Sushma Swaraj Feels Bolywood’s Soft Power in Uzbekistan

admin   August 6, 2018

More than six decades after Raj Kapoor and Nargis-starrer Shree 420 took Bollywood to Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic, as a messenger of the Indian culture and values transcending distances between the two nations, it’s soft power could be felt to this day with the movie and its songs deeply ingrained into the people’s collective memory of Bollywood.

It was this soft power of Indian commercial cinema that recently made External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj admit to reporters in Delhi that “love and appreciation for Indian culture is visible everywhere in Uzbekistan. Indian dance, music, films, cuisine, costume and now yoga are very popular.”

The External Affairs Minister was on an official three-nation tour to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, when she met a Bollywood fan in the Central Asian republic. A video, which shows Swaraj bonding with an Uzbek woman, was later tweeted by MEA’s official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar and has since gone viral.

“Bollywood knows no boundaries! More so in Uzbekistan where Raj Kapoor and Nargis are household names. Salute to this Uzbek woman for her spirit as she hums the song ‘??? ???? ???? ????’ from the classic Shri 420!” he tweeted.

The famous song Ichak Dana Bichak Dana was sung by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar in the 1955 movie, which went on to become the highest-grossing Indian film of that year.


Future Decoded: How AI is Changing Media & Entertainment Sector

admin   August 4, 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming our lives in more ways than we can imagine. While many applications of AI have already found endorsement in the manufacturing and automobile sector, it is the enormous impact AI is having on the Media and Entertainment sector that has captured our imagination owing to the new technology’s real near-term applications for the industry. Sunny Dhillon, Co-Founder, Signia Ventures with $160m+ under management in his blog explains some of the most exciting examples to underscore AI’s power to change the way we consume entertainment and media.

Bedtime Stories will Never be the Same Again

Using AI, companies like Novel Effect are producing interactive voice content that summons a menagerie of sound effects to accompany a parent’s narration of the favourite story of their children. Now add to it the interactive hologram technology provided by companies like 8i, one would not be surprised seeing the children playing with interactive characters.

Thanks to companies like Earplay, which is building hands-free and eyes-free choose-your-own-adventure experiences for mobile devices, moms can relax after tucking their kids in the bed as an interactive audio story plays with her voice in the background.

See the Disneyland Come Alive

AI is emerging as the top contender in transforming the way we cherish our theme park fantasies. Imagine a semi-autonomous R2D2 droid built by Zippy.ai in Disneyland’s upcoming Star Wars Land. With its sidewalk-safe autonomous navigation technology, it could basically be a self-driving robot that’s safe around kids and families, giving wings to their imagination in a ‘futuristic’ world. Or think about Mickey Mouse talking and responding to questions in Disneyland in his recognizable chuckling voice. AI has the power to make all this possible by bringing our childhood memories to life.

Listen to News in Your Favourite Celebrity’s Voice

Voice-interactive AI like Siri and Alexa is already on its way to become the next big thing. However, companies Lyrebird are adding more capabilities to it by enabling it to borrow voices from celebrities. The company enables voices to be mimicked from the perspective of pitch, tone, and modulation. So, in future who wouldn’t love to listen to news read out by Taylor Swift or having their queries about the weather answered by the smooth timbres of Morgan Freeman. However, this technology has a flip side too as it was recently proven by the University of Washington where a digital Barack Obama was created with astounding similarities of speech and demeanour to underscore the real treat of fake videos influencing public opinion.

Escape the Post-Apocalyptic Earth

Applying AI to virtual reality has the potential to make almost every aspect of it more immersive and believable. Gaming companies like Rival Theory have already made strides in this space. Its Rain AI engine is being used by more than 100,000 game developers around the world. The 2016 Game Developers Conference saw a short film featuring an interactive VR character — Gary the Gull — built using the same platform.

Automation of Animation

Midas Touch Interactive has created a tool that automates the process for animating 2D characters. Pixar too is leveraging deep-learning techniques trained on “Finding Dory” to detect and iron out grainy frames in its productions.

