Wednesday, February 24, 2010

99fire film award ceremony: review

"I was just in it for the thrill, the concept is so unique" one of the contestants told me at last week's 99fire films awards ceremony in the Berliner Admiralspalast. Admittedly, he did look very snug: suited up, free drink in hand, and surrounded by prominent figures of the German TV- and film industry. Probably a little more exciting than the average German twenty-something's Thursday night...

The grand prize of 9.999€ went to Sofia Bavas and her crew for their film "Zinkowski - Gegen den Rost der Welt". Further awards were given out in the category "Best Camera" and "Best Idea". All winning submissions can be viewed on the 99fire films website.

Bavas and her crew receiving their award from German actress Bettina Zimmermann.


It's times like the Berlinale when you wish the day had 48 hours and things like school and work didn't exist: a world in which all you had to do was sit back in the red velvet seats of a cinema, armed with pocorn and ready to enjoy the screening of yet another brilliant film.

Sadly, this dream world is as far away from my reality as it could possibly be at this point in time. Final exams are inching closer and closer, and leisure has become I vaguely remember from Christmas break. But - enough with the whining, life is too short to waste it with complaints and self-pity! That in mind, I ventured out of the coziness of my apartment and into the snowy city to see what this year's Berlinale had to offer.

Apart from attracting esteemed figures of the international film industry, the Berlinale also serves as a great platform for up-and-coming film makers. I was able to watch Zona Sur (directed by Juan Carlos Valdivia), the first Bolivian film ever to be part of the Berlinale. While Zona Sur has already been screened at various international film festivals and can boast a number of award nominations, hispanic cinema remains underrepresented in our culture - which is a shame, considering the masterpiece that Zona Sur can rightfully be described as. I shy away from trying to summarize and analyze the film, since it's images and dialogues speak far louder than the written word can.

To find out more about the film, visit the official website.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

99 seconds...

... isn't a lot of time. Barely enough to eat a Snickers bar, and not even close to the time it takes for my internet browser to open after I restart my computer. 99 seconds can pass so quickly, unnoticed and insignificant.

Sometimes, however, 99 seconds is more than enough time. Take the 99 fire films award, for example. It was created in 2009 and serves as a platform for everyone willing to dive into the creative pool of film making. Amateur directors and film fanatics are just as welcome as anybody else to register online and participate in the competition.

This year's registration is already closed - and time has run out! Competitors had exactly 99 hours to produce a short film on a specific topic, which has yet to be revealed. Nine lucky finalists will present their work at the official awards ceremony in the Admiralspalast Berlin on Thursday, Feburary 18th. The winner of the 99 fire films award will then receive the prize of - you guessed it - 9.999€. Further prizes will be awarded in the categories 'best camera' and 'best idea'.

Screenshots of the winning submission of 2009, "Schlafstörung":

This event is running simultaneously to the Berlinale, Berlin's international film festival, which I will soon be reporting back from - so keep comin' back for more ;)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

when i cruise the streets of berlin, they are filled with music

soul food

Previous to my first culinary experience at Satyam, I had associated Indian cuisine with chicken tikka masala, mutton madra and a lot of bathura (baloon-shaped fried bread). Today, I stand corrected. Indian cuisine by no means needs to include some form of meat to be rich in taste. In fact, all of the dishes offered at Satyam are strictly vegetarian and organic and can be prepared vegan upon request. The menue includes soups, salads, tofu and vegetable dishes, and specialties from southern India.

However, eating out at Satyam is more than just a treat for the tastebuds. Before placing their order, customers are invited to take a simple multiple-choice test, thus defining their Dosha-type. Upon learning which of the three elements of Ayurveda they match most closely, guests may also order from the special Ayurveda menue.

Most notable about this restaurant are quite frankly the staff and the kindness with which customers are treated. You can expect complimentary chapatti and extensive assistance in choosing from the menue, should you need any. The ayurvedic mindset conveyed at Satyam is very sincere. Upon delivering our compliments to the chef, the latter responded, "the food will always taste good if it is consumed by kind and polite people". Delicious food and a feel-good atmosphere - what more could one ask for?

Satyam is open daily, from 11:30h - 24:00h. It is located on Goethestraße 5/ Ecke Knesebeckstraße, 10623 Berlin. Main dishes around €7. For more information, simply stop by or have a look at the website.

Monday, February 1, 2010

stop motion sensation

I hadn't heard of Oren Lavie until my good friend Jacob messaged me the link to this video, accompanied with the words "why can I see you doing something like this?". It's good to know that I have friends who know me quite well, because I developed an instant liking for Lavie's work upon watching Her Morning Elegance.

A quick Myspace search (yes- some people still have Myspace...) revealed that Oren Lavie not only works as a singer/songwriter and director, but also as a playwright and "writer of funny books for sad children". Lavie further discloses that he often daydreams, almost always has cold feet and "enjoys squeezing big worlds into small spaces". Her Morning Elegance is the first single release of Lavie's debut album The Opposite Side of the Sea and was recently nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award in the "Best Short Form Music Video" category.

For more information and a few fun facts about the video production, have a look at Lavie's Myspace blog or his web site.

fake freckles

Spotted on the runway for Tillmann Lauterbach, Mens Fashion Week in Paris. As seen in the film "Männer mit Make-Up" by Nathalie Weiss, the freckles were airbrushed on with a self-made stencil. Makes me wish it was summer again!