Raindance is an organization that dedicates itself to nurturing independent talent by hosting workshops and film festivals in major cities across the globe, bringing together filmmakers, film aficionados and the industry. From November 20th – 23rd it hosted the Raindance Berlin Film Festival at Katerholzig, presenting a series of back-to-back events such as film screenings and workshops like Pitch or Die, Writing Drama from Real Life and Extreme Documentary Filmmaking.
Katerholzig was the perfect backdrop for creating a Berlin-bohemian space where filmmakers had the opportunity to be in dialogue with a selection of directors, producers and coaches, and be guided by them through their work.
My personal highlight was the closing film. After having a complimentary perfect-for-hangover Jameson’s Whiskey and watching the sobering Canadian documentary Tales from the Organ Trade, I leapt into the oddly magical world of Japanese high school students. Yoshida Daihachi’s The Kirishima Thing is the winner of the Best Film and Best Director awards at the Japanese Academy Awards for a reason. It is a story about students who take first conscious steps in the autonomous formation of their identity. In a mesmerizing play with time, the film depicts the perspectives from different students, thereby letting their worlds co-exist. The repetition of the same scenes from different point-of-views seems less linked to a psychological investigation of how the individuals experience that given moment, than an approach to establishing unfamiliar objectivity. Nonetheless, Daihachi stays true to the eye of the childlike observer and simultaneous creator of one’s own universe, which makes his film a touching work of poetry that reminds us of the adventures within the quotidian experience of teenagehood. It starts off as an almost absurdly awkward story that gradually unfolds as a complex fantastical journey that thoughtfully questions reality. The plot may remain unresolved, but one comes to understand these childlike young adults by cinematically experiencing their insecurities with them, and thus re-living one’s own.
The film is representative for the impressive scope of non-mainstream work that was presented as part of this fun and engaging 4-day festival program. You wouldn’t want to miss lounging on scruffy couches during a master talk and watching film through a cloud of cigarette smoke, reminiscent of freedom. So keep an eye out for future events and the ongoing courses they offer!
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Article by Halea Isabelle Kala