DAY ONE - BERLIN THE REDUX
On the flight over we were joined by Jinga Films' Julian Richards, in the market to sell their latest acquisition, CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT, an Argentine vampire fantasy originally titled LIMBO. Plus my old Critics Circle compadre, Derek Malcolm, who really must now be the oldest reviewer in the UK. And I mean that in the nicest possible sense!
Personally I like Berlin in preference to Cannes. OK, it's winter and colder - apparently we aren't going to get the balmy festival we had in 2014 either. But from the point of view of screening access, less frantic meetings and the convenient Potsdammerplatz central hub, it's a better experience all round. And it doesn't cost the earth like what all the crooks charge in Cannes trebling everything in May. Cannes is heading for a fall soon in that department unless they get with the programme and realise people don't like being perpetually ripped-off. When I see their 'official' figures for attendance in the market place and know for a fact they don't match the reality of the situation it makes me laugh over their head-in-sand stance. The utterance, 'Well, it's Cannes' as if that excuses everything is now a pathetic sidestepping of the issues.
Because public transport is so ace in this city there isn't one area people have to stay in for convenience. And I'm staying in Kreutsberg - the Soho of Berlin - again with my great mate Buddy Giovinazzo who I have now known for 30 years thanks to him writing to me thanking me for my 'Shock Xpress' review of his seminal COMBAT SHOCK. Buddy has been a real constant in my life - he attended a Shock Around The Clock with his JONATHAN OF THE NIGHT - and he's put me up, and put up with me, in LA, New York and now Berlin where he has been directing German TV thrillers starring Udo Kier. Kier is here to accept one of those lifetime achievement awards so popular at Festivals like this and we're planning to have dinner with him next week to catch up. Buddy has just written a new US TV series entitled 'The Fourth Nail', one of the best scripts I've read in recent years, which looks like it will be produced by the team behind 'Fargo'. Fingers crossed there. It was always our plan to work together at some stage but sadly it's never happened even though he did write a part for me in his Video Nasty tribute 123 DEPRAVITY STREET, which involved me having an orgy with fish. I won't explain furtherI digress. Back to Berlin and a packed agenda awaits. There's a lot of recent Sundance attractions showing, like TURBO KID and THE NIGHTMARE, and plenty of new titles too, in particular STUNG and WE ARE STILL HERE. Must say I'm particularly looking forward to GERMAN ANGST, THE HALLOW, KNOCK, KNOCK and ONE & TWO, with NASTY BABY and THE DIABOLICAL coming close seconds. Meetings will include my annual coffee break with director Alberto Marini to find out where we are with his SUMMER CAMP body counter, and I will be looking in on our old friends at XYZ, MPI, WTF and Reel Suspects, who I only saw back in December in Buenos Aires at Ventana Sur where they promised me some market premieres to whet the appetite.
On the more mainstream front I have to do some work on Disney's CINDERELLA reboot and unlike the rest of my critical pack do NOT have to disguise myself and crash screenings of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, which receives its world premiere here next Wednesday. File that one under life is too short! And surely it's just going to look like an episode of 'The Red Shoe Diaries'. Three parties are looming on the horizon being hosted by Neuchatel, Fantasia and Oldenberg, where we'll catch up with our festival friends and swap the usual notes on what's hot and what's not. Will there be any pleasant surprises lurking in the line-up? I do hope so and you'll be the first to hear about them if there are.
Until next time.
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