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A Wall is a Screen
by Shelly Schoeneshoefer

It was a Saturday night in June when my friend Niki called up and said let’s go to the short film Festival here in Hamburg. So, we met for a nice Vietnamese meal and headed off to the program called A Wall is a Screen. I hadn’t seen this program but through the year I had heard about it. The concept goes like this: It is a moving cinema, which means you walk around at night in the dark from one wall of a factory to another wall of a warehouse to another wall by a stadium watching one short film after another. Each time the projector is set up and this all happens in an approximate radius of 2 kilometers and normally should be quite a lot of fun as long as the weather holds out. This has been in practice since 2003 here in Germany and these events have taken place about 30 times.

When we arrived, I was quite surprised to see the Festival director, Sven Schwarz, wearing an orange-colored vest directing audience where to sit in a parking lot while the crew set up the projector. I noticed that everyone had a nice blanket for the ground, a beer in hand and warm clothes to boot. Niki and I were not prepared. She was in a beautiful dress with high heels and I had short pants with sandals on and we did not have a blanket. That was a big mistake! And by the time we made it to the second location, dark clouds had rolled in past the stacks from the factory. I thought they said it was supposed to be a warm weekend - but it looks like rain to me! Soon Sven, the film director, announces with a reassuring voice that we need to make our way back to the Festival as soon as possible because a terrible storm is about to hit.

He exclaimed, “Don’t panic, the show will go on but it will be inside the festival’s building.” He also asked us to take care not to step on the mini golf course that he and his six-year-old son had built together. It was a fantastic evening with many films, ranging from very thought-provoking films to very humorous ones. The best thing was that before one of these films started, the projectionists would stand up and describe the building and surroundings where we would have seen the film. That meant we could envision the ambiance and therefore it would enhance our viewing of this film. Meanwhile random lightning strikes would hit outside and light up the entire building just for a moment during the films, which gave the entire evening a dramatic tone. The hardest part of the evening was when we attempted to get back to our car since the rain refused to stop. We basically looked like two wet rats trying to make our way back home. But I am not giving up: I definitely plan to go to this next year because what I did see, I really enjoyed.