You've been running the Obscura Filmfestival since 2016 - so what
can you tell us about the festival as such, and the philosophy behind it?
main idea was to present cool entertaining genre movies to like-minded
fans in a festival athmosphere. I found out that this is the best way to
enjoy great genre movies. Much better than watching them at home and alone
on your TV.
What inspired you to launch the Obscura Filmfestival
back in the day in the first place, and what were the main challenges to
get it going?
already have quite a few genre festivals in Germany and they are growing.
I started visiting them in 2004 and over time went to more and more, up to
12 festivals a year. I also followed the international festival market
online and discovered films that I would like to see in Germany. So I
suggested them to the festival organizers but a lot of the films weren't
shown. I always wondered why, did they not get the movie or was it their
own will not to show them? Other festival goers in Munich created their
own mini festival in a small indie cinema, and I thought why not do the
same in Berlin where I live and try to get the films that I suggested all
those years to see myself whether it is possible or not. So I looked into
my BD and DVD cupboard for films of which I had foreign BD/DVDs, but which
weren't released in Germany and asked the producers if I could show them at
my filmfestival. I found a small indie cinema which I could afford and
started a crowdfunding campaign to see if there was a demand for it. That
was successful so the first Obscura Filmfestival was born in October 2016,
and it was actually possible to show some of the films that I suggested to
my now colleagues.
Let's take a leap to the present right
now: When and where are you holding your next fests, and what are some of
the highlights planned for them?
The 6th Obscura Filmfestival Berlin takes place on the October
30th and 31st 2020 in the Kino & Bar in der Königstadt, Straßburger Str. 55, 10405
Berlin. The 4th Obscura Filmfestival Hannover is planned for February 2021,
depending on the Covid and cinema situation then.
biggest highlight is probably the Dutch sci-fi action spectacle Kill Mode,
which is shown on Saturday at 20:15 - it is the prequel to Molly. If you
want something stronger and dirtier, check out the Argentinian post
apocalyptic double feature (I am Toxic/Soy Toxico & Scavenger/Carrona),
which is shown at 15:00. But I'd say with such a compact program every
film is a highlight.
Key question, where can
one get tickets for the Obscura Filmfestival?
can get festival passes for all films and single tickets via the website -
- and Eventim. Single tickets will also be sold later on in the cinema
guess I have to address the elephant in the room here, in what way does
the Corona virus affect the Obscura Filmfestival?
first idea was to have the 4th Obscura Filmfestival Hannover in the week of
Halloween, but in Hannover either the cinemas are too small, so they won't
open at all with the restrictions, or they are open but are not allowed to
host special events, like my filmfestival. So I had to postpone it to next
year and instead I am doing a smaller one in Berlin on two days.
host the Obscura Filmfestival in both Berlin and Hannover - why
these two cities, and how do the respective festivals in Berlin and
live in Berlin and Berlin is THE film city in Germany, so it was obvious
to do one here. Hannover is my homeland and does not really have any
festivals so I wanted to establish my one there. In 2010 the big Fantasy
Filmfestival once visited Hannover but they never returned there. In
Hannover I also get financial funding from the city. The film lineups in
both cities are completely different. In Hannover the short films are also
more successful than in Berlin. In the past Hannover had its fest in
spring and Berlin in autumn. My plan was to do only one per year and
always in autumn. Covid killed this plan this time but I am hoping for the
How has the Obscura Filmfestival
grown and evolved over the years, and some highlights from past festivals?
started really small, with DVDs and Blu-Rays from my cupboard being
shown, the films were already a few years old and some were quite trashy.
Nowadays I acquire some from the European Film Market and from German
labels which are more professionally made and often brand new. I also
always had guests so far, filmmakers, actors/actresses, first only from
Germany and later also international ones from Ireland, Argentina, Mexico
and the USA.
of my personal highlights were the following: at my 3rd edition in Berlin
I had the 2nd screening of What the Waters left Behind after the world
premiere in Sitges and the main actor from Argentina was present.
