florian.borchmeyer at filmfest muenchen de
Very important are conversations with the filmmakers, which of course are a big part of the festival atmosphere. I’ve experienced wonderful moments time and again.
My passion for the cinema developed rather late: as a child of the ’70s, you weren’t allowed into the movies until you were six years old. That’s why I only started going when I was about seven, to the Gloria Palast on Karlsplatz (Stachus). MEISTER EDER UND SEIN PUMUCKL (1982) was showing one week after its premiere. But my real cinematic awakening came when I saw STRANGER THAN PARADISE (1984) by Jim Jarmusch for the first time at age 15 and realized that a different kind of cinema is possible. That was at Lupe 2 in the Fuchsbau in Schwabing, a wonderful art house cinema that unfortunately went away long ago. (By the way, the ticket-taker that evening was only my age — and is now a globally successful film producer).
After graduating from high school, I studied literature in Berlin, Havana, and Paris, wrote book reviews for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and worked on the sets of various TV magazine programs. But film wouldn’t loosen its hold on me. I came to FILMFEST MÜNCHEN by chance. In 1999, I was in Munich, visiting two friends of mine, Cuban actresses who were guests at a screening of LIFE IS A WHISTLE (1998) by Fernando Pérez — a film whose shoots in Havana I had been allowed to observe when I was a student there. When an interview with the two actresses was to be recorded, there was a sudden need for an interpreter. Ulla Rapp, who was in charge of the program at the time, saw me carrying on an animated conversation with the two of them in Spanish. That same evening, I was suddenly standing in front of the silver screen as an interpreter during the discussion with the audience at the premiere of the film. I’m still doing basically the same thing today. The only difference is that, following in Ulla’s footsteps, I also select the films and ask the questions myself.
In the meantime, I’ve also been a director myself, of the documentary HAVANA: THE NEW ART OF MAKING RUINS (2006). That year, I received my doctorate in Romance literature, and since the 2011/2012 season, I have been a dramaturge at the Berlin Schaubühne. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN has been a continuous part of my life for 22 years now.
What I aim to offer the audience is the opportunity to discover films that are neither available through regular distribution in Germany nor easily found in the endless expanse of the streaming provider universe, yet are among the best that world cinema produces! Of course, the great and renowned works of world cinema, from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries in my case, also find a German audience here for the first time.
Also very important are conversations with the filmmakers, which of course are a big part of the festival atmosphere. I’ve experienced wonderful moments time and again. Perhaps the best of these was when Alejandro Jodorowsky suddenly pulled a pack of tarot cards out of his jacket pocket during a podium discussion in the Black Box and laid them out for me in front of the whole audience. As far as I remember, the future looks quite rosy!