Night of Light
The event industry is especially hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. With the campaign »Night of Light«, it wants to draw attention to its dire situation. During the night from 22 to 23 June 2020, event locations, venues, congress centers etc. in more than 250 cities will be illuminated in red light. Because major events are banned until 31 August and subsequent events need to be planned with a delay, the industry is suffering a loss of 80 to 100% in sales over a period of at least 8 months. The event industry is among the biggest sectors of the German economy, employing more than one million people and generating a core annual turnover of over ten billion Euros. If you add the cultural and creative industries with their event-related submarkets and suppliers, more than 300,000 companies in over 150 disciplines employ more than 3 million people, achieving annual sales of over 200 billion Euros.
Oscars to be postponed
For the fourth time in their history, the Academy Awards will be moved to a different date. The 93rd edition of the Oscars is now scheduled to take place on 25 April 2021 – eight weeks after the original date, the Academy of Motion Pictures and broadcaster ABC announced on 14 June. The reason is the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the film industry.
Tech companies stop facial recognition
Tech companies stop facial recognition
Microsoft, Amazon and IBM no longer want to sell face recognition technology to law enforcement authorities. IBM, for example, stated it no longer wants to provide technology that can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling. Civil rights activists have long been criticizing such technologies for reinforcing and spreading prejudice and racism. (source: Süddeutsche Zeitung)
Gamescom Asia called off
The first ever Gamescom Asia was supposed to take place from 15 to 18 October 2020 in Singapur. 30,000 visitors were expected. But according to Gameswirtschaft, the first edition of the spin-off of the Cologne-based trade fair has to be postponed due to coronavirus. KoelnMesse and the industry association Game have now set a new date for Gamescom Asia 2021: 14 to 17 October 2021. Just like the successful German model for the fair, there will be a programme for professional visitors and one for consumers.
Twitch growing by leaps and bounds
Thanks to corona, the streaming platform Twitch has grown by a record 87% between January and May 2020. In January, the platform had 3,9 million users; in March this number rose to about 5 million. The month of May saw the all-time high of 7,4 million streaming customers. According to TwitchTracker, the platform already tallies 431 millions of minutes watched in 2020, compared to 660 million minutes for the whole of 2019. The three most popular games of Twitch are currently “Just Chatting”, “League of Legends”, and “Fortnite”.
Film fair 2020 cancelled
The Cologne Filmmesse will not take place this year. The event, originally scheduled for 1 to 4 September, was cancelled after talks with the City of Cologne, cinemas and distributors. It was said that the restrictions due to coronavirus were hard to implement and there was no sufficient planning security regarding the festival programme. However, next year`s film fair is set for 3 August to 5 August 2021 at Cinedom Cologne.
Filming allowed again in Moscow
Since 10 June, filming in Moscow has been permitted again, provided that the relevant standards for hygiene and safety are met. The international box office for Russian films has tripled over the past four years. In 2019, more than 90 Russian movies were sold to countries abroad and shown in cinemas there. While a few years back only 23 countries screened Russian productions, that number is now at over 120. Svetlana Maximchenko, Head of the Moscow Film Commission, explains that since the founding of the commission in 2018, it has assisted more than 900 productions such as Danny Boyle`s Yesterday and the HBO series Chernobyl. Says Maximchenko: „We have always welcomed domestic and international producers shooting in Moscow and are happy to assist them in organising their locations and taking care of formalities. We are glad to get back to work.“
2020 Cinema programme awards for Middle Germany have been awarded
The Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung MDM has awarded prizes in the amount of 300,000 to 29 commercially run cinemas and 9 non-commercial screening venues in the states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The main award for the best film programme in 2019 goes to Luchskino am Zoo in Halle (Saale). The award comes with 20,000 Euros in prize money. The main award for best film programme in 2019 by a non-commercial screening venue goes to Filmkunsthaus nato in Leipzig. It comes with a prize of 10,000 Euros and was awarded by an independent jury of experts. Click here for a complete list of winners.
