What is the Forum ?

The International Forum of New Cinema is an independent section of the Berlin International Film Festival dedicated to innovative and experimental cinema. It is considered worldwide as one of the most prestigious showcases for independent and alternative films, for films from developing countries, for a cinema outside of established genres and independent of market considerations.

The Forum is organized as part of the International Berlin Film Festival by the association "Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek" ("Friends of the German Film Archive") under their own responsability. The Forum was born in 1971 as consequence of a crisis which the Berlin Film Festival encountered in 1970. It became necessary to create a new institution which would serve as a platform for new film genres, as laboratory for new film forms and as a home for independent cinema, for the cinema of the future. This task was given to the "Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek". Since then the Forum - with its own goals and profile - has become an
important and inseparable part of the Berlin Film Festival, and it has won a high international reputation.

Goals: The Forum is especially devoted to films with experimental aesthetics which develop new styles, reflect contemporary issues or open up new horizons. No genres, styles or formats of cinema are excluded. We are looking for films which stimulate, provide new experiences and create discussions. We are interested in films which are considered impossible to screen or to distribute, but which contain a vision.

With 'young' cinema we do not necessarily mean films by young directors (even though they are an important part of the program), but new, unusual, innovative films. The age of directors is of no importance to the forum. To avoid misunderstandings we therefore call the Forum in English "International Forum of New Cinema".

Profile: As a principle, the filmmakers of the Forum discuss their filmswith the audience in the cinema after the screening (this takes the place of customary press conferences). For all films, detailed information material is provided, and after the festival the Forum tries to help towards the distribution of the films. The films should not disappear after the festival, they should remain in life and continue to seen and to be accessible.
For this purpose, the Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek offer their assistance through their own distribution service. Since 1971 they have created a large collection of Forum films which are shown - according to the terms of contracts concluded with the filmmakers or rights owners - in non-commercial cinemas, Goethe Institutes, film archives, cultural centres and at other festivals.

Selection: in the process of selecting films for the Forum those films are preferred which have not yet been shown at other festivals before. Documentaries are accepted as well as feature films or other film genres. Films should have a minimal length of 60 minutes, and must not have been shown in German cinemas or on German television before. Films will be selected by a selection committee in Berlin and in various countries. The forum accepts films in 35 and 16 mm, original videos are shown in a special programme section.

Cinemas: The films of the Forum are shown at different venues in Berlin. After the move of the festival to the new locations at Potsdamer Platz, the following cinemas are being used by the forum (as of February 2000):

the cinemas Cinemaxx 3 and 5 at Potsdamer Platz
the cinemas CineStar 5 and 8 at Potsdamer Platz
the Delphi Cinema near Zoo station in the old festival area
the Arsenal at Welserstr. 25 (a theatre operated by the Friends of the
German Film Archive since 1970 and active throughout the year).
Part of the Forum program is also shown at the Babylon/Tschechisches Zentrum in Berlin-Mitte.

Each cinema has its own, specific circle of spectators. Cinemaxx 5 is a press cinema. At Cinemaxx 3, at the Delphi and at CineStar 8 the Forum screens its main program, which consists of four films per day, the films of the daily Midnight Section are shown at the Delphi and repeated in other cinemas at other times. Films made in video format are shown by video projection at the Arsenal and at the CineStar 5; films selected by the Forum for the section 'New German Cinema' (which is organized jointly with the Competition) are shown at the CineStar 5 and Cinemax 3 - and for accredited guests in yet another cinema.

Information: Information on Forum films can be found in an Information brochure (printed in A 5 format and large circulation) and a detailed catalogue in A 4 format, where each film is presented on one or several pages. Brochure and catalogue are bi-lingal (German/English). Furthermore, the Forum publishes its program also on the Internet (http://www.fdk-berlin.de/). The calendar of all the forum screenings is printed as a poster which can
be folded up. There is also a graphic poster which this year is based on a still from the film "Fleeting Passage to the Orient" by Ruth Beckermann(Austria).

To mark its 30th anniversary in 2000, the forum has published a volume of documentation entitled "Between Barricades and Ivory Towers" containingtexts, documents and stills from 30 years of forum history (and pre-history).

