I’m really excited about my forth-coming trip to the Baltic Region and you’ll be the first to hear all about it LOL! Right now, I would like to focus on some British stuff.
Living in Berlin as an expat and as The British Berliner, means that I get to go to such fabulous activities and events such as:
- Attending the Berlin Music Video Awards as a press person: A light, a camera, and a broken arm: Action and drama at the Berlin Music Video Awards.
- Going on an alternative walking tour in Berlin: If you’re looking to make a change: Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a family. Choose an alternative walking tour in Berlin!
- And then somebody saw my post and contacted me via Twitter. As a result, I was invited to go on a food walking tour in Berlin: An introduction to the international kitchen of Berlin. Go on. You know you want to. Go on. Go eat the world!
- Getting accredited for the glory of glories, That’s right and OMG! Berlin Fashion Week: How to be a part of the new fashion set: Berlin Fashion Week 2014/2015!
- And not only that, but I got to go to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin which is a huge thing. A HUGE THING and I ended up sitting one seat away from a German celebrity. I started chatting to the fellow in-between so that I looked like I was a part of the entourage!! So there! : We might not be London. We might not be Paris. But by god, we’re gonna have a jolly good time in Berlin, at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week!
- I now get invited to the biggest English-speaking comedy venue in Berlin to see all the greats and this year, Eddie Izzard is coming to Germany again, and I will be there LOL! : Bill Bailey, a very tall German, and the English-speaking stand-up comedy scene in Berlin!
- As well as being invited to theatre productions such as THE WYLD at the Friedrichstadt-Palast or Breakin’ Mozart at the Wintergarten Varieté.
As a British expat in Berlin, I also get invited to British stuff such as:
- The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I was invited by the Visit Britain Media Team! I wasn’t able to go as I was in Thailand at the time but it’s the thought that counts LOL and happily since I had actually been to Glasgow previously, I was still able to write a little something! : Go North to Glasgow!
- Press Trips such as going to France & Belgium and perhaps a complimentary dinner in Poland, hotel discounts and complimentary tourist tickets in Amsterdam, part-sponsored trips to the Baltic Region, etc.
- And able to write about British music aka Britpop and The Beatles because I was invited to a UK Beatles Revival Production going on a world-wide tour: You’re not British if you haven’t walked down Abbey Road, Penny Lane, and Strawberry Fields, with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!
- Complimentary tickets to watch The National Theatre Live worldwide productions such as Shakespeare’s King Lear or Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein performed beautifully by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller!
- As a British expat, I also get invited to the British Embassy for “cheese and wine,” “a few drinks,” A Royal Ascot celebration aka horse-riding. Since it was official Embassy event we all had to observe protocol and tradition with the ladies wearing formal daywear and a hat if you’re sitting near the Queen, and a hat, headpiece or fascinator if you’re further away. As for gentlemen (and you get to be a real lady and a real gentleman), they got to wear either a black or grey morning dress including a waistcoat and tie, a top hat, and black shoes. Nothing else would do!
- As a British expat, I get invited to networking events at the Embassy, and other social engagements. I’ve always felt honoured in being so. In fact just last week, I got a telephone call from a local TV / radio station who wanted to interview me about the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Germany. Me! I was astounded! And yes, she’s coming. The Queen is coming to Germany. I’ve never met the Queen in real life before so I hope to change that this year LOL! : 10 Reasons to be an expat.
- From time to time, I get asked to join a German TV prgoramme such as Wissenshunger on the VOX TV station. I took part on the TV show to discuss After Dinner Mints. They gave me a DVD as a thank you. Meanwhile, some friends say that repeats are still on the German network but I’ve never seen it LOL! If you’re interested, that particular episode was called “After dinner mints der Englische Versuchung” or “WH Pfefferminztaler.” if you do see it anywhere, let me know!
- As a British person, I also get to write about British stuff such as How to be British and How to go to a British pub!
- And if I’m extremely lucky, I get a tiny little paragraph that I wrote for a European food blog picked up by the American publication of The Huffington Post. THE HUFFINGTON POST! Wow! Here it is : 25 Spring Travel Tips Across Europe.
- Here’s the original post: Spring in Europe: 50 Travel Tips from Those in the Know. You can also find my other small little bits and bobs on the web here: Writing.
In short, I’m quite privileged as it goes, so in January, one of my favourite German girlfriends sent me a message on Facebook and asked me if I was going to the Festival.
“What festival I asked?”
She sent me a link.
As soon as I saw it, I contacted the organiser, a German man called Jürgen Fehrmann.
The fact is, Berlin is Germany’s capital city and a lot of things tend to happen at the same time. A lot of things. In fact, that very week I had events to attend on Wednesday and Thursday. The Festival was to start on 15.01.15 which was a Thursday. I couldn’t make it on Thursday but I went on Friday and pretty much spent the whole weekend there!
I’m married and I have a child and activities and events have to be carefully organised so that everything fits nicely. Thankfully, “The Tall Young Gentleman” had gone camping that weekend with the Boy Scouts of America. Outdoors.
