Movie stars reflect upon lockdown
During the lockdown, movie stars such as Julianne Moore, Emily Mortimer, Don Cheadle, Rebecca Hall, Debra Winger and Chris Cooper made short films about their experiences with restrictions and isolation. Based on these shorts, Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray and their company Maven Screen Media are producing the two-hour film project “With/In“. “We wanted to find out what isolation means to different people and asked a handful of artists whose work we really admire. What they gave us, to our great delight, were stories about connections among people that are powerful, funny, and very different from one another. Our plan is to continue to tell these stories and to capture a moment in time, which is constantly changing,” the two producers explained in a joint statement. (Source: Blickpunkt:Film)
Amazon invests less in content
Despite increased sales in the second quarter of 2020, Amazon has reduced investments in its studio division. This was stated by CFO Brian Olsavsky in the context of the current quarterly results. Exact figures on spending are not available, but for the whole year 2019 it is estimated that about six billion dollars were invested in original content (for comparison: Netflix spent 17 billion dollars). Amazon’s total turnover increased by 40 percent to 88.9 billion dollars. Amazon Prime, with around 150 million customers, achieved sales of 6.2 billion dollars (up 29 percent). (Source: Blickpunkt:Film)
Masks hinder face recognition
A new study by the US Federal National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that a mouth and nose protection can not only protect against the virus: Such masks can also throw AI-based facial recognition systems off track. According to the study, the error rate of the best current algorithms for face recognition in protective clothing is between 5 and 50 percent. Face masks prevent the AI software from accurately measuring distances between individual facial features. However, NIST announces that new algorithms that have been specially trained for face recognition with masks will be tested towards the end of the year. (Source: Mixed)
Changemakers advocate “green shooting”
In the context of the global climate crisis, the initiative Changemakers.film wants to contribute to climate-neutral film and television productions. A voluntary self-commitment, already supported by more than 100 initial signers, lists measures leading to a sizable reduction of CO2 emissions during filming. The initiators would like to see changes in 13 areas, especially those of transport, accommodation, catering and technology, which are considered to be particularly harmful to the environment. Changemakers.film is an initiative of actors Miriam Stein, Pheline Roggan and Moritz Vierboom and director Laura Fischer.
Counterweight to Netflix
Since the end of July, the new series and film platform SOONER has been online for users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. SOONER sees itself as a counterweight to the major streaming platforms. It offers works by renowned directors as well as releases by up-and-coming, authentic talents. The SOONER Library includes award-winning films and series as well as short films and documentaries from the art house and independent scene. Many of them have so far only been screened at the most important film and series festivals such as the Festival de Cannes, the Berlinale, the Sundance Film Festival or Séries Mania.
Recently the first streaming channel by German musical stages was launched. “Musicalstars unplugged” is the name of the programme by Stage Entertainment, filmed in Hamburg’s Stage Operettenhaus on the Reeperbahn. Among others, songs from “Time of my Life” (“Dirty Dancing“), “Solang ich dich hab“ (“Wicked”) to “Rodeo Drive” (“Pretty Woman”) and many more can be listened to. Personal stories by singers and artists are interspersed for even more entertainment.
Promoting diversity in the film industry
The group “Vielfalt im Film” (Diversity in Film), an alliance of numerous organisations and institutions within the German film industry, wants to survey more than 30,000 filmmakers in order to collect experiences of diversity and discrimination in the German-speaking film industry in front of and behind the camera. Among others, the survey project is supported by the human rights organization Citizens For Europe, the industry platform Crew United, the anti-discrimination office of the German federal government, the Stiftung Kulturwerk der VG Bild-Kunst, the Bundesverband Regie, and the Federal Employment Agency. Filmmakers can participate in the survey by registering with Crew United. The results are to be published on www.vielfaltimfilm.de once the survey is completed.
Student film festival goes hybrid
in April, the international student film festival Sehsüchte had to be postponed due to the corona crisis. But in recent months the festival team has been working hard to make Sehsüchte 2020 take place this year. The event will be available to all film enthusiasts as a hybrid festival from 23 to 27 September. The entire film programme can be accessed online at www.sehsuechte.de by all interested parties, fans and film lovers. In addition, there will be screenings in two cinemas of the Film University Babelsberg, among other events, in compliance with current safety regulations.
Many museums are on TikTok
TikTok enjoys growing popularity worldwide. Despite criticism of its business practices, it is currently the most downloaded app of all, as the analysis platform Sensor Tower reports. Already in April, the mark of two billion downloads worldwide was exceeded – a fact that did not go unnoticed in the museum world. As a result, a handful of famous museums have opened their own channels on the Chinese social media service, which began as a platform for lip-sync and dance videos. They include the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
LITFILMS – Literature Film Festival Münster 2020
From September 16 to October 11, the Literatur Film Festival Münster will explicitly dedicate itself to film adaptations of literary texts. It is Germany’s first film festival of its kind. Over the course of four weeks, film screenings, readings, workshops, discussions and performances will explore the intersections between the two arts. All events will adhere to the official hygiene concepts.
Digital stroll through the porcelain manufactory
Since the beginning of August, visitors to the Albrechtsburg Castle Meissen (built between 1471 and 1524) are invited in person to Princess Sidonia’s banquet in 1493 or to taking a look over the shoulder of the potters of the famous 19th century porcelain manufactory. The experience is made possible by a digital tool called HistoPad from the Parisian start-up company Histovery. With the help of three-dimensional replicas and 360-degree panoramas, visitors can immerse themselves in the historic castle halls and “travel back” to the 15th century. For this purpose, the halls were historically reconstructed with their correct layout, furnishings and decorations.
ZDF extends aid fund
German public broadcaster ZDF’s commitment to share additional production costs, including those incurred by interruptions in shooting due to coronavirus, was originally scheduled to end at the end of July 2020. The support measure was now extended until mid-September. ZDF will bear 50 percent of additional costs incurred by corona-related interruptions of shooting schedules. For commissioned productions, the broadcaster will even take over 100 percent of all additional sums spent on work safety and hygiene measures. In addition, advance payments can be received earlier in order to help the liquidity of production companies.
More money for freelance artists
The German Minister of State for Culture, Monika Grütters, has announced an increase in grants from federal funds for freelance artists: the budget will grow from 8.5 million euros to 52 million per year; the measure will run until the end of 2021. Grütters called the measure “a reaction to the difficult situation of self-employed artists” in the Corona crisis. Scholarships for visual artists will be awarded by the Stiftung Kunstfonds, for performers and freelance actors by the Fonds Darstellende Künstler. The Music Fund Scholarship Programme supports composers, musicians and sound artists; the Dachverband Tanz is responsible for choreographers and dancers. The individual scholarships amount to more than 1,000 euros per month.
Saxony-Anhalt starts aid programme
The state of Saxony-Anhalt is now supporting creative artists with the 6 million euro scholarship programme “Kultur ans Netz” (“Culture on/for the Net”). The state grants a non-repayable subsidy of 1,000 euros per month for the creation of an artistic achievement for a maximum of three months. Full-time artistis with their main residence in Saxony-Anhalt may apply. Forms can be submitted electronically to the Investitionsbank Sachsen-Anhalt.