Linda Soeffker may be new to Perspektive Deutsches Kino but she’s not new to the Berlinale.
Soeffker, who has taken over from Alfred Holighaus, has been his assistant since the Perspektive launched in 2002. She more recently oversaw program coordination for the sidebar.
While it’s been a smooth transition, Soeffker says there are bound to be some slight adjustments in store for the sidebar with her at the helm.
“You would think that after working for years in the section that nothing much would change after you are suddenly on your own,” she says. “I’ve realized though that when you carry the responsibility for the program you question every film twice. The situation is new for me. The personality of every curator is reflected in the lineup.”
“First of all, Alfred is a man and I’m a woman. Alfred was raised in West Germany while I grew up in East Germany. I’m a little younger than Alfred. He loves soccer films. Some films will reflect my personality more.”
Soeffker points to one of this year’s entries about battling bovines that is more to her fancy: Nicolas Steiner’s black-and-white doc “Kampf der Koeniginnen” (Battle of the Queens), about the curious tradition of Alpine cow fighting in the Swiss mountain village of Aproz.
Steiner’s film “stood out because it was clearly in the style of Direct Cinema,” says Soeffker.
“There are many, many good debut films this year. It was a very good year. For me it’s about finding a special signature, something that really sticks out above the many serious works,” she adds.
Soeffker says she’s particularly interested in the influences that shape filmmakers’ works, their backgrounds and experiences.
She points to two films in this year’s lineup that deal with the legacy of East Germany: Annekatrin Hendel’s documentary “Vaterlandsverraeter,” a portrait of a former informant for the Stasi secret police who later became a target himself, and Elke Hauck’s “Der Preis” (The Prize), about an architect who lands a contract to remodel a prefabricated housing estate in the former East German town where he grew up.
Three of this year’s features, including “The Prize,” are works by older filmmakers who already have one film under their belt, like Hauck, or are making their feature debuts.
Those include Dirk Luetter, an experienced cameraman before helming “Die Ausbildung” (The Education), about a company trainee caught in the corporate trap, and comic artist-turned-helmer Ziska Riemann with “Lollipop Monster,” a teenage drama based on her own comic illustrations.
Before joining the Berlinale, Soeffker worked at the Zeughauskino in the German Historical Museum as a curator and program coordinator on film series and books, including Rainer Rother’s “Myths of Nations. Peoples in Film.” In 2006 Soeffker also co-published “Aki Kaurismaki,” a comprehensive work on the Finnish filmmaker, with Ralph Eue.
Under its new director, Perspektive will continue to focus on features, documentaries and shorts from young up-and-coming filmmakers.
One thing Soeffker hopes to do is to drum up more international interest for the sidebar’s films.
German films in general continue to generate strong international interest and while Soeffker says the Perspektive has been instrumental in getting its films to other festivals, she’s eager to do even more to increase the interest of international buyers.
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EFP Shooting Stars 2011