Berlinale Unbound, Market Animals Part 1

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BERLIN, Feb. 17, 2013 — Angela Hawkins calls it like she sees it, and on a good day she sees the European Film Market as the rough equivalent of a human zoo. While visiting the Market one afternoon, we found this delightful inhabitant tending to her “cage,” as she fondly dubs German Film Service + Marketing stand. We asked her opinion of which recent German movies might be able survive the Darwinian jungle of a U.S. theatrical release.

“I just saw Doris Dörrie’s Kirschblüten (Cherry Blossoms), which I think would do very well in the American market, at least I hope it would do well,” Hawkins offers. “Of course, its very difficult for all foreign language films to catch on to an audience in the United States…and dubbing just doesn’t go over well there.”

As the publications and website editor for the company, Hawkins’ job is to help
increase the awareness of German films in the international marketplace – she certainly increased our awareness of the German Film stand, anyway. Now under the managing directorship of Christian Dorsch, GFSM’s umbrella activities include the staging of the “German Premieres” industry screenings in New York, Los Angeles and Rome, and providing advice and information to buyers, press, and German filmmakers about German movies. Especially noteworthy is its “Next Generation” short film programs, which present a selection of shorts by students of German film schools and premieres each year at Cannes.

But getting back to Hawkin’s favorite metaphor: Just how much of a zoo is the Market, anyway?

“If I could compare our office to an animal, I would say that at times it’s like a cage of monkies,” she notes. “Monkies are very intelligent animals, so that’s not necessarily meant as a critique.”

A pause. “Would you like me to show you our festival collection?”

At this point, two eager co-workers hand the young zoo-tender a series of cut-out animal heads pasted onto popsickle sticks. It’s a home-made arsenal Hawkins & Co. occasionally wave in front of customers to suggest staff mood, or to answer the inevitable “really stupid” question from visitors.

Having a bad day? The German Film stand staff will kindly wave a polar-bear cut-out your way, “for those times when you just want to bay at the moon.”

Feeling like you just need a hug? Out comes the teddy-bear-head-on-a-stick, complete with cooing sound effects.

And for those Market visitors asking particularly idiotic questions – which we are assured does not include us — Hawkins proffers a rather naughty popsickle stick. (See attached video.)

“When you think you’ve heard it all,” Hawkins notes, “just wait 30 seconds ‘cause the next one’s comin’ along and he’s got something crazy to say.”

How would she sum up living in the market zoo?

“It’s a freak show,” she laughs.     

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