Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival


Rainer Klasumann knows the Manaki Brothers festival quite well. He won the Golden Camera 300 in 2004 at the 25th Manaki Brothers Festival for the film Head-On, and last year he won the Silver Camera 300 for the film In the Fade, both directed by Fatih Akin. This year, he is a member of the jury that decides upon the Golden Camera awards in the official competition program.

In fact, Klausmann is most well-known for his tandem collaboration with the leading German and European author Fatih Akin, with who he had done the films Goodbye Berlin (2016), The Cut (2014), Soul Kitchen (2009), The Edge of Heaven (2007)… In his filmography, other notable collaborations are with striking directors like Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall, 2004), Uli Edel (The Baader Meinhof Complex, 2008), Werner Herzog (Scream of Stone, 1990, and Lessons of Darkness, 1991)…

Usually, the cinematographers from around the world say that they it is their special honor to be in the competition of a festival specialized in cinematography like the Manaki Brothers. At the start of the talk we ask Mr. Klausmann if that is true.

-Absolutely! Manaki Brothers is not a “show time” festival, but one devoted to cinematographers and the act of making films, Klausmann says with pleasure.

The interesting thing is that when you ask a cinematographer from any country in the world to tell you an anecdote, one from behind the cameras, or maybe even some gossip of love affairs happening behind the set of a film – for which the media has been writing in print of online – you always get a huge chunk of silence! It is as if though all the cinematographers from around the world pledge to stay silent from their first film job, a pledge stronger than the “omertà” of the Italian mafia.

-The film crew is like one family, and as someone wouldn’t talk of the problems and misunderstandings in his family in public, the members of the crew don’t want to talk about those details, to talk about them with people who weren’t part of the crew, Klausmann says.

His long collaboration with the director Fatih Akin is quite well-known. He even mentioned last year that even after so many years spent on film sets, nowadays he only accepts working with Akin because they understand each other very well, as if they are more than a film family.

-We know each other and work together for about 15 years now. It’s not just a professional collaboration, but also a friendship, as though being a real family, Klausmann explains.

Last year, they were quite close to a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with the film In the Fade.

-The Oscars are a nice, fun thing, but they shouldn’t be taken so seriously. I was nominated for an Oscar three times so far, I don’t believe there will also be a fourth time. But, who knows?, Klausmann says.

One of the most remarkable films shot by Klausmann is Downfall, better known as the Hitler film. The interesting thing is that even the actor in the role of Hitler, Bruno Ganz, was a guest at the Manaki Brothers festival a few years ago. He stated in an interview that people at a lot of festivals have congratulated him on the role, but they also openly told him that they couldn’t award him simply because of – Hitler. How fair is that?

-It is not fair at all, but very stupid! You don’t have to be a murderer to play a murderer in a film. Ganz is a good actor who played his part professionally, no matter what sort of role is was, Klausmann thinks.

Since last year, a debate fired up in the film industry if the films on the Netflix platform, whose profile is a TV production, should be competing in film festivals. This year, at the Cannes Film Festival, the winner was the film Roma by Alfonso Cuarón, a Netflix film…

-It’s tough to speak on that. I prefer the traditional way of film production, and I wouldn’t want the cinematography to interfere with the TV production manner. Nowadays, it’s hard, because more and more films are being produced on such platforms, and the festivals have more and more hard time saying “No!” to the sponsors collaborating with Netflix, Amazon and the other platforms, Klausmann says for concluding the talk.