Advertisers Will Know How you Feel

AI advances will help advertisers to know customer’s tastes or moods. Emotion and facial-recognition technology will allow content providers to select what you see based on how you’re feeling. There are companies like TVision that are already measuring the attention audiences pay to TV content by analyzing “actual eyes on screen”. The videogame company Flying Mollusk Studio has already used software to produce a psychological thriller game whose difficulty changes with the player’s level of fear.


2018 Toronto Film Fest LineUp

admin   July 25, 2018

Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of TIFF, on July 24 (Tuesday) unveiled the first round of titles premiering in the Gala and Special Presentation programmes of the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival .

Of the 17 Galas and 30 Special Presentations, this first announcement includes 21 World Premieres, 7 International Premieres, 8 North American Premieres and 11 Canadian Premieres. The selection announced today includes 13 features directed by women. The festival runs from September 6-16.

“We have an exceptional selection of films this year that will excite Festival audiences from all walks of life,” said Handling. “Today’s lineup showcases beloved auteurs alongside fresh voices in
filmmaking, including numerous female powerhouses. The sweeping range in cinematic storytelling from around the world is a testament to the uniqueness of the films that are being made.”

“Every September we invite the whole film world to Toronto, one of the most diverse, movie-mad cities in the world. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to put together a lineup of Galas and Special Presentations that reflects Toronto’s spirit of inclusive, passionate engagement with film. We can’t wait to unveil these films for our audience.”

The feature film selections for this years edition is helmed by Claire Denis, Steve M c Queen, Alfonso Cuarón, Barry Jenkins, Nicole Holofcener, Patricia Rozema, Damien Chazelle, Elizabeth Chomko, Zhang Yimou, Bradley Cooper, Nadine Labaki, Anurag Kashyap, Amma Asante, Matteo Garrone, Eva Husson, Jason Reitman, Lee Chang-dong, Keith Behrman, George Tillman, Jr.Olivier Assayas, and Jiang Wen. They will be present at the festival.

Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy

GALAS 2018

Beautiful Boy Felix van Groeningen, USA
World Premiere

Everybody Knows Asghar Farhadi, Spain/France/Italy
North American Premiere

First Man Damien Chazelle, USA
Canadian Premiere

Galveston Mélanie Laurent, USA
Canadian Premiere

The Hate U Give George Tillman, Jr., USA
World Premiere

Hidden Man Jiang Wen, China
International Premiere

High Life Claire Denis, Germany/France/Poland/United Kingdom
World Premiere

Husband Material Anurag Kashyap, India
World Premiere

The Kindergarten Teacher Sara Colangelo, USA
Canadian Premiere

The Land of Steady Habits Nicole Holofcener, USA
World Premiere

Life Itself Dan Fogelman, USA
World Premiere

The Public Emilio Estevez, USA
World Premiere

Red Joan Sir Trevor Nunn, United Kingdom
World Premiere

Shadow Zhang Yimou, China
North American Premiere

A Star is Born Bradley Cooper, USA
North American Premiere

What They Had Elizabeth Chomko, USA
International Premiere

Widows Steve M c Queen, United Kingdom/USA
World Premiere

George Tillman’s The Hate U Give

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS 2018

Ben is Back Peter Hedges, USA
World Premiere

Burning Lee Chang-dong, South Korea
North American Premiere

Can You Ever Forgive Me? Marielle Heller, USA
International Premiere

Capernaum Nadine Labaki, Lebanon
North American Premiere

Cold War Pawel Pawlikowski, Poland/United Kingdom/France
Canadian Premiere

Colette Wash Westmoreland, United Kingdom
Canadian Premiere

Dogman Matteo Garrone, Italy/France
Canadian Premiere

The Front Runner Jason Reitman, USA
International Premiere

Giant Little Ones Keith Behrman, Canada
World Premiere

Girls of the Sun Eva Husson, France
International Premiere

Hotel Mumbai Anthony Maras, Australia
World Premiere

The Hummingbird Project Kim Nguyen, Canada
World Premiere

If Beale Street Could Talk Barry Jenkins, USA
World Premiere

Manto Nandita Das, India
North American Premiere

Maya Mia Hansen-Løve, France
World Premiere

Monsters and Men Reinaldo Marcus Green, USA
Canadian Premiere

*Special Presentations Opening Film*
MOUTHPIECE Patricia Rozema, Canada
World Premiere

