Derek Howard directed video for Hush Hush's "Supernatural"
The Berlin music industry may carry more egos than money, but with the first annual Berlin Music Video Awards, running from the 24-28 April, our local bohemes get to play heroes, if just for one day. Although lacking some of the cachet of Halle Berry's Oscar tears or a VMA featuring the cereal bowl once perched atop Justin Bieber's noggin, Berliners are already in suspense as to who might be weeping over a Fernsehturm statuette.
The five-day event sees music video makers from very near (Berlin) and very far (the world) being honoured in 10 primary categories, under classic titles such as Best Director and Best Editor; and in what will probably be the most competitive category, Most Trashy, though that suggests some overlap with the Siegessäule magazine sponsored search for Best Queer Artist.
Although attracting as many big names as tiny ones, event organiser Aviel Silook's emphasis is firmly based on rewarding artistic merit: "We rejected several famous entries and even got hate mail from the artists because they weren't expecting it... Being famous is not a criteria."
From the slick, big-budget, Berlin panoramas of chart-friendly rapper Marteria's Lila Wolken (an EASYdoesit production) to agonising Blair Witch-esque contenders like Niki Tiphticoglou’s self-produced Amelia – the raw and extensive range of visuals are presented for appraisal by an equally motley combination of jurors, self-appointed figureheads and the ubiquitous peanut gallery.
Lo-fi frontrunner that no one's keeping quiet about is the aptly eerie Supernatural by Derek Howard for hip-hop/dance alchemist Hush Hush – a musician who also features as one of the proactive musical Berlin expats in Howard's documentary, Trevor Lee Larson’s Dayragr, to be screened at Moviemento on April 27.
Rathaus Comedy Club provides the MCing comedians, including Tamika Campbell and Dharmander Singh, to bridge the awkward pauses like those skits sandwiched onto rap albums between the songs. And, as every event in Berlin is just an excuse for debauchery, live performances from nominated kooky singer-songwriter Mary Ocher and Berlin-based swingers, The Dirty Honkers among others, should keep the festivity going after all’s been said and won. Perhaps partying is its own reward.
Naturally, to be found in the trust-fund ghetto of Hermannstraße, Villa Neukölln is doubling the event as the grand re-opening of its historical cinema, a century after its first screening and, if history and the economy is any indication, eight months before its final one. But, pax Berlin, there are multiple pre-post-party-after-celebrations both on the premises and in a number of satellite venues which can be found on the program at www.berlinmva.com And if nothing else, this may be the only current way in which to circumvent GEMA's Youtube idiocy.
Berlin Music Video Awards, April 24-28 | Villa Neukölln, Hermannstr. 233, Neukölln, U-Bhf Boddinstr.