To be or not to be? That isn’t a question, that’s the Queen’s dinner & a Night Out with William Shakespeare!

A Crown fit for a Queen, or any of the other Kings!
A Crown fit for a Queen, or any of the other Kings!

Last week was so exciting and was very, very British!

Why, you might ask?

Well, it was the Queen’s birthday as well as being the birth and death of William Shakespeare!

I know!!

Anyhoo!

I was invited to participate in a gala show and performance celebrating Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOUR MAJESTY!

Royal Mail Stamps with the Queen's head!
Royal Mail Stamps with the Queen’s head!

The Queen was 90!

Wow!

I’ve always found her to be absolutely marvellous and looking equally amazing at 90, as she did at 19!

I remember the letter that she commanded her Lady-in-Waiting to send me, in which I nattered away about my family holiday at the most delicate age of 9, and I never forgot the reply!

I was so proud!

WHEN IS THE QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY?

The Queen is 90!
The Queen is 90!

The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on 21 April, and her official birthday on (usually), the second Saturday in June!

The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday, a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park, and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London!

On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the spectacular Trooping the Colour Parade, which moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall, and Horseguards’ Parade, as well as a public appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

And in case you didn’t know, and of course, you did!

Queen Elizabeth has reigned longer than my namesake – Queen Victoria!
Queen Elizabeth has reigned longer than my namesake – Queen Victoria!

Queen Elizabeth II has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history becoming a much-loved, and respected figure, across the globe.

Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, and undertake many historic overseas visits. Not only is she known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, but she also carries out all of her duties against the backdrop of a full personal life, which has seen her raise four children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren, to the Royal Family.

Her Majesty has been, and continues to be, an important figurehead for the UK, the Commonwealth, and indeed, the world! At a time of enormous discord and strive, she remains unswayed, and ever solid and constant.

Her birthday celebration was a great day and made me feel proud to be British, and a part of the pomp and pageantry.

Long Live the Queen!

A DINNER FOR THE QUEEN!

The Queen's favorite dishes!
The Queen’s favorite dishes!

I was invited to honour the Queen and enjoy an exquisite gala evening at the Wintergarten Varieté theatre in Berlin.

The Wintergarten Varieté Berlin is a venue that was considered one of the stage entertainment places to be, between 1887 and 1943.

Today, the Wintergarten Varieté Berlin is a large variety theatre and located in a different part of Berlin known as Schöneberg which is a stylish, leafy suburb with boulevards and open-air markets, just great for lovely Saturday morning walks at a local farmers’ market by day and Berlin’s popular centre of gay life and community, by night!

Going bonkers at Sheer Madness or Der Helle Wahnsinn in Berlin! @ R.Pater
Going bonkers at Sheer Madness or Der Helle Wahnsinn in Berlin!
@ R.Pater

I’ve written about shows at the Wintergarten Varieté theatre in the past. Here they are below:

On this occasion, it was a black tie affair with a distinct British flair so I invited another member of the British community to accompany me – The Tall Young Gentleman – otherwise known as my tween son!

We had a delightful evening hosted by one of my musical friends and fellow MancurianJack Woodhead – and the internationally acclaimed Australian artist – Sarah Bowden.

We were comfortably seated having arrived early and shown to our table, pretty much at the front of the stage, when the rest of the table (a group of 4) asked if we could swap seats as the rest of their party were on the other table!

Of course, we obliged.

A basket of warm bread and creamy-chived butter!
A basket of warm bread and creamy-chived butter!

We started with an apertif of prosecco (for me) and orange juice (for the tween), accompanied by a basket of warm bread and creamy-chived butter. And then a camera crew swooped in.

Imagine my annoyance when the TV reporter looked briefly around in some sort of confusion, and then quickly proceeded to interview the pleased but startled middle-aged man, who was seated in the chair that I had just left!

After about a minute, they switched off the camera light, took off the mics, and belted out the left hand stage door!

Me being thoughtful and looking as if I'm about to sing! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Me being thoughtful and looking as if I’m about to sing!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Hmmmrff! Have I become one of those people..”but don’t you know who I am?!!!”

I hope not. Eeeek!

Jack took us through an artistic-culinary programme bursting with artists and performers, not only from the United Kingdom, but other Commonwealth nations too!

And then we had our starter.

