“Lively, smart, experimental, joyous and true-to-life filmmaking can only be reinforced and advanced by thinking and seeing cinema with knowledge of its history and its possibilities. In contrast, any orientation of thinking towards the market has become predictable, breathless, exchangeable. Because “market” has become equal with mediocre standardizations of the same old premises and an articulated hate of avant-garde amongst the audience. Government-funded cinema leans heavily towards a flattening of its shape and urgently needs intellectual support. Especially through those who are capable of reckoning our work critically and with knowledge. A Critics’ Week at the Berlinale could potentially provide an impulse, it could convey cinematic examination on a high level as it is much more widespread in other countries.”
– Dominik Graf (director)

“The Berlin International Film Festival shows almost 400 films – but why? Why does a certain film get invited instead of another one? Who treks through the jungle? Who questions the choices and the criteria on which the routines are based? A feature of other film festivals that’s missing in Berlin is a place where instead of piling masses of films onto each other, ‘cinema’ as a whole is considered and discovered in single screenings. Within a selection of 400 films, what we need is not a larger number of parallel sections, but precisely such a place. A place to think and exchange.”
– Dietrich Brüggemann (director and writer)

“Cinema is quickly losing its freedom and heritage, good films are chased away by pretentious conventional narratives with gratuitous ‘human’ stories, and especially now film festivals are at risk. It’s doubly problematic for people like myself as we are losing the outlet for what we do, and it’s not a German problem; Berlinale is still among the better ones in this regard. Look at Venice or Cannes. It’s terrible. Sure i’ll share this and also will co-sign, thanks. It’s good to know that some critics are also aware of this huge crisis that we are now facing everyday. Film criticism is important. We can’t continue without the good critical viewpoints and writings on what we do. Thanx.”
– Toshi Fujiwara (director, cinematographer, critic)

“The very fact that the act of going beyond appearances, of deconstructing a visual message and confuting its validity (i.e. film criticism) is no longer a viable profession speaks volumes about the world we live in. Western democracies and their newspapers, magazines and websites as a matter of fact can do without film criticism unless the latter morphs into publicity or buzz-generating twaddle. It is quite clear to who is writing that questioning and critical thinking are not very valuable assets to the neoliberal gospel and its preachers who rule undisputed our societies. This leaves “serious” film critics either unemployed or forced into less noble forms of intellectual prostitution in order not to wait tables (that is unless you are independently wealthy enough so as not have to make a living). This is a reality that no amount of dedicated, critical and anti-commercial criticism will make go away, it would be foolish telling ourselves otherwise. The disproportionate influence that sponsors and profit-driven imperatives have come to play in the film industry is nothing but a reflection of our social predicament. “Serious,” engaged and truly independent criticism can flourish only in a society that (economically) thrives on debate and allows or even encourages its citizens to cultivate doubt and nurture dissent. That is clearly not the case. Given the preoccupying state Europe is in and the dangerously authoritarian winds that are sweeping its crisis-stricken planes, film and criticism can only degenerate along with all the rest. That is unless we oppose by any means necessary this political, social and cultural decline of which the state of film criticism is, once again, nothing but a reflection. To say it with our colleague Michael Pattison: ‘we have to question the ways in which the film industry reinforces the economically hostile conditions that threaten it to begin with.” In order to do that, we have to engage with and criticize not only films, but also, and most importantly, the world they originate from. That is not to say that nothing can be done to better the declining working conditions of film critics worldwide. Instead of vaingloriously and individualistically chase a nonexistent “critical fame” we could organize as film critics, defend our craft and profession from devaluation, making sure resources within the industry are fairly distributed and so on. As form and content are inextricably related in a film, so are the material and intellectual aspects of film criticism in relation to the wider social, economic and political sphere.”
– Giovanni Vimercati (buyer & distributior)

Signees of the Pamphlet for Activist Film Criticism Dunja Bialas
Jennifer Borrmann
Frédéric Jaeger
Claus Löser
Dennis Vetter
Beatrice Behn
Kirsten Kieninger
Joachim Kurz
Harald Mühlbeyer
Wilhelm Skrjabin
Hans Stempel
Florian Vollmers
Rochus Wolff
Clara Wellner Bou
Erik Lemke
José Garcia
Stefanie Drechsel
Huan Vu
Sebastian Selig
Daniel Kothenschulte
Carsten Spicher
Andreas Heidenreich
Karola Gramann
Hannes Brühwiler
Heide Schlüpmann
Christoph Wirsching
Elisabeth Maurer
Wilhelm Hein
Paul Poet
Rüdiger Suchsland
Michael Cholewa
Jörg van Bebber
Peter Clasen
Rudi Gaul
Markus Brandstätter
Gregor Torinus
Marcus Stiglegger
Anette Frick
Sano Cestnik
Jörg Buttgereit
Jens Dehn
Jan Soldat
Jochen Werner
Dana Linssen
Jean Roy
Pablo Utin
Joyce Roodnat
Johann Jakob Häußermann
Alexandra Zawia
Ulrich Kriest
Stephan Langer
Thorsten Krüger
Tara Karajica
Thomas Moritz Müller
Pamela Pianezza
Yoana Pavlova
Patrick Holzapfel
Adrian Martin
Louise Burkart
Roger Koza
Thomas Groh
Pamela Biénzobas
Diego Brodersen
Andrey Arnold
Toshi Fujiwara
Jakob Gross
Ann-Christin Eikenbusch
Greg de Cuir, Jr
Luca Fuchs
Oliver Nöding
Bernd Kiefer
Paolo Bertolin
Edmund Yeo
Alex Oost
Michael Schleeh
Dominik Kamalzadeh
Julian Ross
Mark Schilling
Giovanni Vimercati
Kirsten Liese
Cosima Lutz
Thomas Rothschild
Tino Hanekamp
Christian von Borries