Non-Fiction Olivier Assayas, France
Canadian Premiere

The Old Man & The Gun David Lowery, USA
International Premiere

Papi Chulo John Butler, Ireland
World Premiere

Roma Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico/USA
Canadian Premiere

*Special Presentations Closing Film*
Shoplifters Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan
Canadian Premiere

The Sisters Brothers Jacques Audiard, USA/France/Romania/Spain
North American Premiere

Sunset László Nemes, Hungary/France
North American Premiere

Through Black Spruce Don McKellar, Canada
World Premiere

The Wedding Guest Michael Winterbottom, United Kingdom
World Premiere

The Weekend Stella Meghie, USA
World Premiere

Where Hands Touch Amma Asante, United Kingdom
World Premiere

White Boy Rick Yann Demange, USA
International Premiere

Wildlife Paul Dano, USA
Canadian Premiere


Hotstar makes world record: 5.5 million simultaneous viewers

admin   April 13, 2018

Hotstar has scored big this IPL season. The opening game of the VIVO IPL 2018 tournament broadcast across the Star Network and live streamed on Hotstar has recorded the highest ever viewers in the history of the tournament.

The inaugural match of the 11th season played between the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings registered  viewership on television of 6,355,00 impressions, which translates to a 7.21 rating percentage on the Star Network.

A statement said this is an unprecedented growth of 37% over last year’s opening game. These are simulcast ratings of the original telecast aired on April 7 at 8 pm across a bouquet of 10 channels (Star Sports 1; Star Sports 1 HD; Star Sports Select 1 SD; Star Sports Select 1 HD (English); Star Sports 1 (Hindi); Star Sports 1 HD (Hindi); Star Sports 1 Tamil (Tamil) along with Suvarna Plus (Kannada); Jalsha Movies (Bengali) and Maa Movies (Telugu).

On Hotstar, the platform posted some of the largest numbers ever with a 42 million reach on opening day which was 2.3x of last year. This record has since then been surpassed on Tuesday, April 10, by the CSK vs KKR game setting a new global record in sports viewership on digital with 5.5 millionsimultaneous viewers. In fact, if Hotstar were a television channel, the rating on the opening game would have an approximate average television percentage rating of 3.1.

Sanjay Gupta, Managing Director– Star India, said, “When we reimagined the VIVO IPL 2018, we were confident our immersive, multi-lingual, interactive and technology-driven presentation across TV and Digital would resonate strongly with IPL fans across India. We are pleased with the initial record-breaking numbers, which indicate that all the innovations this year have resonated with fans. As the tournament progresses, we look forward to delivering even greater all-round value to all stakeholders.”

Rahul Johri, Chief Executive Officer – Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said, “The VIVO Indian Premier League has once again proven that it is the largest media property in this country. This is IPL’s first year of partnership with Star India and I am delighted to see with the innovations that we have introduced, viewership has set new records and the tournament is set to reach a wider audience globally than ever before. It’s setting up to be a great tournament with some fantastic cricketing action for the fans who can enjoy the games in 6 languages, live across TV and Digital for the first time. As always, we are seeing a tremendous response from both stadiums and fan parks and the  atmosphere across the country has been very encouraging.”


More Investment, Innovation Need of the Hour: Amit Khanna

admin   February 14, 2018

Industry veteran Amit Khanna, in a freewheeling chat with Pickle, says the Indian M&E sector needs massive investments, innovative thinking and greater emphasis on skilled manpower to grow its clout in the global market

No Indian M&E business in the last 20 years has grown beyond Rs. 10,000 crore. It is a sad story. It reflects on the inability of the industry to reinvent itself and grow

The Indian Media and Entertainment industry needs $50 billion worth of investment in the next five years and the media leadership needs a complete mindset change to drive its growth on global scale, according to Amit Khanna, media veteran and former chairman of Reliance Entertainment.

“If you see the total investment in the last 10 years in the entire Indian media and entertainment industry, it would be less than what a Flipkart has invested. The reason why money is not coming in is because of the poor business model. People have been on an expansion mode without adequate planning,” said Khanna in an exclusive interview with Pickle.

