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After his first year in Berlin, Jack Howard founded the Berlin Film Society. Last month they celebrated their one-year anniversary, which also corresponded to the 63rd Berlinale International Film festival.
Howard describes his first experience participating in the Berlinale as illuminating, allowing him to observe the connection between business, art, film, and creativity in a unique and interesting way.
The Berlin Film Society now brings the perfect combination of something relatively highbrow with an uncompromised accessibility to Berlin. In collaboration with the Michelin pop-up Pret a Diner, Jameson Whiskey, and the Werner Fassbinder Foundation, Howard and his crew had an exclusive screening at the Opernwerkstatt Berlin.
Projected on 35 MM, the Berlin Film Society showed Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Veronika Voss, winner of the Berlinale Golden Bear award 31 years ago. Whitewall had the chance to be part of the Berlin Film Society for the night and also to sit down with Howard himself.
WHITEWALL: In a city that is so famous for both its technical and artistic contribution to the film industry, I haven’t been able to find many established film societies, have you?
JACK HOWARD: Actually no, I saw a big gap in the market for a society that connects film with a very social atmosphere and that also completely utilizes the city’s unique varied venues and open spaces. So for example, The Berlin Film Society is nomadic. We change venues each month, as a way to focus on the spaces that we’re connected to here in Berlin.
WW: What genres of film do you typically focus on?
JH: It’s completely varied actually. We’ve shown Mexican films, films from London, shorts, and then we also have themed events, like fashion films for Fashion Week. There’s no particular genre that we focus on, but we make a connection by enhancing the film and connecting it with a brand.
WW: Did you feel that since you aren’t from Berlin, but being the founder of the Berlin Film Society, that you wouldn’t be taken as seriously at first?
JH: Not at all, I actually think it’s very much a part of what we do, that element of Berlin is what we do. In regards to the social aspect, no other event that I’ve been to since I’ve been in Berlin connects the different types of people that we connect. For example, we have had embassy ambassadors and students sitting together having a drink and you rarely have an event like ours that would be so open.
WW: So at the one-year mark, what do you see for the future of the Berlin Film Society?
JH: We just launched out membership packages, which last for six months, for 33 Euros. People are often coming and going in Berlin, so we wont do an annual subscription. I find after being in Berlin for two years, and having so many cycles of friends that people really do come in cycles of 6 months to a year. This also shows our trademark marketing quality and the ability to bring together really interesting people with film.
WW: So why show Fassbinder’s Veronika Voss?
JH: I feel that Veronika Voss is a film that really touches on the idea of celebrity, film, acting, love and its very bleak ending was perfect for Valentine’s Day. All of the subjects presented in the film are perfect for Berlinale as well.