A bowl of cream of apple cider soup with fresh chopped chives and butter croutons. Yum!
A bowl of cream of apple cider soup with fresh chopped chives and butter croutons.
Yum!

We had a bowl of cream of apple cider soup with fresh chopped chives and butter croutons. Yum!

After that, we had the 40-strong (!) choir – The Embassy Singers – from the British Embassy in Berlin who did a marvellous job of entertaining us.

Next, were more friends of ours, the hilarious comedy duo Carrington-Brown, who came along with their cello – Joe!

Somewhere along those lines thereafter, we had our main course.

We were served roast beef à la Wellington. Delicious but chewy!
We were served roast beef à la Wellington.
Delicious but chewy!

We were served roast beef à la Wellington with Cumberland sauce, sautéed green asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Everything was wonderful except for the roast beef. It would have been nice if it had been rare. It was however, well-done, but a bit chewy for my taste.

Ah well, “The Tall Young Gentleman” was pleased, as he had the most important job of polishing it off, while I had his cumberland sauce!

After dinner, the sexy-gracious English aerial artist Emily Kinch gave us a lovely acrobatic performance.

Another of our personal friends also came on – Sanjay Shihora – a talented artist and famous TV comedian from India, as well as being the owner of a well-established comedy club called Kookaburra, which we all used to hang out in, back in the day, before everyone got famous lol!

And soon it was time for dessert.

Rhubarb crumble and custard.
Rhubarb crumble and custard.

We had maple syrup-walnut pudding and rhubarb crumble and custard.

I’m allergic to nuts so I had two servings of rhubarb crumble sprinkled with strawberries and cherry compote, while “The Tall Young Gentleman” had two servings of maple syrup-walnut pudding!

After that performance, we had an onslaught of British music from the British / German conductor Rainer Hersch who was just a bellyfull of laughs and very, very funny with his Quartet orchestra and his slap-stick humour! 

Not long after, the leader and singer of the Savoy Dance Orchestra from Berlin and former lead singer of the legendary Pasadena Roof Orchestra – Robin Merrill – breezed in, in full jacket and tails as he had rushed over from another performance on German TV!

A fine reminder of the Last Night of the Proms,
A fine reminder of the Last Night of the Proms,

There was more charming music and a hell of a lot more laughs and towards the end we rounded up with the The Embassy Singers once again, an enthralling black and white video and pictorial archive of selective insights, into the most significant stages, of the life-time of Queen Elizabeth II. As well as a fine reminder of the Last Night of the Proms with pieces such as “We’ll meet again,” and “Land of Hope and Glory.”

It was during the singing of “Rule Britannia” that a gulp came into my throat and a little tear of nostalgia and happiness, that the Queen had made it.

Long may she live!

I had a great time. Thanks very much Wintergarten Varieté!

AND NOW, FOR A TINY BIT OF SHAKESPEARE!

A potrait of William Shakespeare.
A potrait of William Shakespeare.

I love Shakespeare!

Everywhere you go and in my opinion, everywhere you look, there is something influenced by the books and writings of Shakespeare!

As you know, last week was not only the Queen’s birthday  but Shakespeare’s birthday too!

On April 23rd.

In fact, that day not only marked William Shakespeare’s birth, but also his death!

Shakespeare in Love!

2016 was the 400th anniversary of lifetime and all over the world was a live broadcasting showing of Shakespeare Live! From the RSC in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, hosted by David Tennant!

I have to confess that the marketing of Shakespeare in Berlin was so dismal and cruelly inadequate, such that I took up the marketing myself and started blasting my Twitter and Facebook feed, so that my friends and followers would know.

I mean, firstly, there were only two cinemas that were showing the broadcast.

In the whole city!

And secondly, when I went to buy my ticket on April 19th, just 4 days before the showing, only six (6) seats had been sold.

Six!

The house of Anne Hathaway - Shakespeare's wife!
The house of Anne Hathaway – Shakespeare’s wife!

I was amazed and utterly annoyed. So I swung into action and started telling everyone all about it!

Even with all the palaver, I still had a very awesome night.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate were marvellous and even Prince Charles joined in, and made a cameo appearance and was a very good sport!

Let’s just say “To be, or not to be, that is the QUESTION!” or “To be, OR not to be, that is the question!”

It was enormously funny, watch and see for yourself right here lol!