The media veteran feels that the mindset among the top M&E players needs to change. “The media and entertainment industry is looking at the world with the wrong end of the binocular. Everything is far and looks unattainable. What you don’t realise is you need to inverse the binoculars.”

In terms of figures, only $20 billion is spent on the Indian media and entertainment sector, which is only 1 per cent of the country’s GDP. “Our share of the world market is less than 1 per cent in the $3 trillion global media and entertainment market,” Khanna explained, adding that India’s per capita media spend needs to go up drastically to ensure growth.

To increase the market share of India, there is a need of massive investment in trained professionals and innovation, which is not forthcoming.

Khanna, who is currently researching for his encyclopaedia on the history of media and entertainment in India, said that no Indian M&E business in the last 20 years has grown beyond Rs. 10,000 crore. “It is a sad story. It reflects on the inability of the industry to reinvent itself and grow,” he observed.

He also feels that the Indian M&E sector is at least 10 years behind the curve in technology.

“It requires drastic steps. The government should get out of business and businesses need to get into business.”

However, Khanna is optimistic about investment coming from Reliance Jio, Netflix, Amazon and many other companies like them. “This is already happening in India. We will see changes happen soon,” he said.

Khanna admitted that even Reliance Entertainment could not sustain itself. “I was involved with Reliance Entertainment. We invested $1 billion. That was not enough. Then we stopped. We needed investment to become a major player in all media verticals. We needed another $2 to $3 billion which we could not raise or invest. That’s why we failed,” Khanna said.

Only Star India and Zee and to some extent, Sony Entertainment Televison, have invested in the M&E business, according to him.

“Though Star India and Zee are there, they are not innovating enough. They do one innovative show and think they are doing great work. There is virtually zero innovation,” he noted.

Khanna maintained that India has not tapped the digital market sufficiently. “We keep talking about OTT. We should not talk about delivery or access technology. We should talk about what the audience will access in that. It cannot be repurposed content. Every broadcaster has started a digital platform and they are telecasting the same programme as on TV. The audience who are online are not interested in that content. Digital platform is not for repurposed content.

“ Interestingly, he predicted that mobile would become an access device in future. “Everybody is not going to see movies on the mobile phone. We will use the mobile to download the film or connect it to a home TV. Already projectors are getting launched which projects a normal image from a mobile phone onto the wall,” he said.

The Indian M&E industry should produce less and earn more, according to Khanna. “Last year, out of 1,200 feature films only 600 got released. The number of unreleased films is going to go up with only 300 to 400 films getting released in future. That’s the reality. Similarly, 850 TV channels are not viable,” he said.

The government cannot be blamed for everything. “The government’s role in this sector should be of benign interference. The government has no role in the industry except bringing out some broad legislations. The fact is there is lack of investment and trained professionals. In 30 years, we have come from untrained people to semi-trained people. We have plenty of halfskilled people. Fully-skilled people are very few,” the former chairman of Reliance Entertainment said.


My prediction would be that there are quite some healthy windows for Print, Radio and Television in India: Media Futurist Gerd Leonhard

admin   February 14, 2018

What does The Futures Agency do?

I work as a futurist and spend most of the time on media, entertainment content and communications. I have 25 colleagues at Future Agency. We are agents for the future. What we do is preview the future forward. Media companies have to think about five billion people connected to cheap devices using social media, cloud computing that is completely changing the way that they do business, how they sell ads, what movies they produce, how they distribute. Our work is to go to the future, bring the experiences back and then shock the participants to think about.

Do people really get frustrated when you say things?

Yes. The reality is people don’t change and companies don’t change unless you have got a bit of a pain effect — the threat of potential death. For companies this does wonders because it motivates them.

Can we crystal gaze only five years?

Lot of the things that are happening are pointed towards the immediate future — three to five years. The immediate future is quite obvious to see if you take the time to look. And my work is not to tell the people what they don’t know but to bring it back into their forefront of their mind.

Traditional media continues to dominate India and digital is evolving… Your take.

My prediction would be that there are quite some healthy windows for print, radio and television. But media companies looking at the future would have to create a double scenario.

