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Phillip Bergson


Writing about Films and Festivals.

 

Film Critic, UK,Invited Member  of  The UK Critics' Circle

FIPRESCI abd the European Film Academy.

Visiting Lecturer, Prague Film School.

 

Winner of the  "Student Journalist of the Year" competition in the UK weekly New Statesman, as a Classics Scholar Phillip Bergson then founded the Oxford Film Festival and, on graduating, was selected by "The Sunday Times" as a 'New Critic' and in the same week began broadcasting on film for many BBC Radio programmes. A contributor to the "Times Literary Supplement", "TES",The Spectator,film critic on "The Sunday Standard", "Screen International",Variety, "Film Bulletin", "Film a Doba" inter alia, and on the FilmFestJOURNAL in Berlin and Screen Dailies at Cannes,he also worked for the "European Script Fund", has scripted shorts and features (that have been produced and released) and, fluent in eight-and-a-half languages, currently programmes and advises several international film festivals and is.Casting Consultant on several international features. At the National  Museum of Photography, Film and Television, in his native Yorkshire, he created the "Eurovisions" project, to promote classic and contemporary European cinema,which was inaugurated at the Cine Lumiere in London by His Excellency the President of Iceland.

Presenter and Programmer,London Turkish Film Week, December 2018

Co=programmer, 2nd London Turkish Film Week, April 2019

Artistic Director, 3rd London Turkish Film Week, planned for 1-7 June 2020.

As a FIPRESCI Jury Member

and a member of  International Juries at

Thessaloniki, Europa Cinema (Rimini), Munich Documentary, Manaki Brothers,Cine Jove (Valencia),Chicago, TIFF-ODA


feed

Forever Young in Mannheim

"April is the cruelest month" wrote T.S.Eliot when having to choose between  invitations to fests in Istanbul, Nyon and elsewhere- then for FIPRESCI members it became September when the Fall season started to invigorate itself with Venice, Toronto, San Sebastian, Hamburg vying with each other for films and attention, and more recently October became the new September with London and Roma and Sitges and Gent clashing wildly and who gives a damn about Chicago...?

Now November is definitely the new October with a  growing number of festivals in disparate cinephile corners of the world fondly hoping to tempt the sizzled cineaste and  critical correspondent....how could a restyled, postponed Mar del Plata hope to challenge the lure of Leeds, or sunny Sevilla with its new director seduce the fipresciati away from the AFI? Even Germany- such a formidable fest and film-making federation- now divides itself between Mannheim and Cottbus, while unlucky Lubeck can barely get a look in.


Well at least Mannheim-Heidelberg and Cottbus only overlap this year, so  höffentlich maybe I shall report on the cinematic splendours of the Spreewald next week, if the coy Cottbussers will find for me a schlafsack  in the forest somewhere...

 

But then Cottbus will only come of age, so zu sagen, as it celebrates its 18th edition as a festival this year, and it is a miracle how they manage to organize a film festival at all in a city which does not house a single actual cinema.

Mannheim-Heidelberg already twinned itself 15 years ago and the procedure has been painless, indeed very successful, bringing increased audiences (probably also some institutional cash) to what is in any case the second oldest festival in Germany and, under the dynamic direction of Dr Michael Kötz and his efficient team of selectors and staff, seemingly the second most significant German film festival today.

 

A browse through the archives of the films premiered and prized in past Mannheims is a proud roll-call of independent film-makers, pioneers,and many talents that were first noted in this extraordinary city midway between Frankfurt and Baden-Baden, a city of pleasant dimensions laid out on a grid system maybe even  before Manhattan was.

 

(First-timers must not be confused -as I was some time ago-to find their hotel address is something as poetic as F4,4-11!).After a brief absence last year caused by rebuilding, the Festival Centre is back in the imposing, modern Stadthaus in the very centre of Mannheim, with 2 improved auditoria, lounge, professional facilities and a host of moderately-priced eateries and drinkeries inside the complex and within short walking distance throughout the attractive, commercial part of the city.

 

However, in keeping with the dual nature of the event, the official opening of the 57th event was in fact in Heidelberg, in a well-designed and heated large tent, the Unizelt, in that lovely historic university city. (So beloved of Cole Parter and filled with antique wunderbars)


Guests were ferried in a comfortable Pullman for the half-hour journey between the cities and after a string of charming official speeches the festival presented the International Premiere of a capable Canadian comedy, The Baby Formula, with debuting director Alison Reid and producer Paul Zimic introducing the film and participating in a lively Q and A in another part of the tent subsequently.

Meanwhile the fipresciati and other international filmerati quaffed sekt and smoked-salmon-sausage-rolls (surprisingly taste and, so far, safe!) until it was time to get  back on the bus. Decisions, decisions, but everyone seems to be glad to have opted for Mannheim (and Heidelberg) this week, at least.

 

Phillip Bergson  

Mannheim Heidelberg Ambience (Photos: Norbert Bach)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helma Sanders-Brahms director BELOVED CLARA Pascal Greggory (Robert Schumann) at the Mannheim Festival Talk Show after the premiere of GELIEBTE CLARA

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