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Meeting Up with Jury Member Hendrike Bake
by Shelly Schoeneshoefer

Just like in movies, the  Filmfest Hamburg needed a third jury member to find the winner for the Art  Cinema Award and spontaneously Hendrike Bake Indiekino arrived on the scene from  Berlin and asked if they could use her expertise. She joined this year’s jury  members Andreas Baumann, from Traumpalast in Biberach and Tatjana Simeunoic  from Kult.Kino in Basel.

  The Art Cinema Award is a  CICAE (Conféderatíon Internationale des Cinémas d’Art et Essai) Prize which is  annually donated by the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein. The prize of  €5,000 is to be used for public relations. In other words the winner of this  prize has a good chance that their film will be welcomed at other festivals and  cinemas.

  Hendrike Bake was born in  Kiel, grew up in Bonn and then moved to Berlin. She had done some voluntary  work for a year in Brussels with an excellent archive of films and three tiny  screens. Since then she had a strong interest in film and realized quickly that  it was something you can do on your own. She has a BA in Visual Arts and  Theater Studies and has a MA in Film Studies. She created the company  Filmaggregate which works with the Art House cinemas and has been a festival  director for the English School Film Festival. She is also a member of the  Association of the Art House Guild and works in a freelance capacity. She is  the owner and editor of INDIE KINO  Magazine which is distributed in 20 cinemas in Berlin. She is also  responsible for creating the late night movie selection at the Eiszeit Cinema  in Berlin.

  Hendrike: There are around  300 Art House Cinemas throughout Germany. At the moment the current film market  is flooded with films. Approximately 60 films come out each month and if you  are running an art cinema, you have to try to see as many of those films as  possible to make the selection for your cinema. They have to select films that  will produce money and not disappoint their audiences; they look for special  programs, for example, the children’s program. And they try to mix mainstream  in as well.  

  Shelly: That is hard to  imagine. That means you have to see at least two films a day to see all the  films. How does one get on the jury?

  H: I was picked last minute  as a jury member. First you have to be a member of the association. There are a  number of juries for the different festivals and you find out about the  positions through an advertisement in the newsletter which is distributed at  all the cinemas. If you fill the qualifications then you can apply. You also  have to speak German and normally you have to run a cinema which technically I  don’t. I was lucky because the Filmfest Hamburg has a disadvantage due to its  timing. The festival follows the Venice Film festival which runs August 31 to  September 10, as well as the Toronto Film festival September 8 to 18 and the  film fair in Leipzig, September 19 to 23. The other problem is that this  festival runs ten days and that is a long time period. So I just called up and  asked if they needed someone which they did. 

  S: And the rest is history…  So how is it being here at this festival? How is it different to other  festivals like the Berlinale?

  H: What is wonderful about  the Filmfest Hamburg is that they do not have a main competition which normally  attracts the Hollywood stars. It is very diverse and has a friendly atmosphere  where everyone can talk to each other. They also treat their jury members very  well. We have been given the VIP treatment the entire time which also reflects  how nice this festival is. It is friendly on all levels. The Filmfest Hamburg  is not an A festival premier which means it doesn’t have this glamour factor  but instead it collaborates with schools which is also very important.

  S: How will the jury pick  the winning film? When do you see the film and how do you work as a jury?

  H: It is based on artistic  achievement, new development, new direction and new content. The prize sends a  signal to the other cinemas and festivals that this film has potential to move  to a bigger audience and that it is a good film. We have to view fourteen films  and we see them all together. Then we discuss the individual film and decide  right at that moment what we think about it. We don’t wait until the end and  compare all of them. It is an interesting group because Tanya Simeunovic lives  in Basel but comes from the former Yugoslavia and has different insights into  the east European genre. Andreas Baumann comes from Southern Germany and also  has a different perspective but, strangely enough, so far we agree on all the  films we have seen and I am sorry to say I can’t tell you what our thoughts  were on the various films. (This she says with a  grin)