Me thinks there’s a PR job somewhere with my name on it. Hint! Hint!

TO BE OR NOT TO BE? THAT ISN’T A QUESTION. THAT’S A NIGHT OUT WITH WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE!

Shakespeare Lives and there's the living proof. Oh yeah. The skull!
Shakespeare Lives and there’s the living proof.
Oh yeah. The skull!

WHAT IS SHAKESPEARE LIVES AND SHAKESPEARE 400?

King Ed VI - William Shakespeare.
King Ed VI – William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Lives and Shakespeare 400 is:

  • A life’s work.
  • A 400-year legacy.
  • A year of celebrations.

It’s also a worldwide celebration of the enduring global impact, relevance and creativity of William Shakespeare – the world’s best known Briton – and the UK’s most successful cultural export ever, on the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. All over the world are activities and events in more than 140 countries, new creative commissions, partnerships with the UK’s most influential cultural institutions, and a global social media campaign to reach millions of people.

Phew!

FUN FACTS ABOUT SHAKESPEARE!

The hilarious chaps from "Horrible Histories!"
The hilarious chaps from “Horrible Histories!”
  • Shakespeare holds the Guinness World Record for being the most filmed author in the world!
  • The word ‘love’ appears 2,191 times in the complete works of Shakespeare!
  • His plays are set in 12 countries, with cities in present-day Italy being Shakespeare’s favourite.
  • Shakespeare lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, a handsome market town 20 miles south-east of Birmingham a little over two (2) hours from London. I’ve been there and it’s a lovely place with lots of huge swans that bite!
  • Shakespeare married an older woman – Anne Hathaway – who was three months pregnant at the time!
  • The only comedy set in the UK is The Merry Wives of Windsor.
  • Since 1960, there have been publications and productions of Hamlet in more than 75 languages!
  • Hamlet has even been translated into Klingon, Esperanto, and Interlingua!
  • Romeo and Juliet has been performed in 24 countries in the last ten years.
  • Very little is known about the life of William Shakespeare, but between about 1590 and 1613, he wrote at least 37 plays and 154 sonnets!
The gorgeous David Tennant as William Shakespeare's Richard II.
The gorgeous David Tennant as William Shakespeare’s Richard II.
  • William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets have been adapted into 420 feature films and TV-movies!
  • Shakespeare wrote many plays and many poems. The most famous among his 10 tragedies are Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear.
  • Shakespeare’s best-known poems are The Sonnets, first published in 1609.
  • West Side Story (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins) was inspired by Romeo and Juliet.
  • Kiss Me, Kate (George Sidney) was inspired by The Taming of the Shrew.
  • Forbidden Planet (Nicholas Nayfack) was inspired by The Tempest.
  • Looking for Richard (Al Pacino) was inspired by Richard III.
  • The most popular name from a Shakespeare play used today is Olivia.
  • Romeo and Juliet is based on an Italian folktale, which Shakespeare read in translation.
  • Shakespeare’s epitaph wards off would-be grave robbers with a curse and indeed, Shakespeare’s remains have yet to be disturbed!
  • It’s believed that Shakespeare wore a gold hoop earring, as he lived a bohemian lifestyle and was not a pirate!
  • Some people think Shakespeare was a fraud and was not to be!
Illuminating Shakespeare Artists' Impression.
Illuminating Shakespeare Artists’ Impression.

That’s it for now!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary invitation, all opinions and the scrumptious rhubarb crumble and custard that I had at the Gala, are my very own!

In the summer I’ll be going to Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and possibly Russia!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be finalising my writing about Spain and focusing on Portugal!

Sometime between now and May 1st, I’ll be visiting the interactive exhibition Discover Mexico or Entdecke Mexiko taking place on Washingtonplatz. It’s free to the public. Go see!

On April 27th, I’ll be attending STRICTLY STAND-UP – The English Comedy Night Show!

On April 29th, the TV interviewed that I did for Deutsche Welle (Germany’s international broadcasting station), about the 5th wedding anniversary of our very own William & Kate, will be broadcast! As soon as I get the exact details, I’ll inform you all via Twitter and Facebook!

On May 5th, I’ll be at a Travel Massive & DNX Mingle so if you’re a blogger or just interested in travel, lifestyle or travel technology, then come and meet us! Registration and attendance is free of charge!

From May 18th – May 22nd, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Award ceremony.

