FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is pleased to announce the latest addition to the team. Tobias Krell, alias “Checker Tobi”, is the new curator of the Kinderfilmfest. The popular television host will be organizing and planning the program of Kinderfilmfest 2021. (He’s taking over from Katrin Miller, who gave up the role of Kinderfilmfest curator in 2020 for personal reasons.)
Krell studied sociology and political science in Münster and was an on-screen reporter and film critic for DASDING.tv, the SWR’s youth program, from 2008 to 2014. He has lots of experience with film festivals, having worked at several of them (including the Berlinale, the Film Festival Max Ophüls Preis, Interfilm, and Sehsüchte) in various capacities since 2010. In 2014, he completed a master’s degree at the Film University “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg. Through his contacts at SWR, he was invited to audition for an educational children’s show in 2012. He won the audition and has been known as “Checker Tobi” ever since.
We wanted to get to know Tobias Krell a little better and asked him a few questions about his previous work and his new challenge as head of KINDERFILMFEST MÜNCHEN.
Back when you were a student, you worked at the Sehsüchte student film festival and later directed it. What do you find exciting and important about festival work and about festivals themselves?
TK: What I love most about film festivals is the unique, magical atmosphere: for a few days, everything revolves around cinema and films. People come together and share their discoveries and tips; in the streetcar and on every street corner, you hear the names of actors, directors, and films; whole cities are buzzing with excitement. To me, there is no better way to celebrate cinema! Especially when I think about young audiences — children and teenagers — I can hardly stress the value of film festivals enough: I think there’s no better way to introduce them to this wonderful art form and get them excited about culture than through festivals.
You’ve been doing TV and movies for kids for several years now, and everyone knows and loves “Checker Tobi”. How did you get started, and what do you love most about making programs for children?
TK: I got into children’s television somewhat by chance. While I was a student, I was also an editor and reporter for SWR’s youth program. An editor there discovered me and invited me to audition for a children’s show. That’s how I became “Checker Tobi”. I wouldn’t have applied for it in a million years; children’s television just wasn’t on my radar. Now I’ve been doing it for eight years and I couldn’t imagine anything better! First, because, for the kids, I learn something new every day and get to try things out and find things out that I probably would never have dealt with otherwise. And second, because kids are the greatest target group of all. They’re curious, interested in everything, and incredibly enthusiastic. At the same time, they’re brutally honest, even when they don’t like something.
Now you’ll be curating the children’s film festival at FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. That means you’ll be selecting the films that we’ll be showing for children at the festival here in Munich this summer. Can you tell us what you’ll be looking for when you make your selection?
TK: I’m really looking forward to this! I love films, and I love working for the most honest audience in the world: kids. Educating children about film is important to me. I hope that our program will whet children’s appetites for the medium of film and inspire them to go to the movies. I myself have learned so much about life and our world from movies, and our program should be able to do the same. When I’m designing the program, I also want to stick to the premise that we, as children’s TV editors, always keep in mind: taking our target group seriously, challenging them, and addressing them on their own level.
And will people be able to meet you at KINDERFILMFEST MÜNCHEN this summer?
TK: You bet! I’m already looking forward to meeting and talking with the young audience!
The whole Filmfest crew is also looking forward to “Checker Tobi” meeting his fans, big and small. Welcome to the team, Tobi!