Interview

Mariette Rissenbeek

Dear Mariette, congratulations on your new position! After 16 years with German Films, during which you were actively involved in shaping the German film’s image abroad, you’ll be taking over management of the Berlinale in tandem with Carlo Chatrian as artistic director. You’ve supported Animation Germany UG from the start: not only does German Films give us a grant for our activities during the Annecy festival, but you also give your time as an active board member –many heartfelt thanks!

You’re a connoisseur of the international film and production scene. In your current function as director of German Film, you have your eye on the big international picture. Has the visibility of animated film at international festivals changed?

The visibility of animatedfilms at international festivals takes place in various ways. Traditionally, animated films are present at renowned animated film festivals like Annecy. Here, festival visitors can see very cineastic animated films with a more experimental approach, as well as animated movies that aim to entertain the whole family. Beyond that, there are occasionally animated films appealing to an adolescent audience. Over the last years, sophisticated animated films for adult audiences have celebrated premieres at international A-festivals, for example, TEHRAN TABOO during the Semaine de la Critique, or WALZ WITH BASHIR at the Quinazine des Réalisateurs in Cannes.

How do German animated films position themselves internationally when they are mainly children’s/family films (e.g.,“Luis and the Aliens”) or art house (e.g.‚ “1917 –The Real October”)? Is a change evident?

Animation films made in Germany are very sophisticated and internationally highly esteemed. LUIS AND THE ALIENS was a worldwide success at the box office; distributors in Spain and France are enthusiastic. This trend began 2–3 years ago and we expect it to continue. Films like “1917 –The Real October” are screened mostly at renowned festivals, less so at regular theaters.

German Films finances itself through export contributions from German films. How would you assess the economic importance of animated film for the German film industry?

We don’t have enough numbers at the moment to make a definitive statement. But certainly animated film as an international production accounts for a significant contribution to the total volume of export trade.

“Isle of Dogs,” an animated film produced with German participation (Studio Simon Weisse, see Interview Newsletter #3), opened this year’s Berlinale –a signal for more animated films at Germany’s biggest festival?

Absolutely, animated films have their own filmic language and are ideal for conveying sensitive issues in an engaging, relaxed manner. Innovatively implemented animated films on relevant issues most certainly have excellent prospects at the festival!

Your personal statement on “Animation Germany,” please :)

By channeling various interest groups and taking into account diverse stakeholders, Animation Germany contributes to greater visibility and appreciation of Germany’s animated film professionals abroad!