For the seventh time now, the Festival of Lights is taking place in Berlin. From October 12 to 23, famous sights like Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower at Alexanderplatz are beautifully illuminated. Temporary venues like the exhibition pavilion "Humboldt-Box" at Schloßplatz (Palace Place) are also involved.
All over, it's like new faces for well-known places, and, indeed, real faces are featured as well. The light installation "Faces of Berlin" by Dirk Demel shows -- besides artistically edited faces -- natural portraits of festival visitors, projected on a huge white mask at Kollhoff Tower. It's surely one of the festivals highlights, standing out there in the cold and waiting for one's own face to appear (if you've volunteered as a model for the artist).
For the filmmaker, the Festival of Lights is not only eye candy but also a challenge both technically and physically. It's more about freezing than admiring, given the long cold ride through the city after sundown. But what is even more important is the image noise which quickly appears when filming in the dark, which the filmmaker (and photographer alike) tries to avoid like the plague. New technical development and camera types have helped to handle this more properly nowadays, but it's still quite an exercise.
With the clip "Festival of Lights" we have started a small and ongoing series of short films about Berlin, called "Berlin 01:30." Berlin has many faces, and many stories can be told about the city. For nearly 4 million people (including us), it's the place where they live and work, their everyday experience. That doesn't count a multitude of visitors and tourists looking for new discoveries every day. To many of them, it's not all about sightseeing. It's more about a special atmosphere that Berlin is supposed to offer with its urban culture, its art or music club scene, its always visible history or special events taking place always and everywhere.
What can be said about this in 90 seconds? What can be shown in such a short time? The bigger picture? Or the smaller ones? What might be interesting? And what about controversies? "Berlin 1:30" shows cuts and pieces abut places, events and people that come our way. Strictly subjective. And strictly short.