New creations in 2000 at Potsdamer Platz
The forum has created a meeting point on the first floor of "Weinhaus Huth"(this location is also our guest reception and ticket counter). Furthermore, on the 6th floor of the Film House at Potsdamer Platz (Potsdamer Strasse N. 2, permanent location of our offices and of the two new Arsenal cinemas to be opened in June 2000), an "i.club" will be established where several conferences and round table discussions will also be held. Both areas are accessible to accredited festival guests.

Press echos

"The International Forum of New Cinema is still the most important sidebar section of the Berlin film festival; over the years, it has become, for the more curious among the film lovers, its main section." (Peter W. Jansen)

"The Forum is still one of the most important international platforms for independent film productions which do not (or not primarily) consider themselves as mass products or box office hits. The Forum is indispensible for seeing the multitude of filmic expressions." (Robert Richter)

"Film lovers who want to discover innovative films during these ten days of filmic marathon find their right address - like every year - at the International Forum of New Cinema." (Josef Lederle)

"The International Forum of New Cinema fullfills those tasks which alone justify the rapidly growing amount of film festivals and public funding: to present that sort of filmic art, which - for different reasons - has no chance in the commercial world of cinema, and which, if seen on TV - if it finds the way to be shown there - is seen only with a reduced effect."
(Thomas Rothschild)

Highlights of past Forum Programs

The programs of the Forum in the 70s and 80s reflect the development of international cinema in the domain of independent productions. Various directors who showed their first films at the Forum later became quite popular. This goes for Raoul Ruiz, Derek Jarman, Peter Greenaway, who were regular guests of the Forum; also for the directors of the early Swiss
cinema (Tanner, Soutter) as well as for René Allio and the brothers Taviani. Jean-Luc Godard was often here, and so was Jean Eustache with his masterpiece LA MAMAN ET LA PUTAIN; Jacques Rivette presented his four-and-a-half hour film OUT ONE SPECTREas a world premiere in 1973 (later in 1991, the film was shown in its complete version with a running time of 750 minutes). The Forum has specialized in showing these unusual and rare films, sometimes difficult to access.

The Forum has always felt a particular obligation towards history, and has therefore frequently shown films about the German past, the Nazi era and the holocaust; but it has also shown films about dictatorships in other countries (like under Stalinism) and about myths of history. Most important example in the history of the Forum concerning these topics was Claude Lanzmans SHOAH (presented in 1986, for the first time in Germany), but also LODZ GHETTO (Alan Adelson), PARTISANS OF VILNA (Josh Waletzky and Aviva Kempner), Marcel Ophuls' HOTEL TERMINUS and Erwin Leiser's EVERYBODY WAS A PIMPF should be mentioned.

Generally the forum has preferred films of unusual length, like TAIGA- Ulrike Ottinger, which runs for 8 hours and 21 minutes, or Bela Tarr's SATANTANGO - 7 hours and 16 minutes. Among the German directors whose films were shown at the
Forum are Rudolf Thome, Ulrike Ottinger, Jutta Brückner, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Helma Sanders-Brahms, Rosa von Praunheim, Werner Schroeter, Wim Wenders, and documentary filmmakers like Rolf Schübel, Klaus Wildenhahn, Helga Reidemeister, Barbara and Winfried Junge and Volker Koepp. And in 1978 two woman directors showed their first feature films at the Forum:
Margarete von Trotta und Helke Sander.

Geography of films: In the 70s and the 80s the Forum had mainly shown films from Europe, Eastern Block countries as well as US independents, latinamerican and international avantgarde films; those were followed in the late 80s and 90s by the discovery of the independent cinema of Asia, from countries like Taiwan, Japan, Hongkong, Korea, India (the forum organized two special Indian panorama programs), Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Burma and Indonesia. In 2000, the forum has maintained this special orientation and is presenting nine films and videos from Japan, but also independent films and videos from China and Hong Kong.

The list of filmmakers who became well known via the Forum, whose films were special events in Berlin, is - apart from the names mentioned already - too long to be mentioned in full, so here is a short version.

Germany: Helke Misselwitz, Fred Kelemen, Erwin Leiser, Ula Stöckl, Wim Wenders, Gordian Maugg, Alexander Kluge, Edgar Reitz, R.W. Fassbinder, Romuald Karmakar, Herbert Achternbusch, Werner Schroeter, Andres Veiel, Jutta Brückner, Pepe Danquart, Didi Danquart, Andreas Dresen, Fred Kelemen, Ulrike Ottinger, Helma Sanders-Brahms, Rudolf Thome, Thomas Arslan, Hans-Dieter Grabe, Ebbo Demant.

