Let us introduce you to the German director Eva Könnemann, who participated in this year’s Berlinale Shorts competition.
Born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany in 1973, she studied film at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg from 1993 to 1999 and then received several scholarships including from the Cité des Arts in Paris, the graduate school of the Berlin University of the Arts and working scholarships from the Berlin Senate and the Kulturbehörde Hamburg. Her short and feature films have been exhibited in both cinema and art contexts. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Germany, at Mumok Vienna and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine in Montreal. She lives with her family in Hamburg and Berlin.
Germany, as seen from the water. The landscape passes by in epic tranquillity as the audience immerses itself in the world of barge shipping. The top permitted speed for smaller watercraft is specified in the inland waterways regulations as a maximum of 15 km/h. A woman is along for the ride on Germany’s rivers and canals, with plenty of time to explore this little-known cosmos. In the end, the director dreams of a life on board and endeavours to find her place in the predominantly male domain.
Welt an Bord is a hybrid of documentary and narrative film. The basic conditions are set by the limited space on the barge and the work that must be done. Kathrin Resetarits embodies the alter ego of director Eva Könnemann, while she herself takes charge of the cinematography. Together they accepted the captain’s invitation to join in this other life. What kind of life is it anyway? Resetarits/Könnemann listen and work their way through fiction and reality. Views and realities interlock. Eva Könnemann’s work explores the boundaries of the contemporary narrative with a view to reality. The downward facing dog is real.
What is your ambition in the film?
I wanted to make a film that gives insight into the milieu of inland shipping. On the one hand, I really had the intention to do this in a serious documentary way and furthermore I wanted to tell a personal story and this story is my own – it’s about how I came in touch with inland shipping and how I got access to this very special world and of course remained kind of a misfit in it.
What do you like about the short form?
I like the fact that the limited length makes you feel less in the need or obligation to serve certain dramaturgical practices. I do not mean that you necessarily have to do it in a feature film, but naturally after an hour you might expect a narrative to get going and maybe some characters with a conflict and after two hours the initially established should have somehow turned or be solved. I just notice that I’ve realized those things in my short film, even though on a very low level. Well, what I actually mean is that in a short film you have the freedom to dedicate yourself to a topic rather than a story, or to a question, a mood or a formal experiment.
What are your future plans?
I have a finished script for a feature film that is set on a barge. In this story the female protagonist, who enters the male-dominated world of inland navigation, is no longer a filmmaker. The movie goes much farther into fiction. Actually, the script is the one, that the main character from „Welt ab Bord“ is investigating for.
24 films from 17 countries have competed for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award, endowed with 20,000 euros, and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.