Edward Berger, director of “Nothing New in the West”, had his film unsuccessful ARD and ZDF before it was then produced by Netflix. “It’s not that I didn’t want to. We spoke to both public broadcasters,” said Berger New Osnabrück newspaper (NOZ).
There were also offers for financing, but they turned out to be too low: “In the end, this film could only be realized the way we did it,” says Berger. In addition, the US streaming service Netflixwith which the film was finally implemented, also “had much less influence in terms of content”.
Berger accused ARD and ZDF of being irresponsible movie theater before: “For me personally, this is a huge scandal,” he said. “In the case of public broadcasters, cinema promotion consists of cultivating talent so that they can later supply the program for them. That’s the only goal.” There is no interest in “bringing innovative and radical films from Germany out into the world, because such films don’t run at 8:15 p.m.”.
The cooperation partners are ARD and ZDF therefore irrelevant: “You can ask any well-known filmmaker in Germany: only very few are currently able to finance their films with public money. That applies to the biggest names,” says Berger, he now knows directors for whom a German broadcaster is the last option for the implementation of a film.
According to Berger, the public broadcasters shied away from their responsibility
In addition, Germany is giving the wrong impetus: “The broadcasters are encouraging a cinema that is lagging behind internationally,” said Berger. “Personally, television stations and film funding agencies rely too much on the tried and tested. Unconsciously, this also influences the filmmakers. If you don’t get three courageous films financed, you will automatically be more accommodating with the fourth.” This applies to the funding system, but especially to ARD and ZDF: “The public broadcasters are most shirking their responsibility. They work with public funds, but no longer support cinema films,” said Berger.
His conclusion is therefore: “Institutions like the public broadcasters are no longer sole rulers on the international market. They have strong competition, which is sometimes faster, more passionate and less complicated.” The Oscar winner understood his alarm call as an offer for a rethinking together: “But together we can do it again. When a film is celebrated at the big festivals, it attracts attention. And then the audience comes too.”
“Nothing New in the West” was this year been nominated for an Oscar in nine categories – and had won four of them: for “Best International Film”, “Best Camera”, “Best Production Design” and “Best Film Music”. The number of nominations was a record for Germany, and never before has a German film won as many as the new – and first German-language – film adaptation of the novel by Erich Maria Remarque.