Award-winning director Christine Franz visits BIMM Institute Berlin for an exclusive masterclass
Christine Franz is a Berlin-based filmmaker and music journalist. In 2017, she released her first documentary feature film Bunch of Kunst to international critical acclaim. The documentary follows Nottingham punk duo Sleaford Mods, which follows the band over the course of 2 years as they build up their reputation, as described by Iggy Pop, as “the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band”.
Following a screening of the film at BIMM Institute Berlin’s Molecule Studios, students from our Screen & Film and Music faculties enjoyed a live Q&A session with Christine hosted by first-year Filmmaking student Mila Kreft-Sietnicka.
After the masterclass, we sat down with Mila to find out more about her experience interviewing Christine.
Hey Mila! Tell us, how did you get the opportunity to lead the Q&A with Christine?
I saw the email announcing the screening and then also saw they were looking for someone to host the Q&A. At the same time, I was thinking a lot about pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying new things. I thought to myself “I’ve never done that, and it sounds like fun and an interesting experience” so I put my name forwards. Then I got an email back saying, “You better start thinking about the Q&A, you’re going to be leading it!” I was very excited.
Very cool! What did your preparation look like?
I first started thinking about other Q&As that I had been to – whether that be at BIMM Institute or just generally – and what made those Q&As exciting to me as an audience member. But, being in the audience and having a question is a completely different experience to leading a Q&A itself.
I started drafting some questions, even before seeing the film itself or reading a lot into Christine herself. I then also got my hands on the documentary so I could watch it in advance and have some more specific questions prepared.
Then I started reading a lot about the band and listened to their music (and now I’ve got a great new band to listen to!). I also spent time browsing the documentary’s website, looking at information about Christine in German and English, and watched different interviews she had done. While I watched those interviews, I wrote down questions I liked and then added my own based on answers she had given. This helped me to go really deep into the film.
I then got a really great piece of advice from our Head of Estates & Facilities at Molecule Studios, Joe, which really took my preparation to a whole new level. He suggested that I should keep the questions as open as possible and not put my own opinions in there. So then I spent some time reframing the questions that would best allow her to shine.
How did you find watching the film again after all the research you had done?
I really enjoyed watching the film for a second time! It was very different experience, and what made it most cool was watching it with the other filmmaking and music students who had never seen it before. There was one part of me that was a bit nervous about how they were going to react! I was thinking to myself, “Are they going to like it? Are they going to have questions? Should I have fed my classmates from Filmmaking questions beforehand?!” But no, everyone was very engaged and had lots of questions, which was amazing!
Definitely a big help! How did you feel when it came to the moment of the Q&A?
I was definitely feeling a little stressed before we got going, but we have such a great community here. I really felt supported by everyone – they wanted me to succeed! Plus, Christine was so comfortable around us and shared a lot.
I really liked how honest she was about the process. It was really interesting and also very heart-warming to see how proud she was of the documentary she had made and the entire process. It was clear that it was very personal to her, but she wasn’t afraid to talk about the challenges she had faced, which was great for everyone who was there listening.
This was the first masterclass that combined music and film in such a close way. How did you find this cross-curricular masterclass?
The masterclass with Christine was the perfect way to bring the two faculties together. It was the first time many of the music students had visited Molecule Studios so it was lovey to welcome them and talk with them.
The masterclass was definitely perfect for both faculties, and you could really sense that in the way she was talking about the film and also the questions she received. She was referencing our future careers as filmmakers or musicians and saying that we may come across topics and challenges she and Sleaford Mods faced as well. It really felt like a personal experience and all the students were still talking about the masterclass even after it ended. In general, it was a great atmosphere.
And for you, what was the best moment from the Q&A?
There are too many moments! I couldn’t say one. I think it was cool that we also surprised her with some of the questions. I think we made it a great experience for her too.
Couldn’t ask for better than that! Do you have any tips for anyone who might moderate a Q&A in the future?
I would definitely say Joe’s piece of advice about making sure the questions are as open as possible. As a moderator, your job is to lay the path and let the person being interview follow it.
Another thing is that while you should do lots of research beforehand, it’s important to not just flex all the research you have during the Q&A. Being a moderator is more about choosing the questions that lead to the most interesting answers and that create the space for new perspectives. You want to be creating a new experience and not just recreating someone else’s Q&A.
I think it’s also good to sometimes challenge the person you’re talking with, but without making them feel uncomfortable. It’s about making them shine.
And finally, if you could moderate a Q&A with any person from the filmmaking world, who would it be? Sky’s the limit.
Julia Ducournau, the director of Titane. That would be amazing. From the research I’ve done about that film and her filmography, it’s so clear there’s so much to go into. And also she just seems like a great personality!
Well, that’s about it. Thanks so much Mila for talking to us!
With pleasure. It’s funny because I’ve now done both sides: the Q and the A!
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