She was one of the many helpers to make this FilmFest a success, working mainly in the background in the make-shift festival office. I met twenty-six-year-old Lena Miksche via her e-mails, inviting me to moderate one of the films to be screened at the CinemaxX Dammtor. After receiving detailed information and friendly advice of how to follow the procedure, I was curious to know the face behind the name. In the case of seeing her at the cinema, I would at least be able to greet her.
After a brief phone call we met and she told me that she was raised in Buxtehude, which is a few miles from Hamburg, that she is a student at Marburg University, majoring in media science and German literature. For one year, all through the cold Norwegian winter of 2007, she followed her studies at the University of Oslo, adding a course in Norwegian to her curriculum. This was not her only experience in learning abroad. When Lena was still in Standard 10 she lived for a year in a small town in Guatemala, boarding with a family that could only speak Spanish. She had no choice but to learn the language rather fast.
With this background she was well equipped for the various tasks that were required of her. Letters had to be sent out to people who had offered their free time in introducing and moderating the festival films. About 30 different moderators had to be matched to film screening schedules. Press kits had to be assembled and mailed accordingly. Coordination with the different juries was mastered by her as well. During the prize-giving ceremony on the last day of the FilmFest, she was the lovely young woman waiting patiently in the aisles before handing the trophies to the relevant speakers.
This was the first time that Lena had attended a film festival. She has gained a lot of practical experience during the ten-week internship in Hamburg, being supported by a friendly team of colleagues. As soon as her final report has been filed she will return to her university at Marburg. During the FilmFest Lena could only watch a few movies but her favourite film was Tokyo!