An Exit

July 13, 2010

Or maybe it’s more like a transition.

A new entry point.

I have spent 10 months in a metropolis filled with the young, the internationally minded, the aging and the stolid.

As with the 1985 GDR children’s magazine cover to the right, the young and old mix their musical expression to form a cacophonic unity.

(With tanks in the background, of course.)

My writing and interests have drifted from a sardonic, socially critical look at the genre films from a period in which East German cinema ebbed to a invigorating interest in transnational film production, role-playing games as objects of serious academic study, film philosophy and the interplay of emotion/affect within all media objects.

There is much work to be done, and my dissertation besides.

As I sit back and reflect, however, it occurs to me that none of this year abroad would have really worked out had I not had the generous support of so many wonderful people.

Of Peggy, whose well-equipped rented apartment served as the perfect nexus with which to explore Berlin.

Of Luisa and Ming, who quickly befriended me, introduced me to their group of crazy artist friends (as well as their substantial John Ford/Jean-Marie Straub collection) and hospitably organized a spectacular film series.

Of Kira, who was there to talk shop, gossip, commiserate and drink copious amounts of coffee at all the right times with Kat and me.

Of Hilary, who steadfastly organized get-togethers, provided me with delicious food and played a mean game of Jenga.

Of Irene B., who revealed all the best cafés in Prague.

Of Jan E., whose film The Court of Shards provoked long discussions about the nature of filmmaking today and everything else.

Of Jan F., whose mixture of deadpan honesty and strange humor rivals my own.

Of Jon R., who provided me a copy of his invaluable Norwegian dissertation, several interviews and his generous academic support.  I owe him big time and hope to collaborate with him on future DEFA projects.

Of Amber and Simon, who opened up their charming flat in London to Kat and me, sipping tea and taking us on memorable adventures.  Even when they led to neither film nor karaoke. 😉

Of Matt, Melissa, Becka, David and Irene J., dearest friends and relatives that actually made the temporal/financial/corporeal commitment to visit us here in Berlin.

Of Julia and Chris, who visited us too, albeit via an awesome convention in Denmark.  That was a weekend, if there ever was one.

Of Emily, who networked us into having that weekend.

Of Juliette, Barton, Sarah, and Sky, all of whom academic acquaintances who made an effort to see us while on very busy schedules.

Of Susan, Jon, and Jonathan, my solid UMass support crew who helped me get the scholarship for next year.

Of Jason, Kyle, and Diane, who kept me posted on news from home.

Of Stefan K., Gojko, Otto, Erich, Rainer and Uwe, filmmakers who opened up their wealth of knowledge to me without asking for more than a kind word.

Of Markus, with whom I hope to work on future projects related to intersecting interests between gaming and my academic work.

Of Frederik J., who modestly organized an impeccable Fastaval experience for us fish-out-of-water Americans and went out of his way to make us feel at home.

Of Olle, a tinkerer and a mad poet, if there ever was one.

Of Nathan, Kaiser of the LARP world.

Of Tobias W., who sent me that .pdf file. Now I am disturbed.

Of Florian L., who tolerated my tardiness with my article and who has megalomaniacal visions for re-interpreting the world.

Of Henning, who dropped me a line and a short, fun-to-write article opportunity.

Of Andy R., who is a great ally in the bizarre academic game that is Film Studies.

Of Frau Goethe and Frau Scholz, without whom no useful archival research would have happened.

Of Tobias E., who defended a convincing dissertation primarily via a series of well-placed images and otherwise proved the friendly scholar around the HFF.

Of Michael W., a sage of Film Studies and a thankfully very patient man.

Of Tag, the other sage I got to know, who has opened up his vast collection of films to my perusal.

Of Florian G., who loved to quatsch with me about a certain director-producer. Maybe we’ll have a Boll marathon via Skype…

Of Christina and Andy M., for administrating an excellent sehsüchte 2010 festival.

Of Franzi K. and Franzi R., whose careers I (hope) helped push along, both possessing energetic personalities that inspire.

Of Paula, Anne, Philip and Manuel, for their company in the Berlinale ticket line.

Of the first-year Studiengang in the Medienwissenschaft department at the HFF, meaning Lukas, Lisa, Lea, Franzi D., Sarah, Anna S., Anna J., Hella, Hauke, Eric and Esther, who put up with my droning points in class and accepted an outsider as one of their own.

Of Fulbright, who funded the darn thing.

Of my parents and siblings, who sent me invaluable news/packages/love from the States and the whole nine yards.

And of Kat, who made every meal, trip, lazy day, wild adventure, nap and movie-viewing session pleasant and desirable.  I can’t wait to see her again tomorrow!

More candid, I cannot be.

You’ve all been part of the story.

Vielen, vielen Dank!

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2 Responses to “An Exit”

  1. Kira said

    I’m so glad that you and Kat were in Berlin with me this year! It made the good days great, and the bad ones bearable. I’ll miss you two! 😦

  2. aki said

    hope to see you again someday. I’d really like that 😉

    have a nice trip home ^^’

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