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February 18, 2012

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The Berlinale’s nervous system is that intricate flow of money and publicity that goes on behind the movie screens. This network entails a lot of work and stress – it’s a chore of auto-pilot interviews for the stars, a humiliating round of begging for almost everyone else (actors begging directors begging producers begging backers), and a collective nervous breakdown for the hundreds of tiny, jaded people who have to organize it all.

In fact, all the real fun of the Berlinale is concentrated in one place – the Talent Campus. This is where around 350 young filmmakers, producers and actors come together for a week of seminars, symposiums, parties and networking events.

These people are the vigorous life-blood of festivals to come – struggling for a break, but alive with ideas, ideals and hormones. Between seminars with high-profile producers, plus Q&As and master-classes with the likes of Mike Leigh, Andie Macdowell and Keanu Reeves, the Campus “students” meet in large areas to seek their destinies.

So last night, with help on the inside, posing as someone from a Berlin production company, I crashed the Talent Campus closing party to drink from this cup of overflowing talent. And from the open bar.  

So was it any good? And did the filmmakers come to learn, work, or just shag each other? Anna, one of this year’s many talents, had a brilliant time, partly because of the Eurozone debt crisis. After a week of being showered with business cards and scripts the Berlin producer said, “From the outside, it looks like Germany has the money. But I try not to make promises I can’t keep.”

“Compared to everyone else running around the festival, these guys here seem to be the most relaxed,” she said. “So many others, from the real Berlinale stuff, and from the market, selling movies, seem to be pretty stressed out.

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February 18, 2012

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