Are companies bound to vanish if innovation is not put into practice?

Absolutely. Digital default means a lot of different things for companies. For example, the empowerment of the consumer, the move to mobility, the consumer participation, peer-to-peer reporting. I mean, these are great opportunities. But if you ignore most of them, it is very unlikely you will be successful because you will need significant control of the market to keep people to keep happy.

Why are startups active compared to legacy companies?

For startups it is an idea that they do things better to replace something that isn’t quite working. And they are undiplomatic, look for aggressive innovation and a disruptor. Now, for a company that has 100,000 employees is very hard to be a disruptor unless they have an aggressive CEO like Jeff Beezos of Amazon, very fast moving and risk taking person. Also, we have a very bad system with the stock market that does not reward risk taking and it rewards gradual risk taking. Startups have very little to lose.

I tell all my big clients – telecom and media companies – that they should have a second place to where they can be a startup and shoot down the mothership, where you can replace yourselves before somebody does it. This is important because speed of change is mindboggling. You can see that in India. Every year, I go there it is in other leap. If you don’t move along with the speed and allow room for innovation and risk and if you are too slow eventually you will fall of the cliff and nobody cares where you go.

Your thoughts on innovation execution and assumptions…

Once, you create the space, people come forward. All you have to do is create that space. We also have to question our assumptions. For example, the movie industry and music industry have thought for a long time, that if they can control distribution and make sure that you make no unauthorized copy that they can make lots of money because people are forced to buy the real copies. But it was wrong. It is not possible to control the copying. And, people didn’t buy the expensive DVDs or downloads in iTunes and they are streaming for free. So, we have to question our assumptions – is it really important to control or is it more important to create a scenario where people love my product. And that’s what Amazon, Netflix and YouTube have created. Now, they have to figure out how to earn their revenues quicker.

Innovation doesn’t require big technology. Some create successful enterprise and many are unable to do so. Why?

This is something like cooking. Basically, if you are trying to create a successful enterprise, you don’t take fifty different items and throw it on a pot. You don’t put everything in. And you have a vision of where it goes. When you start a company, you need to figure out what exactly is it you are trying to do. This is more like you are creating a vision that is much more than a spreadsheet. And, this is especially true in media because it is a fragmented world. People like different things. There isn’t one solution that fits everybody.

What are the major concerns and questions global CEOs ask you today?

They look out for answers on data. Data has in fact become the new oil and there are anticipations that in the next five to ten years, data economy will be larger than the fossil fuel economy because it drives society, it drives e-commerce and it does all the things that create value. That is a big question. The other thing is about protecting ourselves from data. The next question is the human computer interface/human machine interface. Technology is going to get so smart that a day before it will tell you what the stock market will look like for your stocks tomorrow. And, it can tell you five hours before that you are going to be late for your next appointment. And you can find all the financial information at the click of a button. We are heading into a science fiction world, even in developing countries. This technology will be so cheap, that you will speak into your phone and get an answer. And that will really change the way people look at culture, flow of information, those are some of the key questions.

Where are the innovations happening today?

Innovation can happen anywhere. Silicon Valley is still a hotbed for innovation because of their mindset. The mindset of being essentially a cowboy culture. A culture in which you just go for it. And that’s American culture. And what we need to do in other countries is to be more adventurous, to take more risk, think outside of a current thing.
In terms of technology and access to information, India has more graduates in technology than all of the US combined in ten years, per year. The resources are there. But what we need to create is platforms for risk taking and also the inspiration to go out. This doesn’t have to do with money. This has to do with the feeling that what you do is appreciated.

As a futurist how do you see the current big companies — Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft — in the coming years

They are clearly becoming fabric of our life. Take the highway for example. If we don’t have highways, we have to drive slower. Google and the likes are the infrastructure. If they don’t do the mistake of abusing the relationship not protecting our data or expose us to bad things, not creating standards, not being open, not creating value, then we would leave them. That is the only danger I see there.

And, other danger is if they become too much like algorithms and machine and lose the human part. Another danger is that — we become part of what they want to be. These companies are infrastructure and they are going to do what we need to justify their existence which I think, they will. You can see the current debate about privacy and data. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo. If they don’t protect us from mass surveillance , we will leave them. And, they know that.