Film Festival Cologne takes place
At last a go-ahead instead of a cancellation: According to the organizers of Film Festival Cologne, the event will take place from 1 to 8 October, marking the festival`s 30th anniversary. A press release states: „Being one of the first major cultural events after the corona hiatus, we will once again present the world`s most important trends and outstanding works of audiovisual narration while adhering to current requirements and restrictions. According to our motto „See now what is important tomorrow“, exclusive premieres, screenings and sessions will take place in the long-standing Filmpalast on Rudolfplatz in Cologne. The renowned Film Festival Cologne Awards will be presented on October 8 at Palladium.“
Home office on the Holodeck
The American company Spatial wants to revolutionize working from home with the help of Virtual Reality. Every workplace is transferred into a VR environment. A two-dimensional Zoom meeting suddenly comes to life in 3D. Everything is amazingly lifelike and easy to navigate with a VR headset and controlling devices. „This is truly like a Holodeck from Star Trek. We can add whatever you want“, says Jacob Loewenstein, Business Development Manager at Spatial. Other than conventional video conferences, the „virtual office“ enables users to collaborate more intensely. Spatial currently offers its Enterprise-Version free of charge on its website.Mehr erfahren
Austria lowers VAT for culture
From 1 July until the end of the year, a reduced VAT of 5% for cultural products and services will be applied in Austria. The measure aims to support museums, cinemas and music events during the corona crisis, says the Austrian government. A temporarily reduced VAT is also planned for newspapers and other periodicals as well as for books. The EU has yet to approve the plans before they can go into effect.
Aid fund for internationale culture
Following an initiative by Goethe Institute and Auswärtiges Amt (Federal Foreign Office), institutions involved in international cultural cooperation are setting up a relief fund. It is aimed at important organisations abroad that are committed to artistic freedom and pluralistic societies. The fund supports organisations in the areas of culture and art as well as spaces that offer open-minded cultural work, thus serving as agents of change in civil societies. The Auswärtige Amt provides the basic funding of 3 million Euros, while the Goethe Institut will allocate the money. Find all informations here.
From Book to Screen – Literary Adaptations
From the Bible to Romeo and Juliet to Harry Potter to… The book is better than the film… is it? Since the start, a third of all movies have been based on existing literature. In most cases, the alliance of book and screen was a fortunate one and a grandiose interpretation of the reading material. At any rate, one should never try to compare the book and the subsequent film. It’s better to enjoy both media separately. That’s not always easy but a lot more fun. Here’s a tiny selection.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque
Director Lewis Milestone
Cast Lew Ayres and Louis Wolheim
Available in Germany on Amazon
The film was released in 1930 in two versions, one a silent movie, one with sound. Not all cinemas were able to screen sound films. The film tells the story of Paul Bäumer, a young high school student who enthusiastically joins the war against France in 1914. His enthusiasm doesn’t last long. The awfully brutal front experience quickly changes his mind. The novel as well as the grandiose film adaptation call for pacifism and mutual understanding beyond nationalism and hatred. A deeply touching work.
Faust – A German Folk Tale
Based on the old folk tale, on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust and Marlowe’s Faust
Director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Cast Camilla Horn and Emil Jannings
Available in Germany on Amazon
An expressionist masterpiece of the silent movie era. The Lexicon of International Film aptly analyzes: “Murnau’s version of Faust shows the metaphysical struggle between Good and Evil at the watershed of Medieval times and irreligiousity, interpreting Faust as the first modern human with a free will who acknowledges the omnipotence of love…” Old Doctor Faust sells his soul to the devil (Mephisto) and is made young and handsome again. He seduces beautiful Gretchen who falls pregnant with his child and is sentenced to death by burning on the stake. Faust wants to save her, cancels his pact with the devil and becomes once more the old, fragile man he was before… A film with great atmosphere, impressive production design, camera work and special effects. And, of course, great actors.
Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King
Director Brian de Palma
Cast Sissy Spacek and John Travolta
Available in Germany on Amazon
Carrie is the first film adaptation of a novel by Stephen King. Many more were to follow. Young Sissy Spacek was nominated for an Oscar for her starring role as high school student Carrie White who is being mobbed by her classmates, mainly because she is still clueless about sexual matters. Her mother, a religious fanatic, mainly makes her daughter’s life miserable because she is slowly growing up to be a woman. Carrie seems like the perfect victim for all. Her classmates plan to fully humiliate her at the high school prom. But no one knows that shy and angelic Carrie has telekinetic powers which she uses for a deadly revenge. A great horror movie with a deep psychological slant that makes the audience shiver, and the ending is truly mean…