Directly afterwards I showed Kodoku – Meatball Machine, which
screened at the biggest fantastic festivals in the world that year including
the Japanese Filmfest in Hamburg. At the same festival I also had my first
short film world premiere Girl and a Scar and the UK based director
Hannover I showed the ultra violent Chilean film Trauma, which was
quite a tough ride getting it and one guest came all the way from the Ruhr
area to Hannover to watch it. A year later I had another Sitges world premiere in my lineup and the DCP was sent from Sitges festival to me, I
kept the envelope. In Hannover I showed a film produced by Alex De La
Iglesia, Errementari, and also had the
Korean 16 Million Euro battle epic The Great Battle in my lineup.
one point my festival was held in a big multiplex cinema and about 20 cast
and crew members arrived to the world premiere of their short film.
Several people took photographs and filmed the photo session. It really
looked cool, you can watch the video on Facebook -
also love to pick up the filmmakers from the airport or station. One time
they slept in my guest room for a week. They came from Frightfest and
wanted me to show their film while they were in Berlin, so for that
occasion I created an Obscura Special in August, just two films and not a
is the audience award for best feature and short film, and I sent the
trophies as far as Australia, Korea and Argentina. One time I thought I
could bring the trophy personally, so I booked the bus to Copenhagen,
travelled overnight and handed over the trophy to the director, which
together with the two main actresses were present during the screening in
October. I got the idea since the two actresses also travelled home by
bus. I then went sightseeing and travelled back the next night.
also always have lots of free goodies to give out, film magazines,
posters, postcards, stickers. The audience can win Blu-rays, books and
last year a big boardgame. I also offered mead/honey wine a few times, of
course red one to match the theme.
future plans for the Obscura Filmfestival for years to come?
would like to become an inherent part in the German festival market. It
would be great if more people would participate since so far I'm doing
this all by myself while still having my normal day job, There are also
two things I haven't had so far: I would like to have a feature film world
premiere, but this is quite difficult since my standard is high. Not so
important but also nice would be to show a film that later has a general
cinema release in Germany.
question, why horror? And is this a genre at all dear to you personally,
accept the following genres: Action, horror, science fiction, thriller, fantasy and
adventure. My own film collection consists of 30% action, 40% horror and then 30% is all the rest from the above. I don't really know
why I like horror (and action), maybe it is because I like the extreme and
controversial. I like to shock people and then protect and care for them.
It is probably also to flee from the normal life into a fantasy world
where the rules are different. Sometimes I imagine how life must be in
such a setting and then I am glad that we actually live in a much better
Which variations of horror, maybe also eras of
horror, do you personally like the most, and which could you do without?
favourite horror genres are: Torture porn, terror, splatter, exploitation,
slasher. So I really liked the time after the first Saw film was released
which started this wave of torture porn and terror, including the famous French
don't like at all this new trend of post horror or arthouse horror. That
is not really horror for me. It looks to me like they made these films for
people who don't like or watch horror at all in oder to introduce them to
it in a very subtle and soft way.
favourite movies (not necessarily only horror)?
Once Upon a time in China,
Ride (the italian one),
Frontier(s), Collector 1 & 2. There are actually a lot and
it changes over the decades.
of course, films you really deplore?
are some films which are not in the genres I mentioned above which I don't
like at all. Most are professionally done though so they are not really
bad from an objective perspective. There are of course really bad genre
films as well including so called amateur or hobby movies, but you cannot
really count them in. I would say the worst films are those that are so
slow that you want so fast forward or loose interest in how they end. I
once walked out of a movie at a festival and it seemed a good choice.
festival's website, social media, whatever else?
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
all fans out there, please support independent films, indie films can show
you the rough edges that mainsteam studio films never can. And go to the
cinema, it is so much nicer than streaming and watching at home. A filmmaker of a short film that I selected for Hannover 2021 said to me „I
believe that it is a good thing that you postponed the festival to early
2021. Films are made for cinema screenings not for laptops.“ I totally
for the interview!