April is hopping!

Berlin is going to be so much fun, so if you’re in town, come and join us!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you must be bonkers!

Watch this space!

To be or not to be? That isn't a question, that's the Queen's dinner & a Night Out with William Shakespeare!
To be or not to be? That isn’t a question, that’s the Queen’s dinner & a Night Out with William Shakespeare!

Would you choose dinner with the Queen? Would you choose beer with Shakespeare? Or do you prefer rhubard and custard?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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17 reasons to visit Cheshire in the English countryside, quite close to Wales!

A view of the Penhaligon's shop sign from The Rows in Chester!
A view of the Penhaligon’s shop sign from The Rows in Chester!

So last week, I went to Cheshire and I had a most marvelous time!

As you know, I obtained an MA – Masters of Art Degree at the University of Chester.

Good Times!

If you would like to know a little bit about England just follow the links below:

Cricket and a spot of lunch!
Cricket and a spot of lunch!

And of course, if you want to read about Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

As I told you a few weeks ago, Cheshire is very close to Wales, sometimes having both Welsh and English names, in various parts of the county!

Wales is very nice. I might write about it someday!

The White Hart Hotel, Cheadle, next to St Mary's Church.
The White Hart Hotel, Cheadle, next to St Mary’s Church.

I grew up in Cheadle, a suburban village in what was then known as Greater Manchester, and when my brother and I went to university, my family moved to Cheshire.

Cheshire is an Anglo-Saxon settlement first thought to have been created by King Edward (Edward the Elder) in AD920. The county is in the country (the country-side) and is mostly rural with small towns and villages supporting the local agriculture and industry, and so we have horses not far from the home of one of my brothers!

It’s a lovely place so now’s the time to write about it.

17 REASONS TO VISIT CHESHIRE IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE, QUITE CLOSE TO WALES!

Cheshire's Peak District.
Cheshire’s Peak District.
  • Cheshire is a county in the North-West of England and has a population of about 1 million people.
  • Explore Cheshire’s Peak District which covers 100 square miles of inspiring scenery brimming with dramatic landscapes, world-class events, fascinating history, wonderful heritage and beautiful gardens.
  • Take a vigorous walk through the Gritstone Trail – a 35 mile walking route covering wild moorland, rocky outcrops, impressive peaks and breathtaking scenery. Gulp!
  • Go on a rather more gentler sprint through the Sankey Valley Country Park & Trail.
A swan in Sankey Valley Park in Cheshire. © Mike Boden.
A swan in Sankey Valley Park in Cheshire.
© Mike Boden.

The 15 mile (24km) Sankey Valley Park is steeped in history and follows the course of England’s first and oldest canal spanning from St Helens in Lancashire right down to Speke in Liverpool!

The canal was opened in 1757 to carry coal from the mines around the St Helens area to the markets of Liverpool and Cheshire and pioneered the canal age from the late 18th century to the early 20th century.

We were in the Great Sankey section which has a combination of rivers, ponds, woodlands and meadows, all forming a superb backdrop to a variety of recreational and historic features.

We took a stroll under many a bridge but I was slightly worried about some of the marshland that we waded through, as I had on one of my favourite orange suede shoes!

Ooops!

Sankey Valley Park in Cheshire.
Sankey Valley Park in Cheshire.

The Sankey Valley Country Park & Trail is easy to navigate and has a history of canal activity. Just imagine horses pulling boats, the canal full of life and the sounds and smells of artisans hammering, wood-cutting, metal working, coal-burning and steaming timbers!

The park is also enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and anglers and has a maze.

  • Go the old haunted house known as Bewsey Old Hall where tales of a ghostly white rabbit, being chased by a pack of hounds, are to be seen!
Bewsey Old Hall in Warrington, Cheshire. You can see why they thought it might be haunted! @ frigger, on Flickr
Bewsey Old Hall in Warrington, Cheshire.
You can see why they thought it might be haunted!
@ frigger, on Flickr

Bewsey Old Hall is situated at Great Sankey and is on the western side of the Sankey Valley Park! Once a monastic grange, owned by the monks of Titley Abbey in Essex, Bewsey Old Hall and estate was home to the Lords of Warrington from the thirteenth (13th) to the seventeenth (17th) century and was also visited by the first Stuart king – James I – in 1617!

