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Berlinale Bloggers 2019
#BerlinalePeople: Helene Hegemann, author

Helene Hegemann
Helene Hegemann | Photo (Detail): © picture alliance/Georg Wendt

Author and actress Helene Hegemann reveals what an award winning film should bring.


Name & role: Helene Hegemann, author (Axolotl Roadkill, Jage Zwei Tiger, Bungalow), script writer (Torpedo), filmmaker (Axolotl Overkill), actor (Deutschland 09).
How often have you visited the Berlinale?
This is my 9th Berlinale.

You spent the summer 2017 in residence in Toronto, courtesy of  Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. What traces has that left  – other than your dream of living off-the-grid in the Canadian wilderness?
I guess it's extremely important for a filmmaker to sometimes be alone in a place you've never been to before -- besides it was a great experience to see and feel how Canadians deal with film as a culture, and how cultural contradictions are celebrated in Toronto. I was lucky to live in the Festival Tower (above TIFF) and be able to watch Atomic Blonde directly after a Godard restrospective.
We recently met during jury duty at DOK Leipzig and had heated discussions about what film can and should be and do. How do you know when you’ve just seen an award-worthy film?
Within the first ten minutes – if I see something that tries to go beyond the usual standards instead of just reenacting them. And that happens much less than you'd actually think.
“I thought of Marlon Brando, who at the time I thought was James Dean, and lumped him in with all those other dead Hollywood stars, cooking up a stew of privileged, rotting, same old male flesh in my imagination,” is a quote from your new novel “Bungalow”. Do you imagine the text as a film, one you might even direct, as you did with your Sundance hit “Axolotl”?
Definitely not. Someone else should adapt Bungalow. Wouldn't be that expensive: one location, three actors, and some dead animals.
You have talked about the pains and rewards of writing film scripts – your first at age 14 –, will we see another one from you?
Of course you will.
What’s next for you after Berlinale?
Haven't practiced the pitch yet, but it's gonna be a film.

Part of an ongoing series of mini profiles on the blog German Film @ Canada on the movers and shakers that make the Berlinale one of the most important events in the international film calendar: the filmmakers, programmers, curators, industry promoters and visitors, from rookies to veterans