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European Film Awards


The European Film Awards are presented in 15 categories and take place in Berlin every second year.

European Film Awards

 

Every year, the various activities of the European Film Academy culminate in the ceremony of the European Film Awards which are presented jointly with EFA Productions GmbH. In a total of 18 categories, among them European Film, European Director, European Actress and European Actor, the European Film Awards annually honour the greatest achievements in European cinema.

The awards ceremony takes place in Berlin every second year. In the other years, the Awards travel: London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Tallinn and Malta.

The 30h European Film Awards will take place in Berlin 9 December 2017 @EuroFilmAwards #efa2017 #efa30years

 

 


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HANSEL & GRETEL: A Fairy Tale with Refugee Children

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In October 2016, the EFA Project FREMDE WELTEN - NEUE FREUNDE, realised in co-operation with the agency Berliner Wohnplattform which operates various housing projects for refugees and homeless people,and supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, brought together around 500 residents, EFA Members, neighbours and friends at a shelter in Berlin-Charlottenburg for a special celebration. Being part of this encounter gave EFA Member and costume designer Stefanie Bruhn the idea to shoot a film with the children.

 

How did you get the idea for a project with refugee children and how did you continue to develop it?
The EFA invited us EFA Members from Berlin to an emergency shelter in Berlin for an event called FREMDE WELTEN - NEUE FREUNDE (Foreign Worlds – New Friends) with a screening of the film ALMANYA-WELCOME TO GERMANY – for which I had done the costume design - funny coincidence!
 
For quite a while the idea to engage in some form against the rising racism had been on my mind. 

Ken Loach’s lecture “Reflections on Britain’s Departure from the EU” at our last EFA General Assembly was also a key inspiration. He mentioned a European collaboration of artists based on values.
 
The EFA event was my first contact with a house full of refugees under rough conditions and I was very curious. The shelter was a former school building with shower facilities in containers in the courtyard in a completely desolate environment. There was nothing romantic or cosy. The room was full with children of all ages, all in their best clothes and very excited about what would happen. They spread such light and joy and beauty, in complete contrast to the harsh reports in the media about darkness, violence and death.
 
It was immediately clear to me that I wanted to do a film project with all of them.
 
Who are your collaborators? Was it difficult to get support for the project?
Marion from the EFA encouraged me dearly to do something, and also Kirsten Niehuus and Veronika Grob from Medienboard were very enthusiastic when they heard about my idea to do a fairy tale film together with the children.

My producer Alexis von Wittgenstein agreed immediately, when I called him the night before the application deadline and my key collaboration brain Bettina Schröder, as dramatic adviser, also said yes, she would support it.

From the very beginning of our weekly sessions in the shelter my longtime collaborator Simone Zimmermann was with me. She brought her violin and we started very basic with the story of HÄNSEL&GRETEL in the sports hall.

That was in November.

The next steps were horribly difficult and I almost gave up. The children destroyed or took away everything. Their need was gigantic.

Companies and also friends, who had offered support, had other things to do. 
For a long time no one gave us any money. I literally went from door to door asking for donation - Paper left-overs from the copy shop, these became our flames. To get started, I bought everything out of my own pocket: Paper to draw on, paints, brushes and many many chocolate cookies.

I wrote a lot of letters. Slowly we received materials like a big box of wool, fabrics and even flutes. Rather small family-run companies showed generosity, support and interest.

It was a very hard time. What kept my head above water were the children.
They were enthusiastic like I never would have imagined. Every Tuesday, when we arrived, they were already waiting for us at the security gate, grabbing our bags to carry them upstairs to the sports hall. They washed the teapots and cleaned the huge hall perfectly after the mess of our happenings. 

Who really turned the tide for the project was Marie-Louise Frigast, the Danish agent of Benjamin Kirk Nielsen, our great DOP. She understood immediately my aim to show beauty in a documentary environment and connected me with Benjamin. Out of nothing, just with four lights, he managed to create such a beautiful scenery in which he shot these most tender images.

HanselGretel_Stills.JPG

My next golden angel was EFA Member and editor Peter R. Adam who offered his support when he saw the first rough cut of what Benjamin had created.

Peter, most skilled master of sound and rythm, guided our film through the whole process not only of editing, but also titling, subtitling and post-production. A great joy to work with such a patient and passionate kind artist!

The team was completed with two extraordinarily talented young composer brothers Niklas and Malte Melcher, students from the Music Academy in Munich, as well as a genius animator San Charoenchai from Los Angeles, whom Benjamin suggested. He had found his work in the internet and we both loved it. So I wrote him a mail, we skyped, he was in on it and brought the drawings of the children to life.

Luckily we eventually got some support from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. That was a true celebration day and we felt fantastically rich after so many month of financial insecurity.

The demanding post-production was very very generously sponsored by ARRI Munich and also by NORDISK FILM SHORTCUT Copenhagen for color grading.

What was the reality of shooting a film with all of these almost 80 children from different backgrounds like?
 
This was a piece of cake in comparison with everything else.
The children slowly understood that something special was going on.
They had complete freedom and there was no focus on a single one.
The ones willing to join came. That was slightly different from day to day and completely relaxed.

Only the temperature during our excursion into the forest with minus eight degree was tough because they were absolutely not used to temperatures like that and had never really been in a German forest before.

HG_Still2.jpeg

Do you have a favourite story?
Yes. The most challenging scene was the fabrication of the candy necklaces for our witch house. 

I could just about manage to keep the children from immediately eating all the candies up by announcing that there is PIG EVERYWHERE INSIDE - due to their Muslim culture, they were so scared to have pig gelantine in the sweets that it worked.

HG_Still1.jpeg

It was not true, of course, I had bought PIG-FREE sweets for them. But it worked - luckily some companies are inventing animal free gelatine sweets now.

You just showed the film’s premiere. Who was there and what was the atmosphere like?

It was just great. Marion and Nikola (from the EFA) suggested the Filmtheater am Friedrichshain (FAF), a Berlin cinema, they were already connected through the EFA Young Audience Award.

HG_Screening1.jpeg

Heike van der Schoor, head of the shelter, EFA Director Marion Döring, the interpreter and Stefanie Bruhn (from left to right)

The beer garden was open, the children got free lemonade and the guests brought a lot of delicious cakes for our after-show party.

Our supporters were there with their children, members of the opera and also R.P.S. Lanrue, from the legendary German band Ton Steine Scherben, enthusiastic about the new context of his song “Der Traum ist aus” which he had donated to the project. 

What kind of career do you foresee for the film? Who can see it?
We want to show it on festivals all around the world - it should encourage other artists to follow.

Everyone can make a difference. You just have to start.
 
The people who seek our shelter are born under much more difficult circumstances. They are different because their background and culture is different. But in the end we are all the same - love, joy and beauty are universal.

Finally I would love to screen the film in schools to support the education of a generous and unafraid heart.

Are you planning a next project?
Yes, we all loved the collaboration so much, that we want to start our next project in November!

It will be a fairy tale film as well.

We hope it will be a bit easier this time and of course we will need all of your support!!!

We will be delighted to share our experience and film. 
Please contact steffibruhn@me.com we have a VIMEO LINK with password available.


 

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About European Film Awards

Edelmann Pascal
(EFA)

The European Film Awards are presented in 15 categories and take place in Berlin every second year.

The 2013 edition returns to Berlin this December.

After Paris, Glasgow, London, Rome, Barcelona, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Bochum, Tallinn and Valletta the European Film Awards 2014 will take place in Riga,  Saturday, 13 December 2014


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