FINDING COURAGE: MY VISIT TO BERLINALE TALENTS' SCRIPT STATION
The Berlin International Film Festival is known for many things; prestigious awards, wonderful opportunities, and of course, the Berlinale Talents which is the festival's innovation lab. Berlinale Talents focuses on building budding filmmakers, and hosts various project labs which feature different aspects of filmmaking. Script Station is one such project lab, where ten selected filmmakers are offered a chance to develop their projects in regards to concept, story and structure. During the whole week, filmmakers start with an intensive project development day, and attend intensive one-on-one sessions with a script mentor. After working with the mentor for a week, filmmakers get an opportunity to present their projects at the European Film Market. Filmmakers taking part in Script Station can also participate in the Summit program of Berlinale Talents. In order to qualify for Script Station, one has to fill out two applications: the general application for Berlinale Talents, and further specific information for Script Station, which requires submission of a detailed treatment or first draft of the screenplay.
Each year filmmakers from all over the world gather at Script Station. This year, I was inspired by the presence of very sensitive men and women with unique and diverse stories to tell. The films that took part in this year's script station were "Safe'n'Quiet" by Justyna Tafel (Poland), "The Little Things" by Kivanc Sezer (Turkey), "After the Winter" by Ivan Bakrac (Montenegro), "Axiom" by Jöns Jönsson (Germany), "System Crasher" by Nora Fingscheidt (Germany), "Marlha" by Anaïs Volpé (France), "Medusa" by Anita Rocha da Silveira (Brazil), "Harvest" by Ely Dagher (Lebanon), "Late Appointments" by Sarah Friedland (USA) and "Made in Bangladesh" by Rubaiyat Hossain (Bangladesh).
It was quite an enlightening experience to meet with filmmakers from other parts of the world who share the same dreams. I was personally amazed by the strong and talented women filmmakers at this year's Script Station. The most important point to note here is that these women all had unique stories to tell about young and elderly women in different cultural contexts. All the stories presented at Script Station were culturally rooted and sensitive stories. Hearing other filmmakers pitch their films and narrate their stories was a great source of learning for those present. The environment of Script Station was made warm by the wonderful coordinator Arne Kohlweyer. The mentors were matched with the projects with the juries who had selected the projects. There was almost an immediate connection one felt with the mentor; given the mentor already had track record of working in similar projects.
The tag line for this year's Berlinale Talent was 'Courage Against All Odds'. The courage I gained was by interacting with other filmmakers and hearing their stories. We shared our stories, our hopes and our vulnerabilities. During the time of Script Station, friendship grows among the filmmakers because they all believe in each other's stories; they all hope and dream to see these stories made. The best part of attending Script Station for me was to meet the other participants. When I arrived back safe at New York (in the midst of the immigration hassle) the first people I sent a text to was my Script Station friends.
By Rubaiyat Hossain