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In 2012, the Perspektive Deutsches Kino programme at the Berlin International Film Festival will open with Katarina Peters’ documentary Man for a Day. A number of open-minded women attend a workshop given by performance artist and drag king activist Diane Torr. They work on transforming themselves into the man of their choice for a day. Giving up old roles and taking on new ones is hard work, but it is great fun trying to decipher them while observing yourself in the process. After Am seidenen Faden (Stroke, 2004), this is Kararina Peters’ second full-length film.

Gegen Morgen is Joachim Schoenfeld’s first full-length feature. For years, Schoenfeld worked as an actor for television and the screen, and a radio speaker. Now, with this story about the two policemen Wagner und Zippolt, he is presenting his visually unusual directorial debut. With two colleagues, he also produced the film. Gegen Morgen (Before Tomorrow) premiered in Panorama Spectrum at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2011.

Author Tim Staffel makes his directorial debut with Westerland, a feature film produced by Salzgeber & Co Medien GmbH. Staffel first became known for his novel “Terrordrom” (1998). Here he has filmed his book “Jesús und Muhammed”, written on Sylt in 2008. In it two young men fall in love with each other and then hole themselves up on an island. At moments, it’s paradise; at others, hell.

“What is remarkable this time is that all three feature films selected so far are works of directors who were way past 40 when they made their first full-length films,” comments Linda Söffker, director of the Perspektive section. “A broad spectrum and roundabout routes enrich the festival environment and cinema culture.”

Two medium-long works from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne show that the direct path – via a film school and directing courses – can also produce films that are aesthetically outstanding. In Sterben nicht vorgesehen, director Matthias Stoll uses documentary pictures from the past and present, to put together a loving portrait of his dead father. Early memories are brought to life in animations: a melancholy farewell in the form of a humourous essay. Tage in der Stadt (Out off), on the other hand, is not about a parting but a new start. How do you start over when you’ve been behind bars for 13 years, and life is totally unstructured when you get out? Nina (Pascale Schiller) drifts through town as if she is in no way part of it. Something is visibly missing.

On February 19, Berlinale Kinotag, (the Berlinale’s cinema day for the public), will continue the concept from last year: the winners of the Max Ophüls Award in the feature film competition 2012 and the winner of the First Steps Award 2012 in the category documentary film (The Other Chelsea – Eine Geschichte aus Donezk/A Story from Donetsk, directed by Jakob Preuss) will be presented within the framework of the Berlinale.

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