A Wall is a Screen is a mobile cinema, a combination of a guided city tour and a film night. Using a beamer, a sound system, and a car battery, short films are projected on walls. At the end of a film, the group moves on to the next wall.
Each and every tour is different. The films are selected according to the surroundings and the occasion, with a specific film being chosen for a specific location. Film and location are in harmony with each other and allow the observer a different view of his surroundings. The resultant associations – sometimes deliberate, sometimes coincidental - between the film and the location are exciting, and often surprising. Even the project team is frequently surprised by the effect of the combinations.
How will someone watch the movie in a Public Place with all the sound disturbances?
Be it the street sounds that mingle with what is happening on the screen or the reactions of the audience and passers-by – the tours are special and unique precisely because of these random disturbances.
Although the tours by A Wall is a Screen may seem like guerrilla events, they are planned down to the last detail. The technology has been perfected to ensure that the equipment is portable; can be set up and taken down swiftly; is heavy duty; and is as light as possible to transport. Thanks to helping hands in the respective city, the mobile cinema is set up seamlessly; permissions are obtained; film licenses negotiated with copyright owners; and the entire tour rehearsed before the show.
All this notwithstanding, the team behind A Wall is a Screen has retained its spontaneity and a large portion of its improvisational talent. If the team suddenly finds that a wall cannot be used because a lorry is parked in front of it, in no time at all it has selected a substitute wall close by and an appropriate film. The experience of more than 300 tours and an on-the-spot film archive of over 600 films make all this possible.
Public space in India is not used in the same way as it is in Germany. It is reserved almost exclusively for traffic and it is unusual to see art in such locations. However, the cinema in the public space has a long tradition in India. Mobile cinema in this form is hitherto unknown, yet fits in very well with the mobility in Indian society. The short films are as widespread in India as it is in Germany. A Wall is a Screen changes the perception of the public space. The audience remembers the locations and films for a long time to come.The Art behind the Selection of the movies...
The screenings are FREE, on principle, and a film is selected bearing the local language in mind. This is a low-profile programme for passers-by and invited guests to come together and experience art in the public space. In the course of the evening, a growing number of spectators attaches itself to the group and the crowd swells. People who perhaps would never have been at the same programme together, would now stand side by side to watch a film and talk about it as they walk to the next venue.
Working with the short film offers the opportunity of bringing different perspectives and unusual images to the street. In the film selection priority is given to Indian and German films. The aim of the programme is not only to highlight unusual combinations between German films and the Indian context, but also to seek and portray cross-cultural connections, which may become apparent purely by chance during a screening. When designing a programme, it is of course of utmost importance to choose films and locations that are fascinating, exciting and entertaining. For nowhere else is the democratic option of foot voting on quality and entertainment value easier than on the street. If the programme is dull and boring, the audience simply goes away. Without being bound down by ticket money or a cinema seat, it is all of a sudden easy for people to leave the show if they are dissatisfied. If the film is not captivating, one can just as well continue chatting with one’s neighbour without having to hear a whispered request for silence. The team behind A Wall is a Screen faces this challenge at each and every screening and is regularly rewarded with the enthusiasm and the applause of the public at events in over 20 countries to date.
In an attempt to arouse enthusiasm for shorts among school children, A Wall is a Screen will discuss the project in local schools that might be interested.
Since 2003, A Wall is a Screen has been taking its short film programmes through the streets at night. The project emerged during theHamburg International Short Film Festival and is based on an idea by Antje Haubenreisser, Kerstin Budde and Peter Stein. The organisers expected a maximum of 100 people, only to end up with almost 400 viewers, which is now the norm for the events in Hamburg. In 2008, almost 1,000 people accompanied the Hamburg tour. It was a fascinating experience and most of the public became a part of the overall production.
The first screenings outside Hamburg took place in Göttingen and Osnabrück in 2005 and, a year later, the project was seen in Switzerland, its first tour abroad. The team has since grown to seven members and shorts have been shown at events and film festivals all over Europe, the USA, and now for already the second time in India. Last year the team, which averages 30 tours a year, celebrated its one-hundredth tour. Other countries visited include: Moldova, Morocco, Spain, Kosovo, Ireland, Sweden, Great Britain, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, Rumania, Denmark, Chechnya, Ukraine.
The Indo-German Connection!
On each occasion, A Wall is a Screen will try to ensure that the local film scene is involved. In the run-up to the programme, a concerted effort is made to screen films from the respective country, propose them for the programme and, if possible, have their filmmakers introduce them during the tour. Collaborating with local filmmakers and artists is integral to the preliminary work for the screenings in India as well. The film programme offered therefore continues to expand and come up with intercultural ideas for performances in other parts of the world too. The project will work together with Ravi Agarwal, curator of the Yamuna-Elbe River Project, in preparation for the tour in Delhi. This has helped incorporate certain themes into the tour plans that were not necessarily obvious from a distance, but are indispensable if the programme is to be part of the local context. It has also meant that films, which have yet to be seen in Europe, can now be added to the screening archive. The first opportunity will crop up immediately during the India Week Hamburg from 16-23 October 2011.A Wall is a Screen will help us share images of India and Germany. Images that will remain in the minds of the audience and images that go straight to the heart.