What is the kind of people/companies that you would like to meet in India when you are here at the CII Big Picture Summit?

I would like to meet people who are ready to change, who are facing a situation and say we are looking to figure out what the next edition of our company looks like. Because many people are putting a bandage on a wound, fixing themselves up a little big and that won’t be enough, I am interested to meet people who are ready to transform themselves and transform their companies. I look at technology as a rocket curve now. And adoptions are becoming much cheaper and probably become free in terms of devices and Internet access. So, what that means is that the speed of innovation and transform yourselves when you are still ahead today is crucial. I want to meet people who are taking that transformation that I can talk to and also learn from.

Do you see life without Internet?

That’s a bit like life without water. My theory is we are always connected and to be offline is the new luxury. The idea of being in a constant flow of information and communication is interesting and powerful. But is not necessarily human to always be part of that second universe or the second brain as people call it. If offline is a luxury, there is going to be another entire industry as well because machines and technology are exponential. In five years, it will be fifty times powerful. Humans are not. We are not exponentially growing our brain.

As a media futurist, do you take risk?

Of course. As a futurist, I try to live what I say which is not to assume that what I say today will be true tomorrow. There are couple of things that you learn over the years. For example, the ability to look at two different things at the same time. Socrates had said that the ability to look at two separate and divergent things at the same time is where true intelligence comes in. That’s what I look for. I am not looking at a bunch of data and coming out with a projection. I am trying to create wisdom that is inclusive of these factors.


Facilitating growth :Robert Bakish

admin   February 14, 2018

India has the potential to not only create but also export content to other markets, says Robert Bakish, President and CEO Viacom International Media Networks

India presents “tremendous opportunities” for not only creating new content, but also to export it, said Robert Bakish, President and CEO, Viacom International Media Networks & Board Member, Viacom18 at FICCI FRAMES 2013, the annual conclave for Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry held in Mumbai.

“We can safely say that it has been a great journey. Given the tremendous opportunities, not only will we introduce new content, but we will export content as well in the near future,” Bakish said.

He added that Viacom will continue to bring varied choices to viewers in terms of content, national launches and also a play in the regional markets.

“We see the Indian opportunity as a very compelling one. As we look to capture the growth, we absolutely look at driving this by launching new products, including new national television products,” Bakish said.

He, however, also pointed out certain challenges. “If you look at our Indian business, we would like the ad market to be better.”


The 12th Culinary Cinema: LIFE IS DELICATE

admin   February 12, 2018

The 12th Culinary Cinema will be held under the motto “Life Is Delicate” from February 18 to 23, 2018. Nine documentaries and a fictional film focussing on the relationship between food, culture, and politics are being presented this year.

“When it comes to cultural and political matters, sensitive decisions have to be made all the time. It’s like in a kitchen, where it’s also tricky to make, at the very least, something edible and, at the very best, something delicate,” Festival Director Dieter Kosslick says in explaining the motto.

At 7.30 pm, the main programme of Culinary Cinema will present three world premieres, as well as an international and a German premiere. Following these screenings, top chefs Thomas Bühner, Sonja Frühsammer, Michael Kempf, Flynn McGarry, and The Duc Ngo will take turns serving menus inspired by the films in the Gropius Mirror Restaurant.

Chef Flynn, a US documentary by Cameron Yates, will open the programme. The film’s protagonist, Flynn McGarry, was born in 1998 and is already a famous chef. In the film we see how at the early age of ten, he transforms his parents’ living room in Los Angeles into a pop-up restaurant called Eureka and serves multi-course menus. Culinary superstars are impressed by his dishes. The New York press celebrates him as a ‘culinary prodigy’. He is looking forward to the premiere of his film and to cooking in the Culinary Cinema’s kitchen. In addition, at 10.00 am on February 22, 2018, during “Youth Food Cinema” Day, Flynn McGarry will cook together with school kids. Afterwards he will talk with experts about how to prepare tasty food with good, clean and fair products, and the positive impact using them has on living conditions, the climate and sustainable development worldwide. The event is taking place in collaboration with Engagement Global and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In La quête d’Alain Ducasse (The Quest of Alain Ducasse) by Gilles de Maistre, culinary visionary Ducasse defines his task: “We create memories that last.” To accomplish it he tirelessly travels the world, inspects his 23 restaurants on three continents and maintains his 18 Michelin stars. In honour of Alain Ducasse, chef de cuisine Thomas Bühner (three Michelin stars, „la vie“, Osnabrück) will be at the hob.

