70 Years of Berliner Festspiele

Channel Sixteen. Breaking News

Thilo Fischer und David von der Stein
Sound: Max Heesen
4:3, Stereo, 2021

Eleven minutes of television erupts, dealing with the Berliner Festwochen. The television reports from 1951 to 1987 reveal, with their sharp juxtaposition and vibrant musicality, the observant, judgmental, illustrative, oversimplifying and lurid tone of public reporting.

Four rows of images can be seen, each consisting of four identical images that feature four male read people. They stand in a row in front of a theatre curtain, wearing dark knee-length costume sets consisting of a jacket, knee-length pants, pulled-up socks and shoes. They move their hands.

Thilo Fischer und David von der Stein, “Channel Sixteen. Breaking News”, 2021. Film, colour, sound. Film still

© Courtesy of the artists

  • 11 min
  • German, no subtitles

The 11-minute film “Breaking News” puts the official reporting in focus: how was the festival Berliner Festwochen seen between 1951 and 1987, how was it commented on and what political events was it marked by? What emerges is a process of emancipation for the Berliner Festwochen, an institution caught between foreign policy and cultural policy mandates, the American allies, a national spirit of optimism, and an infinite amount of art and culture that demanded to be shown and discussed again after 1945. Emancipation is achieved primarily through the programme itself turning towards political, activist, experimental and avant-garde forms of art that include cultural and artistic spectrums beyond the Central European horizon. It is a televisual feast.

Cooperation partners

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Akademie der Künste, Arsenal – Institut für Film und Medienkunst e.V., Associazione Grupporiani, Berlin Art Link, Boosey & Hawkes, Bundesarchiv, Transit Film, EAI Electronic Arts Intermix, Edition Peters Group C.F. Peters Ltd & Co, Felix Bloch Erben, Filmgalerie 451, Japan Actors Association, Kobalt Productions GmbH, MONA productions, Sammlung Video-Forum des Neuen Berliner Kunstverein e.V. (n.b.k.), Phenomen Berlin Filmproduktion GmbH, Progress Film GmbH, Suhrkamp Theater Verlag, Shochiku Co. Ltd. Tokyo, Schott Music GmbH & Co. KG, Südwestrundfunk (SWR), Telewizja Polska S.A., ZDF / Arte, ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe

© Courtesy of the artists