Is there one reality for all or are there as many realities in the world as there are minds? If the latter is the case, are you in your reality or someone else’s?
Neuroscientists try to answer this mind-mazing question: “How can there be such a thing as first-person reality?” Meanwhile, quantum mechanics (branch of applied physics concerned with the movement of atoms) are perplexed with the mystery of how there can be anything but a first-person reality. In the end both fields, neuroscience and quantum mechanics, find answers in the observer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
Quantum theorist Christopher Fuchs, probably describes it best. He says, “Quantum mechanics is a law of thought.” So there are perhaps realities (perceptions that shape atomic structures) from multiple observers. A single objective reality, according to Fuchs, is an illusion.
Here is where film festivals prove powerful by offering a menu of realities to feed the atoms of our perception, the structures of our world. What will we feed? The dark, the doom, the light? All thoughts are energy.
Cologne Film Festival (formerly Cologne Conference, International Film and Television Festival), located in one of Germany’s most liberal and most progressive cities in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, along with its funding partner NRW Film und Medien Stiftung, are the humble elephants of global independent cinema that only international industry professionals know and covet. These are the institutions, Hollywood and experienced industry insiders turn to for co-production partnership and screening of unusual realities (content). By having your work screened at the Cologne Film Festival, you get noticed by producers of the world’s most powerful and ardent supporter of independent cinema. By partnering with a German production company, one qualifies not just for funding by NRW Film Stiftung, but also the German Federal Film Fund, in addition to all the extraordinary promotional support from the German government at film festivals around the world: your work is celebrated. And Germans are at a point in their development, where films don’t have to be just in German or just about white Germans, but they can of course be about the extraordinary biological and cultural diversity of this world of which Germany is a steward.
Cologne Film Festival (funded by NRW Film und Medien Stiftung) has been in existence for the last 25 years, originally known as the Cologne Conference focused on showcasing the latest trends in motion film and television for the industry. (For example, it was the place where one could watch television series globally inaccessible to get an idea of new currents). This year’s festival, which began last Friday and will last until the 14th of this month, offers screenings of controversial films like Nocturama (directed by Bertrand Bonello, about 24 hours in the lives of estranged Maghreb-French adolescents) to more hope-filled documentaries, such as Fonko (directed by Lamin Daniel Jadama, Lars Lovén, Göran Olsson, about the social-justice oriented contemporary music scene across Africa and the idea of Pan-Africa). The festival is also forward thinking in organising a section where films by refugees can be screened and even awarded, so as to readily include the talent of displaced peoples. The festival doesn’t stop there; other lectures included demonstrations of Virtual Reality in the realm of movies and celebration of international talents, such as cinematographer, Christopher Doyle. Sadly, there weren’t any films from Bangladesh (or any other South Asian country). According to Johannes Hensen, the program director of the Festival, who takes pride in leading a team of volunteers in meeting four times a year to discuss trends and promising films, the selection process is 50% based on submissions, and 50% based on actively seeking out futuristic content. Hensen points out that although there aren’t films from South Asia at the festival this year, he’s hoping that will change in the future. He also believes that diversity is sometimes missing at European film festivals due to a lack of European curiosity. If he could talk to Bangladeshi filmmakers, this is what he would say: “If you want to cross the border, you have to tell the story in a global way. This doesn’t mean copying the mode, method, and aesthetics of accomplished films. In fact, forget everything you have seen. Don’t be directed by prejudices, do not compare your work all the time; instead get a feeling of different worlds. And create.” If you want to send your recently completed film to the Cologne Film Festival, please follow the website for announcements here: http://filmfestival.cologne/en/
The Film und Medien Stiftung NRW, under the direction of Petra Müller has an annual budget of 35 million Euros and provides funding for high-content television and cinema at all stages of production and distribution. They are also open to funding innovative methods of story telling. If you come across a successful art house film, high chances are that Petra Müller’s team was involved in identifying and supporting the project, for example, Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 3-D dance film - Pina by Wim Wenders, Rush by Ron Howard, Melancholia by Lars von Trier.
The foundation has backed around 1,800 films by established and emerging filmmakers over the last 20 years. In 2014, they began a special public-private partnership with filmmaker, Wim Wenders, creating a grant “to support young film-makers telling stories with new means and enriching the visual language.” The contact persons at the Film und Medien Stiftung NRW regarding this grant are Susanna Felgener and Sven Ilgner. Further information and documents on the Wim Wanders’ Grant can be found at www.filmstiftung.de
Finally, if you have a good project and want to search for a German co-production partner for your film, you can download the list of Germany’s producers here: http://www.focusgermany.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Coproduction-List-FOCUS-Germany_2016.pdf
The way to look through this list is to find films on the list that are similar to yours and then gently follow up with an email to the relevant producer with an inquiry. Go forth, make films, and add to the diversity of realities.