Vines have been cultivated in Georgia for around 8,000 years. But during the Soviet regime, ancient methods of vinification were almost lost. In Our Blood Is Wine by Emily Railsback we experience how the tradition is being revived. Michael Kempf (two Michelin stars, „Facil“, Berlin) will be interpreting Georgia’s gastronomic heritage.

In Cuba, culinary traditions were also being neglected for a long time. But now they say that “the taste is back” on the island. The road movie Cuban Food Stories by Asori Soto takes us to remote places where delicacies are prepared al fresco. Sonja Frühsammer (one Michelin star, „Frühsammers Restaurant“, Berlin) will be paying culinary homage to Cuba.

After participating in 2016, director Eric Khoo will be returning to Culinary Cinema with his new fictional film, Ramen Teh, set in the multi-ethnic city state and nation of Singapore. Here food serves as a means not only to preserve painful memories, but also to achieve reconciliation. The Duc Ngo (“Culinary Innovator 2017″ at Berlin Master Chefs), who has several popular restaurants in Berlin’s Kantstrasse, will prepare an Asian menu.

The late-night screenings (where no meals are served afterwards) explore many aspects of the culinary cosmos. The Green Lie by Werner Boote unmasks the sometimes subtle, often crass methods of ‘greenwashing’ with which companies deceive consumers. In The Game Changers by Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos, outstanding athletes show how they maintain a healthy weight and stay in form without eating meat.

Patrimonio by Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale is also encouraging: in this film, Mexicans manage to protect their village from takeover by a US construction company. How a group of women in a Lebanese refugee camp succeeds in organising a food truck and getting out of the camp is recounted in Soufra by Thomas Morgan. In Tuscany, the views of the landscape are magnificent but there is no future in sight for the peasant farmers in Lorello e Brunello by Jacopo Quadri.

“The delicate motif of remembering and forgetting, of reflecting on the past and a new beginning, is typical of food and can be found in many films of the 12th Culinary Cinema,” says curator Thomas Struck.

During “TeaTime” at 5.00 pm on February 19, 2018, this year’s motto of Culinary Cinema will be interpreted from the perspective of gastronomy, medicine, and chemistry. Chef de cuisine Thomas Bühner, medical doctor Thomas Ellrott, and physicist Thomas Vilgis will give theoretical and practical tips and tasters from their “Scientific Cooking Show – T to the Power of Three”, which they developed at the Osnabrück University.

In collaboration with BITE CLUB and Slow Food, delectable Berlinale street food will again be offered daily during the festival at that familiar spot in the Joseph-von-Eichendorff-Gasse, at the corner of Alte Potsdamer Straße.

Tickets for Culinary Cinema go on sale starting at 10.00 am on February 12, 2018 at central ticket counters in the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, at Kino International, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Audi City Berlin, and online at www.berlinale.de.

The films in the Culinary Cinema programme 2018:

Chef Flynn
USA
By Cameron Yates
Documentary
International premiere

Cuban Food Stories
USA / Cuba
By Asori Soto
Documentary
World premiere

The Game Changers
USA
By Louie Psihoyos
Documentary
International premiere

The Green Lie
Austria
By Werner Boote
Documentary
World premiere

La quête d’Alain Ducasse (The Quest of Alain Ducasse)
France
By Gilles de Maistre
Documentary
German premiere

Lorello e Brunello
Italy
By Jacopo Quadri
Documentary
German premiere

Our Blood Is Wine
USA
By Emily Railsback
Documentary
World premiere

Patrimonio
USA
By Lisa F. Jackson, Sarah Teale
Documentary
World premiere

Ramen Teh
Singapore / Japan / France
By Eric Khoo
World premiere

Soufra
USA
By Thomas Morgan
Documentary
European premiere