The annual Kompagnon Fellowship is awarded jointly by Perspektive Deutsches Kino and Berlinale Talents. It’s open to screenwriters and directors based in Germany who were selected for the last edition of Perspektive Deutsches Kino or participated in the Script Station, Doc Station or Short Form Station at the current edition of Berlinale Talents.
The fellowship provides a stipend to develop a screenplay or project, consisting of €5,000 for feature-length projects or €2,500 for short formats. Based on the filmmaker’s individual needs, a mentor is chosen to support and strengthen their artistic signature - whether through coaching or personal consultancy.
Jury Statement: “Wir waren Kumpel tells of a paradigm shift and brings the present into the coal mine. Against the background of the closure of the last coal mine in Germany, this artistic documentary aims to show changes and new beginnings using a trans* woman miner and diverse miners: Not only is the working world in mining about to disappear as a result of the climate policy, but also the self-image of gender and role models is changing. What does masculinity look like today, and how is it manifested? In the interplay of large arrangements in cinematic images and the close documentary accompaniment of the protagonists, the reinvention of the characters and their handling of the crisis is traced. In addition to this swan song for an old form of manhood, attention is also drawn to the decline of the industry. We are excited about a film that combines intimate insights with structural questions in a multi-layered way.”
Jury Statement: "The worker Georgi from Bulgaria wants to give his family a better life. After an accident in his home country, he follows a promise of happiness in Western Europe and comes to Berlin alone. However, prosperity is not intended for everyone there, and he finds himself in a lawless grey area, which is characterised by exploitation, illegality, homelessness and forms of modern slavery. Just as the protagonist invents a picture of himself in the course of the film in order to pretend to be successful to his family and, last but not least, himself, Eliza Petkova creates an image of the economic and social conflicts of our time in her feature film. Georgi's subjective perception and his deviating self-portrayal create a modern impostor figure who moves between his experience of being a stranger, dreams of the future and the harsh circumstances. The Kompagnon-Fellowship goes to a project that shows what the ruling system is hiding."