And The Music Producer had another album to produce, and so I was free to go where I wished. I wished to go to the British Shorts Film Festival.
WHAT IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL?
The British Shorts Film Festival is a collection of 111 British and Irish short films shown within a span of five (5) days from the 15th – 19th January, 2015!
This was the 8th edition of the festival and even with the crisp, cold January weather, the British Shorts has evolved to become a true international audience festival with one of the most interesting platforms for British and Irish short films, outside the UK and Ireland.
WHO IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL FOR?
Well, this film festival is for established film-makers, promising newcomers, talented film students, and anybody else who has an interest in the making of short films. Indeed, the likes of Judi Dench (James Bond – 007), Michael Fassbender (The X.Men), and Martin Freeman (Sherlock Holmes (BBC) & The Hobbit) have all appeared in previous festival films.
It doesn’t matter if you have a large budget, a low budget, or no budget at all (like we had LOL!). At the end of the festival ANYONE can present a film to be judged by a respected jury, as well as the audience.
BUT WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?
Well, the film screenings have the following categories:
- Drama & Thriller.
- Animation & Experimental.
- Music Videos.
- Retrospective: “Reeling Back.” The very first (1st) British silent cinema film, accompanied by a new live score by Dirk Markham.
- Special Screening, curated by Directors Notes. Followed by a Q+A with Rob Munday (Directors Notes).
We live in Berlin.
Berlin is an exciting city filled with young inspiring talent so of course, there were other interesting and exciting events and items such as:
- A free festival workshop & a 48-hour film project.
- Stand-Up-Comedy live: Eleanor Morton’s Fringe-Show Lollipop.
- Concerts & Parties which were either free entrance or a small token of about €5.00 and you got a glass of champagne included too!
- Talks with film-makers.
- An an Open Screening for ANY short film.
WHERE DOES THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?
This is the 8th year and the festival always takes place at the home base cinema called Sputnik Kino in the suburb of Kreuzberg, with some screenings taking place at the Badehaus Szimpla, Acudkino, and Filmkunst 66.
Oh, I remember the Sputnik Kino!
Anyway, in those days, this cinema was not as comfortable as it is now.
Oh dear me no.
The seats were made of bricks! Yes, you heard me.
In Germany, you can take bottles of beer and glasses of wine into the screening with you.
Well, on this occasion, a long time ago. In the 90’s. The audience were a little upset about the film they were watching, and began to shout and throw bottles all about and at the big screen.
We got out of there pronto!
Cue 15 years later.
The seats are still made of bricks but now have soft cushions to lean on LOL!
And you can still take your drinks in with you and the clientele has changed, so nobody throws glasses and bottles about.
We’re far too artistic for that!
The Sputnik Kino has a lovely reputation of supporting aspiring independent film-makers and once a month, every third (3rd) Wednesday, has an Open Screening. This Open Screening allows film-makers to show their movies to a live audience, and is in both English and German.
No appointments are necessary, no application forms, no testings made, it doesn’t have to be “finished,” any language is accepted, no previous qualifications necessary.
It’s a forum whereby you can “test” your film, and a live audience can ask questions, make comments, positively criticise or praise your film.
Not more than 25 minutes. And members of the public are the judges of the film.
Absolutely nothing! For both the film-makers and the audience!
I’M INTERESTED IN FILMS BUT I’M NOT A FILM-MAKER.
I’m not a film-maker either LOL however, I do love British films.
I saw various clips of film between 2 and 30 minutes. Most were really interesting and clever, and some were downright weird, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see them!
I watched a whole host of Documentary Specials and also short Animation Films after which I dragged myself home in the wee hours of 2:00!
The performances were completely packed out, showing British and Irish talent in a Berlin setting.
I also watched a few live performances and a live stand up comedy show by the Scottish Variety Award nominated newcomer Eleanor Morton and her “Lollipop” stand-up show. She’s hilarious by the way and a right laugh!
CAN YOU MAKE A FILM YOURSELF?
You certainly can!
The attraction of British films for an international crowd is either historical drama such as Downton Abbey, The King’s Speech, and Titanic or gritty down-to-earth films such as Trainspotting, Billy Elliot, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
I like British films because of the grit as I do Berlin films, such as Lola Rent and Goodbye Lenin.
At the British Shorts Film Festival, we even got to watch the very first film that Ridley Scott ever made with his younger brother Tony Scott riding on a bicycle somewhere outside Durham, I think. The film was black and white and was called Boy and Bicycle.
At the film festival we booked into a workshop on film-making!
I actually went for the fun of it and to see what it was all about but my German girlfriend actually wanted to learn some movie-making techniques, and we eventually ended up making a 5 minute movie which we had to submit for film-making criticism!
We only had 48 hours to make it and I perked up I can tell you! We spent 48 hours wandering the streets of Berlin for inspiration in the German cold of January.
And then we made the film.
It’s out and it was judged. Apparently, it was OK but I can’t tell you where it is, as it’s enormously raw.
We’re actually thinking of editing it properly and showcasing it as her film portfolio and perhaps mine too. It’s arty and a far-cry from the subject matter of my blog, but you can never have too many skills LOL!