10 Questions with…Down Under Berlin’s Frances Hill

We look at how and why our awesome festival all began, and where it could go.

There’s something really special about having a festival dedicated to Australian and New Zealand film. Why? It’s all part of spreading the love for film, but film from down under. In the grand scheme of things the Australian Film industry may be small in comparison to some, but the heart is huge and the product, quality.

To run a week long festival in a foreign country to your own, is not an easy feat. It takes passion, dedication and drive, a bit of movie know-how, a good team, and a sense of humour doesn’t hurt. This is where the founder and co-director of Down Under Berlin comes in.

The next in our series of “10 questions with…”, we ask DUB master and chief, Frances Hill, a few questions to get to know her a little better. You’ll be seeing her face at almost all of the screenings, in fact I doubt she leaves the cinema in the week of the festival, so perhaps bring her a coffee and a snack when you see her taking a quick nap in one of the cinemas at Moviemento Kino in between showings, and a pat on the back for being so awesome.

1. What is your day job?
I work as a cinema manager in Berlin.

2. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A farmer, a writer, a lawyer, a chef, and ……..

3. What size was the very first DUB festival, and how much has it grown?
Our first festival had 14 films and over 500 people came to watch the films over 3 days. By the second year we tripled the number of films and doubled audience numbers. Over the past 3 years we’ve screened around 40 films over 4 or 5 days and had over 1000 visitors to the festival.

4. Why did you want to bring AUS and NZ film to Berlin?
I always loved going to the movies, I have great memories of my early cinema outings as a kid, my grandmother would take me and my siblings. I loved the diversity of cinema once I arrived in Berlin, but noticed there wasn’t much from back home. I wanted to show people in this part of the world how great, funny, weird and scary films from Down Under can be.

5. You‘ve been here for 10 years now. Think you’ll ever move back to Australia?
I often think about moving back, but I’m attached to so many things in Berlin and can’t imagine leaving just yet. But I would like to visit Australia more often.

6. What are your favourite films of all time?
Strictly Ballroom, The Big Lebowski, Annie Hall.

7. What is the first thing that comes into your head after these words….

Previews- excitement
Paperwork- late nights
Independent film- inspiring
Short film- amazing talent
Film festivals- a celebration
Screenings- popcorn and anticipation

8. What does filmmaking mean to you?
Telling a story, making art, discovering new worlds.

9. What inspires you each year, to run the next festival, and the next, and the next?
Our audience wants more! Every year we receive so many wonderful films, I can’t imagine a world where they didn’t get onto the big screen.

10. Any plans for DUB 2017 and beyond we should know about?
We want to continue into 2017 with DUB and, if possible, take the festival on the road to different cities and towns in Germany. And we’ll keep on supporting filmmakers from Down Under!

Thank you, Frances! Looking forward to seeing Down Under Berlin all over Germany.
The program for the 6th Down Under Berlin Film Festival will be announced next month. Keep your eyes peeled for more info on the DUB website, the DUB News &Events page, or subscribe to the newsletter in a few easy steps.

Read more about DUB on our website and you can also check out our host cinema at “10 questions with Moviemento

Header Image © Mary Scherpe

Charmaine Gorman is an Australian actress and writer living in Berlin with her family. As a content writer and editor, she works for many clients around the world, and along with her husband, is the founder and content manager of the online travel guide My Guide Berlin.

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