East and Middle Europe: Krzyzstof Kieslowski, Gabor Body, Istvan Szabo, Wassilij Schukschin, Gleb Panfilow, Andrej Tarkowskij, Otar Iosseliani, Sergej Paradshanow, Alexander Sokurow, Sergej Bodrow, Lucian Pintilie, Bachtiar Chudonasarow, Konstantin Lopushanski, Lidija Bobrova, Juri Chaschtschewatski, OIleg Kowalow, Eduard Sachariev, Miklos Jancso, Pjotr Lutsik, Vladimir Khotinenko.

Western Europe: Jacques Rivette, Chantal Akerman, Aki and Mika Kaurismäki, Olivier Assayas, Derek Jarman, Léos Carax, Jean Rouch, Robert Kramer, Manoel de Oliveira, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Raymond Depardon, Claire Denis, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Gianni Amelio, Claude Lanzmann, Marcel Ophuls, Richard Dindo, Clemens Klopfenstein, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergio Citti, Pappi Corsicato, Dominique Cabrera, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Michael Haneke, Ruth Beckermann, Ron Havilio, Stefan Jarl, Johan van der Keuken, Boris Lehman, Theo Angelopoulos, Tsipi Reibenbach, Pantelis Voulgaris, Yolande Zauberman, Jean-Claude Biette, Amos Gitai, Annik Leroy, Michael Kreihsl, Chris Marker

Latin America
: Jorge Sanjinez, Carlos Diegues, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Eliseo Subiela, Fernando Solanas, Fernando Birri, Fernando Perez, Daniel Diaz Torres, Tomas Gutierrez Alea

Africa: Ousmane Sembène, Safi Faye, Djibril Diop Mambety, Souleymane Cissé, Gaston Kaboré, Abderrahmane Sissako, Jean-Marie Téno

Asia: Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Stan Lai, King Hu, Wong Kar-wai, Chen Kaige, Shinsuke Ogawa, Ning Ying, Allen Fong, Shuji Terayama, Nagisa Oshima, Sogo Ishii, Kohei Oguri, Kazuo Hara, Rituparno Ghosh, Jia Zhang Ke, Koki Mitani, Kohei Oguri, Sabu, Shinobu Yaguchi, Fruit Chan, Kyoshi Kurosawa, Dariush Mehrjui, Mani Ratman, Johnnie
To, Wu Wengguan

USA/Canada: Jim Jarmusch, Atom Egoyan, Tom DiCillo, Todd Solontz, Yvonne Rainer, Frederick Wiseman, Don Alan Pennebaker, Jon Jost, Michael Snow, James Benning, Alan Berliner, Daniel Eisenberg, Ernie Gehr, Ken Jacobs, Michael Moore, Amos Poe, Todd Verow, Iara Lee, Michael Almereyda, Jennifer Fox, Peter Wintonick

Australia: Jane Campion, Arthur and Corinne Cantrill.

The following prizes are given to films of the International Forum of New Cinema:

Wolfgang Staudte Prize (DM 20.000),
Caligari Film Prize (DM 5000),
Prize of the Readers of the Berliner Zeitung (DM 5000),
FIPRESCI Prize of the International Filmcritics organisation,
Netpac Award (Netpac= Network for the Promotion of Asian Films),
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury,
CICAE Prize (DM 5000),
Peace Prize (DM 10.000)

Presence of the Forum programme at other festivals: The Forum has been invited by many institutions, film archives and festivals to show selections from its past or present programmes. Homages to the Forum and/or retrospectives have been shown at the following places: Cinémathèque Française, Paris; Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels; Filmoteca Española, Madrid; Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona; Film Museum, Moscow (Retrospective in 1995 with 70 films and 40 programmes); Filmpodium Zurich; International Filmfestival Singapore; European Filmfestival, Athens; Short film Festival Grimstadt/Norway; Hungarian Film Institute, Budapest; Filmoteca Mexico, Mexico City, Association of filmmakers of Georgia.

Berlin, February 2000

forum 2000