The best party ever

Ulla Rapp was on the festival team when the first Filmfest was held in 1983. She made a name for herself as the curator of the American Independents section — and as the founder as well as organizer of the “indie party”, which she remembers well.

The indies — as we referred to the young independent film directors from the United States — were very popular with audiences in Munich. The viewers loved the part after the screenings when these directors discussed their films, which rarely cost more than 10,000 dollars to make and were usually financed with a credit card, sometimes their grandmother’s.

Back then I told Eberhard Hauff: “We have to organize a reception for the indies.” But he said no, there was no budget for that. So I simply contacted various film distributors, who were immediately willing to donate 1,000 DM or euros. Of course, that would mean that they could also invite people to the event.

Without us doing anything, a hype gradually developed around the “indie party”. It became legendary. The TV stations contacted me to find out what was going on. I said, “Nothing. Everyone just wants to meet the indies and party.” But the event became more and more popular. Alexander Kluge came each year and interviewed the directors into the night. Many of them were as yet unknown. But there were also stars like Quentin Tarantino, Salma Hayek, Willem Dafoe, Spike Lee, and many more. They enjoyed themselves in the courtyard of the Filmmuseum until the wee hours.


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Every year, the indie party drove me up the wall in the days leading up to it. Requests for invitations came from all over Germany. A call from Berlin: “I’m the leading actress in the prime-time series on SAT.1. I simply must be there!” Leander Haussmann once called around 10 o’clock on the evening of the party and said he was bringing 20 people. I said, “No, please come after midnight with ten people.” Two or three days before the party, all the phone lines were busy, and the day after it, no one cared who I was anymore.

Officially, only 850 people were allowed into the inner courtyard of the Filmmuseum, but most of the time, well over a thousand had gathered. Working the gate were Robert Rowley and three helpers; often a bunch of people without invitations would congregate in front of them. Once I heard how a man approached Robby in an agitated way, saying, “I have to get in! If I don’t, I’ll kill myself!” Robby responded nonchalantly: “Well, don’t do it here. Please go over there instead.”


Those were the nights!

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