  • Follow the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) which is an exciting route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, linking the North and Irish seas, passing through the Pennines, alongside rivers and canals, and through some of the most historic towns and cities in the North of England!

The Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) passes from coast-to-coast between Southport and Hornsea, is 215 miles (346km) long, runs along disused railway lines and canal towpaths, is a relatively easy trail, and is open to horse riding!

Follow the path and route in Cheshire!
Follow the path and route in Cheshire!

My type of trail!

The Shadow Catchers at the Warrington Museum in Cheshire.
The Shadow Catchers at the Warrington Museum in Cheshire.

Now Warrington isn’t on the map for the world’s greatest artist, but what I saw there, left an impression on me nevertheless! I was interested in going there because I’ve always liked knowing about the history of a people and this museum had loads to teach me!

I had no idea that Warrington was so famous, or had such influence on life in the North, made clearer through the lenses of local photographers, and historic collections, in the 1840’s!

Wow!

  • OK but I bet you wouldn’t believe that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, otherwise known as Lewis Carroll, the author of the children’s classics Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, used to live in the Old Parsonage at the Cheshire village of Daresbury. Quite near Great Sankey!
The dreadful Red Queen & Alice in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!
The dreadful Red Queen & Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!

In fact, it was said that Warrington and the countryside of Cheshire gave him inspiration and there’s even a Lewis Carroll Centre in Daresbury and a large stone table of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the centre of the shopping quarter in Warrington!

  • Go for a Snowdrop Sunday Stroll at Adlington Hall and experience the showcase of snowdrops within the wilderness of Adlington’s Gardens.
  • Jump into a lambing weekend where you can actually see new lambs being born!
Lambs being born in Cheshire!
Lambs being born in Cheshire!
  • Ramble along to a Spring Bird Walk at Hare Hill which is a tranquil woodland garden, surrounded by parkland an a delightful walled garden.
  • Join a local bird watching expert for an informative two-hour walk through the garden and parkland at Hare Hill so that you can learn to identify birdsong and discover more about bird activity at this time of year. Or if you’re feeling particularly energetic, you ought to  join the Rangers at that very same Hare Hill to gain an insight into Ranger life and learn about the day-to-day running of the park, and the life of a National Trust Ranger.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Chester.
Chester.
  • Because Chester!

This article is isn’t sponsored and even though I rambled along the Sankey Valley Country Park & Trail, all the mud on my orange suede shoes, are my very own!

In April, I’ll be going to Portugal and Spain. Olé!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

Watch this space!

17 reasons to visit Cheshire in the English countryside, quite close to Wales!

Have you ever been to the English country-side? Which reason to visit Cheshire did you find inspiring?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions about Cheshire, Chester, or England, send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Think David Bowie! Think Alan Rickman! Think the British Shorts Film Festival!

BRITISH SHORTS Film Festival, 2016.

Just over a fortnight ago, the world lost two very important British icons.

Men who were true artists of their craft and who didn’t shy away from the experimental. Men who at first glance weren’t considered classically handsome chaps or the type of men for leading roles, but who made a huge significant impact on British film, music, art and popular culture. Men who knocked you for six at their sparkling performances.

David Bowie ©Alpha Press.
David Bowie

True performers who wouldn’t bat at undertaking complex non-traditional roles.

The type of film that one might be inclined to call an independent film.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

An independent film that can be found in such an event as the British Shorts Film Festival!

I Am Here by David Holmes.
I Am Here
by David Holmes.

This film festival has been around since 2007 but I only found out about it in 2015 and it’s a funny story. You can read all about it here!

Honestly, it’s great being British in Germany ‘cos you get to participate in all kinds of stuff. Only last week, I was honoured to be invited to the Friedrichstadt-Palast for a British evening of talks with distinguished guests, a room full of up-coming bloggers and interesting hacks, a look behind the scenes of the world’s largest theatre stage and an opportunity to watch the latest performance of the hit production THE WYLD which was still as brilliant as the first time that I watched it!

If you remember, I was awfully impressed and wrote all about it right here!

Yet again, the Film Festival started on 21.01.16 which was a Thursday so I went on Friday and pretty much made it a weekend to remember lol! This time, the German organiser Jürgen Fehrmann knew exactly who I was and was delighted to have me on board!

WHAT IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL?

Three Brothers by Akleem Khan.
Three Brothers
by Akleem Khan.

