Grant "Visual Story": Gesine Danckwart

Gesine Danckwart works in film and theatre internationally as a writer and director, both in repertory and freelance. She develops her own formats, often for public spaces, radio performances, or plays with avatars. In 2011, Danckwart founded the hybrid bar Chez Icke. Using a human avatar tool, she hiked over the Gotthard Pass with broadcaster SRF, and through Beijing with the Goethe-Institut (2018). Those pieces evolved into the multi-media artists collective Chez Company, which mounts projects at the intersection of performance, sound, film, and theatre. Working with the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin resulted in the essay film The Making of Blond and the interactive children’s film Karaoper (2022).

Her writing and her own stage works have been performed at the Thalia theatre in Hamburg, the Schauspielhaus Vienna, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Burgtheater Vienna, Schauspiel Cologne, Hau, Deutsche Oper Berlin, at Expo Shanghai, in Taipei, Alexandria, Sao Paolo, and Johannesburg, among others, turned into radio plays, and translated into more than 15 languages. Danckwart developed the installation “Goldstaub” for the Volkspalast, which she went on to turn into a film in 2019, which screened at the Berliner Festspiele, among other places. Her narrative feature Umdeinleben premiered at the Munich Film Festival.

Gesine Danckwart was born in Schleswig-Holstein, grew up in and around Lübeck, and now lives in Berlin.

Picture © Hanna Lenz

Gesine Danckwart: Herzkammer - Ein Escape-Room für Fortschreitende (Chamber of the Heart – an escape room for progressives)

Short synopsis

Do you do this? Look around in an old building, an apartment, and wonder who lived here, and how? Trying to imagine it. Could it have been me? What was it like back then and what will it be like to imagine a different world.

Writer and director Danckwart plans to use the grant to develop a narrative that takes place in an apartment – over a wide variety of eras. For centuries, the domestic sphere has been the inherent domain of women. It is a world about which we know much less than about the history of the actions of the – powerful – men outside the home.

Extensive research in Lübeck, the site of the action, will be developed into a script that allows the audience to move through the narrative on their own. Using VR, people will be able to move around the room and playfully insert themselves into the story – by picking up an object, reading a letter, discovering a picture, or moving through time.  In this pre-war Lübeck apartment, we will meet women and their daughters and their mothers and their grandmothers when they were still daughters, in war and peace, as they cook, dance, mourn, die, celebrate, with their husbands and guests; chase down crazy images, perspectives, dreams, and finally approach a finale that points the way to a utopian future.

Grant "Theatrical Film Project": Annika Pinkse

Annika Pinske grew up in Frankfurt (Oder). While studying philosophy and literature, she worked for stage director René Pollesch and then as assistant director to Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann). In 2011, she began studying directing at the German Film and Television Academy (DFFB). Her short films have screened at festivals worldwide and garnered a number of awards. Her feature debut Talking About the Weather had its world premiere at the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival. It was nominated for the GWFF Best First Feature Award and the screenplay won the 2023 German Film Prize (the “Lola”). With more than 25,000 tickets sold it was the most successful debut film at German cinemas in 2022.

Picture © Hanna Lenz

Annika Pinske: Im Fluss (River Flux)

Short synopsis

On a cruise down the Danube, between ice cream creations, the captain’s dinner, and the usual tourist attractions in Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava, passenger Else (84) meets Captain Niko (41). A tender friendship develops between the two opposite characters. The closer Else gets to her old home on the Black Sea, the greater her doubts about the life she lives and her role as a woman. She begins to disrupt the shipboard routines, to question first societal conventions, and then herself; her search for freedom takes on an ever more radical nature. Meanwhile, Niko’s façade of male identity begins to develop cracks. He desperately tries to supress the issues of blame, truth, and his own sorrow until he ends up, bleeding, dancing in the ship’s Panorama lounge. A film about motherhood, masculinity, home, and the (im)possibility of ever becoming somebody completely different.