Monday, February 18, 2008

Adventures on the red carpet

I am back from Berlin, so these posts are belated, yet again. Sorry. I had a great time in Berlin but it was hectic and exhausting, hence the lack of posts. But no fear! I shall be caught up.

And so... I was not ON the red carpet, but beside it. On the last day of the Talent Campus, there was a closing party for all of us. The party was held at the same building as the Berlinale Palast, the big movie theatre where they had the major competition screenings.

When a bunch of us arrived, we were mysteriously and suddenly prevented from going downstairs to the party venue. We were informed that Dieter Kosslick, the man who runs the Berlinale, has "requested" that we stand by the red carpet to welcome the famous guests. What? We said. No, we want to go downstairs. Where there is food and drink. But it was kind of those requests where basically we had no choice. Apparently, it looked bad that there weren't enough fans waiting by the red carpet, so we had to be there as space fillers!!

So we were hustled behind some barricades and basically penned up beside the red carpet so that we could wait in the freezing cold for some stars to arrive - the stars were a French actress I don't know called Elsa and Kristin Scott Thomas. When they arrived, many real (and fake) fans yelled "Kristin!" and "Elsa!". But in European accents, so it sounded more like "Kristeeen!". We tried striking poses so that we could end up as dramatic background in some of these paparazzi photos.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

East Berlin

Here I am in Berlin - for the most part, East Berlin to be exact. Wintry bare trees, brick and concrete, grey skies, everything bleak and muted. Ah, I love it. I'd also forgotten one other thing I love about Europe - sparkling water. You can get it ANYWHERE.

The Berlinale and the Berlin Talent Campus got off to a running start for me. Lots of great panels and talks, and also screenings I am trying to squeeze in in between. Everything is bustling and crowded, yet very chill. It's a good vibe to have in such a big festival. It's also nice that it's so big because you're always running into friends or meeting lots of interesting new people.

So far, I've sampled some German cuisine (including the must-have Currywurst). This pretty much means eating lots of sausages. Not that I'm complaining. But it's become a daily challenge to find vegetables to eat. Any vegetable. Anything that isn't a sausage.

Many people say that Berlin has uninteresting cuisine but this much I'll say: it has the Best Bread in the world. And today, we went to KaDeWe and had us the BEST HOT CHOCOLATE IN THE WORLD. The. Best. (Thanks for the tip, Grace!)

Besides the food, my two favourite moments so far have been listening to separate talks by Stephen Daldry and Mike Leigh. Lots of great insight from both. I love the no-nonsense, get on with it, British sensibility they both have as well. No room for indulging ultra-Method actors... ha! Mike Leigh said, in closing: "I'm going to give you some advice, even though no one asked for it, so clearly you don't want any, but here it is: Never Compromise".