The British Shorts Film Festival is a collection of 155 British and Irish short films shown within a span of five (5) days from the 21st – 25th January, 2016!

This was the 9th edition of British Shorts with the publicity title: Shorts. Now. Forever. And this film festival didn’t disappoint!

British Shorts Film Festival Logo.

The British Shorts Film Festival 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. There were showings of short exciting films embracing drama, comedy, animation, thriller, horror, experimental, documentary, and music videos. There were also concerts, parties, a free film workshop (including a 48-hour film project), Open Screenings, talks and an exhibition that created an atmosphere of festivity and involvement imbibing both a jury award, and an audience award. In fact, the 2016 retrospective was dedicated to the animation department of the world-famous National Film and Television School who include such talent as the Wallace & Gromit inventor Nick Park!

RETROSPEKTIVE - Wallace and Gromit - British Shorts Film Festival 2016.
RETROSPEKTIVE – Wallace and Gromit – British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

WHO IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL FOR?

Mr Madila by Rory Waudby-Tolley which was hilarious, by the way!
Mr Madila
by Rory Waudby-Tolley which was hilarious, by the way!

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. And this year, we seemed to have a who’s who’s from Games of Thrones (Michelle Fairley & Liam Cunningham) and the BBC’s Dr. Who (Arthur Davill)!

It doesn’t matter if you have a large budget, a low-budget, or no budget at all (like we had LOL)! I very much like the British Shorts Festival because not only, were the films of the highest quality and really gripping but also, at the end of the festival ANYONE at all can present a film to be judged by a respected jury, as well as the audience.

Gulp!

BUT WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?

British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

Well, the film screenings have the following categories:

Drama.

Comedy.

Experimental.

Documentary.

Don't Fear Death by Louis Hudson
Don’t Fear Death
by Louis Hudson

Animation.

Mockumentary.

Romance.

Thriller.

Surgery (Horror) by George Clemens & Samuel Clemens.
Surgery (Horror)
by George Clemens & Samuel Clemens.

Horror.

Fantasy.

Film Noir.

Mystery.

Sci-Fi.

Holding The Strings by Benjamin Cowie
Holding The Strings
by Benjamin Cowie

Music Videos.

Retrospective: An evening’s screening dedicated to the National Film and Television School (NFTS), London showing big successes from the past four decades four (4) decades in “Directing Animation” followed by a Q&A.

DON'T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.
DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.

And an exhibition featuring photographs, and experimental films. This year’s selection was the photography and short film series DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.

Oops!

The film documents the rise of Grime, an angst-ridden and confrontational sound that emerged from the UK. The photographer and filmmaker Simon Wheatley was present for Q&A and during the entire festival, the film was shown in loops.

Paaaaaarty!
Paaaaaarty!

We live in Berlin.

Berlin is an exciting city filled with young inspiring talent so there were other interesting and exciting events and items such as:

A free festival workshop & a 48-hour film project.

Concerts & Parties.

Exhibitions.

Talks with film-makers, directors, producers and writers.

An an Open Screening for ANY short film.

Open Screening.
Open Screening.

WHERE DOES THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?

At Sputnik Kino. On Bricks!
At Sputnik Kino. On Bricks!

This is the 9th 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 in Friedrichshain, Acudkino in Mitte, and City Kino in Wedding. All delightful cinemas who show art and independent films!

I went to the Sputnik Kino which has many cool memories of stone-distressed seating made of bricks! Yes, you heard me.

Bricks!

Not to worry though as times have changed, and seating is now covered with leather, cushions and plastic beer crates!

Acudkino.
Acudkino.

This year, I also went to the Acudkino in Mitte, and City Kino in Wedding.

I’ve only been to the Acudkino in Mitte perhaps once or twice, which is embarrassing as it’s only about 15 minutes from my home! In the olden days when I didn’t actually live in Prenzlauerberg, I used to go on that street all the time as it has a place called the Weinerei Forum.

In those days, the drinks were free!

Sortof!

The Weinerei in Berlin!
The Weinerei in Berlin!

It’s shabby chic daaaarling!

I hadn’t been to the City Kino at all as it’s in a dodgy neighbourhood, but right next to the French Cultural Literature Centre! I was surprised to discover that the venue was quite nice.

