars of the Berlinale every year for the walls in the Berlinale Palast.
As soon as you enter the small studio in the VIP area, you see some of Gerhard Kassner’s works and you are immediately impressed. The photos and posters that are immediately printed in the studio speak a very personal language. It is hard to imagine that a maximum of three minutes is available for each portrait and that the star usually finds a selection of perfect photos in less than a minute.
The selection of the final pictures for the walls in the Berlinale Filmpalast then takes place for example also once with the stars completely personally, thus e.g. Madonna sat down again after the press conference only with her personal assistant and Gerhard Kassner and selected the final picture (and still for three further Portrait photos for itself asked, which Gerhard Kassner had then gladly brought to her in the hotel).
There is practically no time for retouching and as authentically as the photos are taken, the photos later hang in unbelievable quality in the Berlinale Palast and are later signed by the stars in person before the film premiere.
During my visit, the photos of Stellan Skarsgård, Nina Hoss, Susanne Wolff and Volker Schlöndorff were just visible on the computer and you could see the different portraits and poses. A selection of twenty great portraits made in less than a minute and showing so many different impressions. It is really hard then to choose the “top photo”.
Already at the first contact with Gerhard Kassner one noticed, the open and cordial kind of the star photographer – an absolutely pleasant atmosphere. So he also immediately showed his equipment, his comfortable shoes for the shootings and immediately gave some tips for photographing portraits.
Gerhard Kassner uses the CANON 5DS R for the photo shootings, which resolves with 50 megapixels and is especially popular with fashion photographers. The camera already tends more towards the “medium format” range and is of course the perfect choice for these portraits and shots and he is absolutely satisfied.
Perfectly tuned technology, a very smooth shutter and the low-pass cancellation filter guarantee razor-sharp photos, even in Din A0 format or larger. Only the slightly better autofocus of the Canon 5D Mark IV (which I now use), he would wish.
The portraits are primarily all photographed during the Berlinale with a telephoto lens Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and speak their own language. Of course, the question could not be missing, what would happen if a star would not find himself “photogenic” and with one or two loose comments, the mood would then be lightened and many stars afterwards fascinated by their own photos and share them themselves, for example, in their own social networks.
The pictures are exhibited in each case during the Berlinale in the Berlinale Filmpalast and can be seen afterwards in the “German Film Museum”. For this I will certainly take the time again in the future and try the new tips from Gerhard Kassner in my photos in the future.
In addition, there were of course again makeup and styling rooms, preparation rooms for the trip on the red carpet with the automobile sponsor AUDI, which also has its own lounge at the Berlinale directly overlooking the red carpet, as well as countless workstations for journalists and TV media an.
Interesting I find, especially if you take a lot of pictures, also the possibility of Canon for photographers to have the equipment serviced and checked directly in the press center, before there could be problems on the “red carpet”. A great offer, which was also used very abundantly and I would also have my equipment checked directly there… 🙂
Always interesting to get a look “behind-the-scenes” and once again be captured by the event in a completely different way.
“Berlinale Palast” – “red carpet” and introduction
After a quick change of clothes, I went straight back to the entrance for the evening performance in my special evening dress, along the “Red Carpet” and into the world premiere of “Return to Montauk”.
As you approach the location for the evening, you can already see the crowds behind the barriers, waiting for the stars to drive up. People are still standing everywhere with signs saying “Looking for a ticket” or approaching directly for free tickets. After it was already difficult the last few years to get tickets for the world premieres, this year it is said to have been completely sold out again within a few minutes.
The Musical Theater at Potsdamer Platz, otherwise a large show stage, was again converted into a cinema with over 1620 seats for the Berlinale. When you then walk again over the “Red Carpet” towards the entrance, past the countless photographers and TV teams, it is always an impressive moment to experience some film history.
Three floors in the Berlinale Filmpalast already remind us again of the first actors and producers of the Berlinale 2017 with the current portraits by Gerhard Kassner. After a small stopover in the Partner Lounge with delicious refreshments and snacks, however, the bell already rang for the start of the screening.
Walking down the last steps to the seats, one sees only familiar faces from show and culture. My seats for the performance were perfect – two rows in front of the seats of the cast of the movie “Return to Montauk.”
A perfect view to the front and perfect for the experience as the stars were introduced. Framing the performers that evening were, among others, the Minister of State for Culture, Ms. Monika Grütters, the Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller and the wife of the current Federal President, Ms. Daniela Schadt.
“Berlinale Palast” – “Volker Schlöndorff – Return to Montauk”.
The film “Return to Montauk” is about the writer Max Zorn (Stellan Skarsgård) who, at the age of sixty, travels to New York for the book premiere of his latest novel and is met there by his partner Clara (Susanne Wolff). At a reading of his very personal book about the failure of a great love, he meets that very love again.
The spontaneous ending has left deep wounds, he the aging writer, meets Rebecca (Nina Hoss) again, who works as a very successful lawyer in New York, lives in a luxurious apartment with cats and is only hostile to him – were it not for the beautiful memories of the past.
Together the two travel once again to Montauk at the end of the world back to Long Island and talk about the feelings, the past and what happens in the meantime. Max regrets the mistakes of the past and hopes for a second chance, on the beaches of Long Island – while his wife waits for him in New York.
The German/French/Irish production convinces with a fantastic visual and color language and interesting camera angles that allow a direct connection between the audience and the actors. Nina Hoss embodies a vulnerable, yet confident and successful woman, especially through the successful perspectives and settings.
Volker Schlöndorff once again succeeds in creating a special film, with modern approaches and special transitions. A very successful world premiere in Berlin, which also gave me a lot of new ideas right away. If you want to see a film in the cinema, away from the mainstream currently in the cinema, then I can recommend “Return to Montauk”.
Conclusion – The Berlinale “Berlinale Palast”
You simply have to have seen the Berlinale once. If you then of course have the opportunity of a visit, it is a very special event, which you like to think back.
The attraction that the Berlinale Film Festival exudes, you feel directly when you arrive in Berlin and experience it over all days. Everyone wants to see a world premiere, to get the feeling for cinema and special films. Especially in this day and age, where many films are only watched “online”, a world premiere with well-known stars is of course a special moment.
Canon once again shows itself to be a perfect host, after a great time at the Eisbach in spring last year, for the campaign that was also presented at Photokina, at Photokina itself and of course this time in Berlin. I’m excited about the new areas of support from Canon – moving away from traditional cameras to now support art and culture projects.
For me, the time at the Berlinale ended with a wonderful and interesting dinner above the rooftops of Berlin, good conversations and once again a beautiful view of the buildings at Potsdamer Platz and my new camera. I’m already looking forward to showing you many more special photo moments in the future – whether as photos on my blog or as videos on my YouTube channel.