Dateline Berlin, Germany!
Coming to you all from the Berlin International Film Festival (BIFF) 2015 where Paper Planes is the opening night film of the Generation K section of the festival. What an honour it is indeed to be asked, the generation K section has a wonderful history and the festival organizers are very proud to have over 65 films screening in the section. It is interesting to note as well that the judges are all children of various ages.
I am in Berlin with the director Robert Connolly, the two producers Maggie Miles and Liz Kearney. Two of the cast members are with us Ed Oxenbould and Julian Dennison. Julian has flown in from NZ with his mother on a short 30 hour flight!! First things first, let’s go grab a schnitzel!
Words cannot describe how delicious schnitzel is in Berlin. It was the finest schnitzel I have ever eaten without word of a lie. It came with the world’s largest Pilsener and a side of cucumber salad and luke warm potatoes! The crust was perfect and the meat so tender, I can still taste it a week later.
Onto the business of films and I was so impressed by this festival. 7000 entries and only 400 films in all categories were accepted this year. The cinema we screened PP in was absolutely beautiful. A timber panelled auditorium with wonderful acoustics. The screening was sold out as were all 4 of our screenings. In fact word got around about the film very quickly and on the Saturday screening, people were turned away. One American woman (why are they always American?) got very upset there were no seats left!
The response to the film from the German audiences was wonderful. The children asked such intelligent questions and the festival staff handled them all with such respect! One Q and A went for well over an hour and continued outside the cinema where Ed and Julian signed so many autographs! This is the universal language of cinema. You cannot tell me children are somehow different from one country to another! They all desire to imagine and learn…
The kids handled the publicity with great patience and professionalism. As did the producers and this is what I learnt the most and want to express to the readers of the ACS bulletin. Making an Australian film is one thing, selling the film is an entirely new energy altogether. If you all realized how many films were in the European film market you would never believe me. This is what I believe Australian filmmakers do not understand. How hard it is getting international sales for your film.
We have reached $ 8.2 million for PP at the Australian box office and had a review in VARIETY magazine few filmmakers would ever get in a lifetime of making films and still the producers worked all day and all night on getting sales. 8am in the morning there was Robert, the producers and international sales agents sitting around the table discussing strategy. I was with Robert and the gang at a party at Midnight (the same day) and they were meeting financiers, distributors and agents. I woke up the next morning sure enough 8am, there they were again meeting new peeps!
You getting the message guys and girls?
Time to sleep…..