Thursday, October 27, 2011

25 years! Cheers!

Birthday party at the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin. (twb)
Hap-py birth-day to you,
Hap-py birth-day to you!
Hap-py birth-day
Prix Euro-pa,
Hap-py birth-day to you!

Reinventing public service media

Panel at the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin. (twb)
The panelists' names are a Who is Who of Europe's media landscape, assembled in the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin: Ruurd Bierman (Netherlands, NPO), Dagmar Reim (Germany, RBB), Ingrid Deltenre (Switzerland, EBU), Jean Reveillon (France Télévisions), Roger de Weck (Switzerland, SRG-SSR), Lauri Kivinen (Finland, YLE), Thomas Bellut (Germany, ZDF), and Arne Wessberg, former CEO of YLE, discuss the future of public service media.

Technologies change. Audiences change. Markets change. How can public service broadcasters meet the multiple challenges? How can they be faithful to their mission, keep up media quality and their specific values - and successfully compete with commercial companies at the same time, even with global media platforms such as Google or Facebook?

Claustrophobia

The radio fiction jury at work. (twb)
Emma has got a new job. Her boss, friendly and caring, tells her to make regular reports on what she does and how she feels. Soon Emma realizes that life at the company is strictly controlled. When she falls in love with a colleague and thus breaks a taboo, the nightmare begins.

The young British playwright Mike Bartlett takes a simple plot and develops it to the extreme. How much can a company expect from its employees? And how much are they willing to reveal? "Nachwehen" directed by Stephan Heilmann from Swiss SRF (soundtrack by Philipp Schaufelberger) is a chokingly claustrophobic piece about control turning into terror.

Incredible stories

Soviet Union, around 1960. Only married communist party members (without any relatives abroad) are allowed to travel abroad. Before getting the permission to leave they are admonished that Coca Cola is a bourgeois drink, that they shall never show delight and above all avoid contact with locals.

"Incredible Stories" is a satirical radio series presented by the Georgian radio, about the Soviet tourists' impressions. "I don't pay any attention to anybody", one of them says while visiting France: "My thoughts and eyes are cherishing Tbilisi. How beautiful it is! It seems I am still in Paris, but the problem is that there's no funicular in Paris."

Apocalypse now

"One day. Something happens. In Kirkjubaejarklaustur."
"Where?"
"Kirkjubaejarklaustur."
"What?"
"Something."

"Kirkjubaejarklaustur", the Belgian radio drama directed by Sebastian Dicenaire, lets us wander about in windy, hostile Iceland, together with Sven who had been left there by his friends. We get lost in a world oscillating between dream and nightmare.
"Weather flash for the citizens of Kirkjubaejarklaustur: Only 10 minutes until the end of the world. Last call."
"Kirkjubaejarklaustur" is a radio play made of vocal sounds only, a play as absurd and delirious as the apocalyptic world it depicts.

Booze

Loudspeaker in the radio ficion auditioning room. (twb)
"Booze: Little Vera" written and directed by Georg Larsen and presented by the Danish DR tells the touching story of the 54-year-old Karen living in Aarhus. Karen, divorced, mother of a grown-up daughter called Helen, is an alcoholic on the brink of death. She checks in at the Tranegaarden rehab center. Bo, the therapist, digs deeper, and it turns out that both mother and daughter have a story to tell. Very different stories after all.

Back to the future III

2047. 91-year-old Ireneusz Slupezki lies in pain, with cancer creeping up his spine. Slupezki lies in his iron hospital bed, helpless, drifting between dreams of a long forgotten past and a reality ruled by deadhearted nurses, left with the only perspective of dying in agony. Yet, there is a way out, offered by a hyperactive young doctor: euthanasia.

"Cry, O Lord" is the radio drama by Wlodzimierz Kowalewski and Janusz Kijowski based on a novel of the same title, a nightmarish vision of a world having lost its spiritual scaffold.

Back to the future II

Jens-Uwe Bornemann, head of the UFA lab. (twb)
The UFA, formerly "Universum Film" and founded in 1917, stands for the shining past of German filmmaking, and it equally stands for its future. Jens-Uwe Bornemann gives an insight into the work of the UFA lab, the new media content laboratory providing customised content for all new digital technology and distribution platforms.

As the film industry is about to merge with the game industry media makers have to meet new challenges. The UFA does crossmedia and transmedia experiments, and they started by providing a flat in Berlin-Kreuzberg equipped with all the infrastructure creative people need to produce any kind of digital content. "New media companies are driven by technology", Bornemann says, "but we care about content". The heart of the UFA lab is a development infrastructure where freelance talents can start developing whatever they are up to. One of the latest UFA lab projects was the transmedia movie "Who Saves Dina Foxx", a transmedia project of the German ZDF.

Media content and games, the web and mobile platforms, all mixed together: There are so many facets of media making yet to be discovered.

Back to the future I

Loudspeaker, Prix Europa sculpture. (twb)
October 30, 1938, the night before Halloween. On CBS: "The War of the Worlds", directed by Orson Welles. A radio drama which had an enormous impact, even though the mass panic it caused is an urban legend. Time for radio fiction.