City Kino. This queue was wound all the way down the staircase and right to the front door. 'Good thing I was on the press list!
City Kino.
This queue was wound all the way down the staircase and right to the front door. ‘Good thing I was on the press list!

Once you stepped in!

I really enjoyed the films as many were recognisable respected British actors in my opinion! The films I saw were of excellent quality and we were able to observe a Q&A session with two directors of the film that we had just seen! This is why I really love going to film festivals. Not only do you see outstanding films worthy of each and every award, but you get the opportunity to be close to the Directors, Producers and Actors too!

 

Open Screening - British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

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.

The requirements?

Not more than 25 minutes. And members of the public are the judges of the film.

Cost?

Absolutely nothing! For both the film-makers and the audience!

Stutterer by Benjamin Cleary.
Stutterer
by Benjamin Cleary.

I’M INTERESTED IN FILMS BUT I’M NOT A FILM-MAKER.

Room 55 by Rose Glass
Room 55
by Rose Glass

I’m not a film-maker either but I do love independent films.

I saw various clips of film between 2 and 23 minutes. Most were really interesting and clever, and some were downright disturbing, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see them!

I watched a whole host of Festival Screenings / Documentary Specials / Retrospective Screenings and an amazing number of short Animation Films, after which I dragged myself home, using the über-efficient German public transport system in the wee hours, and chatted with the pretty friendly Berlin punters!

Edmund by Nina Gantz
Edmund
by Nina Gantz

The performances were completely packed out, showing British and Irish talent in a Berlin setting.

CAN YOU MAKE A FILM YOURSELF?

Make it yourself!
Make it yourself!

You sure can!

The attraction of British films for an international crowd is either historical drama or gritty down-to-earth films. I like British films because of the grit and the reality concept, as I do Berlin films.

The Man Who Fell to Earth. David Bowie.
The Man Who Fell to Earth.
David Bowie.

At the British Shorts Film Festival, we even got to watch a part of Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 sci-fi masterpiece The Man Who Fell To Earth with the main character played by a young David Bowie about an alien on an elaborate rescue mission, to find water for his planet.

At the film festival we booked into a workshop on film-making!

Last year, I went for the fun of it and to see what it was all about but this year, I decided to take it more seriously.

We only had 48 hours and this time I wanted to go it alone as the workshop was centred on the idea of a journey. Sadly, I couldn’t find enough inspiration that would satisfy my lust for quality.

I went for the Screening of the workshop films and the standard of the film-making workshop collection was amazing. Thank goodness I didn’t submit my sorry piece of video work. It would have been shameful!

The films produced were good quality stuff with many meeting for the first time, deciding to work together, and yet managing to create, produce, edit and design, in only a few hours, even editing right before the submission deadline!

They say, stick to what you know.

I like independent films and I love film festivals.

I’m a good writer and I don’t mind writing about films, or speaking and performing in front of a camera, but I’ll leave the art of film-making to the experts!

British Shorts Film Festival.

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN TO PARTICIPATE?

Manomann by Simon Cartwright
Manomann
by Simon Cartwright

Nope!

All literature and instruction is in both German and English. It’s a British & Irish Film Festival so the films are of course, in English!

MY VERDICT?

Just Desserts by Michael Yanny
Just Desserts
by Michael Yanny

Lots of fun and learning and a really good project!

At a time when large budgets and big stars are the norm, it’s quite nice to see, support, and encourage a non-profit film-making project.

In our city.

In Berlin.

I salute you David Bowie & Alan Rickman. RIP.

For more information. Please contact: British Shorts Film Festival.

For more information about Open Screenings. Please contact: Sputnik Kino.

The back of me - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
The back of me –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

This article is not sponsored and although I received complimentary tickets, all opinions and the film that I attempted to make are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be writing Part II of the Berlin Fashion Week supplement!

On 04.02.16, I will be at a private dinner organised by the Thai Embassy!

The 66th Berlin International Film Festival – the Berlinale – will be taking place from 11.02.16 – 21.02.16 and for the first time, I will be an accredited member of the press force. I’m so excited!

Cinestar Original will be showing William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on 25.02.2016, presented by the National Theatre LIVE!

In March, I’ll be travelling to England, Spain & Portugal!

February is going to be bursting!

Watch this space!

British Shorts Film Festival 2016!

Have you ever been to the British Shorts Film Festival? Do you like British films?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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