The Down Under Berlin board members are going through a little change, so we thought it a good idea to keep you informed at what they are up to.
Since its inception in 2011, the Down Under Berlin film festival has had three board members at the helm to get this festival to the public each year. A few faces have changed over the years, and after founder Frances Hill left at the end of 2017, she has been concentrating on managing life and work in Berlin.
This year, board member Charmaine Gorman will also be stepping down and heading back home to Australia. So once again, things are moving. We caught up with both of them to talk about their time at DUB and what the future holds.
Both Frances and Charmaine are from Australia and have been living in Germany for 13 and 10 years respectively. So, why the big changes?
Frances says her decision for leaving the board came after some personal reflection, DUB is a volunteer position and after 7 years on the board she was also in a new job that demanded much more of her time, so between DUB, work, personal hobbies and free time, she needed to give herself more space and time. “It was a hard decision which I wrestled with for a long time, but in the end, I am happier doing less than doing too much and doing it half-heartedly.” She says.
But will she stay in Berlin? Frances explains, “It's a tricky thing, living so far away from Australia, feeling connected but also having established myself in Berlin. I think I would like to have both, spend time in both Australia and Germany, but for now, I'm happy in Berlin and not planning to move back.”
For Charmaine, logistically, staying on the team will be a bit hard as she is moving back to Australia with her family after the European summer. But she says with a smile, “I’m sure I can find ways to dedicate some time into contributing to DUB from Australia.”
Both passionate about film and the arts, Frances now works at a film distribution company, Edition Salzgeber, as an assistant booker for the cinemas; her position is called a ‘Disponentin’ (auf Deutsch). It seems it is a career path, which is a culmination of other film-related jobs since she moved to Germany. She started out working at Moviemento Kino (DUB’s cinema home!), before moving to other cinemas, a film festival agency and now, distribution. As for Charmaine, as a working actor in both Australia and Germany, her last job before she leaves the country is a short film. Currently in pre-production and kicking goals with an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, the film Ricochet she co-wrote with DUB 2016 filmmaker Mala Ghedia (No Monsters In Berlin) is filming in Berlin in May. Does she hope to see her film screened at Down Under Berlin next year? “Absolutely! If we are accepted of course!”
As far as experience goes, they both say their experience working on the board of DUB Film festival was full of passion and hard work, but also a great learning curve. Frances, who founded the festival, says, “I really learned so much about indigenous cultures from both countries, through film. This has been a very important part of film for me, learning through sharing stories. Film is such a great medium to tell stories as each filmmaker can use images, sounds, dialogue, music in their own unique way to get their message heard.”
“I have learned so much in the 4 years I've been there.” Says Charmaine, "Dipping my toes into art event management and workshop coordinating when I moved to Berlin led me to the avenue of film festival coordination with the other gals on the board of DUB. And I'm so glad I did! Putting a festival on each year, especially a not for profit festival, is a mean feat, managed by a dedicated group of individuals."
What happens now? This year two board members will stay on as co-coordinators. Sabrina Wittmann has been on the board since 2015 and Auste Serapinaite since 2018. Both dedicated individuals with a passion and drive for film and DUB, these two women will be your guides this year. So give them a pat on the back when you see them at this year’s festival!
For Frances, she hopes the near future will hold a career still working in film. “I'm still excited about stories on screen, and of course I will keep watching films at great festivals, like DUB! Berlin to me is small but full of life, and I'm still getting to know different parts of it, whether it's new streets or new things to do.”
Charmaine nodds, “I'll be heading back to Aus with my Berlin film in my back pocket to be able to reintroduce myself into the industry there, 10 years is a long time away. Other than that, I'm hoping to spend some quality time with my family in Australia, they have been very much missed.”
So that’s it folks, we’ll keep you informed, and then see you at the movies!