Accreditation
 
European Film Academy - Young Audience Award 2016 v Bratislave
Tuesday 19.04.2016

European Film Academy - Young Audience Award 2016 v Bratislave

Martin Žiaran, ASK
Tuesday 29.03.2016

Martin Žiaran, ASK

Fridrik Thor Fridriksson
Sunday 20.03.2016

Fridrik Thor Fridriksson

Bartosz Konopka
Wednesday 16.03.2016

Bartosz Konopka

EFA master class with Paco Delgado
Tuesday 08.03.2016

EFA master class with Paco Delgado

 

Rabbit á la Berlin

History from an unusual perspective

The Cold War has been examined from many different perspectives in a lot of documentaries, as well as fiction films. Bartosz Konopka and Piotr Rosolowski decided to find a totally different point of view on this part of European history - through the largely ignored story of the thousands of wild rabbits that thrived in the so-called death zone of the Berlin Wall. Konopka's film shows its catastrophic effect on the rabbit population.

As Piotr Rosolowski said: “Frankly speaking, for a very long time we didn’t know how to tell the story of Rabbits from the Berlin Wall. This is what we knew: the film should be told from the rabbits’ point of view, it should have the original narration, but the right way was found during the long editing process. Parallel to that, we continued shooting interviews and collecting the necessary archive footage.” Bartosz Konopka added: “In short, it was a nightmare. No more animal parables in my life.”  


For 28 years, Death Zone was their safest home. Full of grass, no predators, guards protecting them from human disturbance. They were confined by the Wall but happy. When their population grew up to thousands, guards started to remove them. But rabbits survived and stayed there. Unfortunately, one day the wall fell down. Rabbits had to abandon their comfortable system. They moved to West Berlin and have been living there in a few colonies since then. They are still learning how to live in the free world, same as we - the citizens of Eastern Europe.

“First we searched for original archives with real rabbits from the wall, but after a couple of months of research we didn’t find much, so the next stage was to search for shots which could be used as the rabbit’s perspective, like low angle 5 shots of the death zone, but there wasn’t much either. The real change came when we decided that we didn’t have to be so orthodox; if you establish the right narration in the film, you can even show J.F. Kennedy or Fidel Castro at the wall and tell that the rabbits had seen them. The problem was we still didn’t have enough takes with real rabbits from the wall (frankly speaking, almost no one filmed them), so we decided to use archive material from Scotland, Australia (some of the takes were found on Youtube), and mix this footage with archives from the wall. The goal was to create a visible metaphor, which would be impossible to achieve using only original footage.”

Piotr Rosolowski  

Bartosz Konopka and Piotr Rosolowski participated in many workshops and training programs, including Ex Oriente Film during Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival in 2006, with their film. In 2008, the film project was presented at the Docu Talents during the Karlovy Vary Film Festival as one of the 9 most promising documentary films of the upcoming year.


Bartosz Konopka said: ”Our producer Anna Wydra had enough craziness to think we can grab the Oscar with a TV doc, to complete their rules in one week, to find the extra money for a 35mm print and promotion, to risk a lot asking all the commissioning editors to postpone broadcasting.“ and Piotr Rosolowski  added: ”Yes, yes, yes, technically speaking, when I came up with the idea to fight for an Oscar, I just googled: „Oscar for documentary‟ and one of the first results was the International Documentary Association’s web page with information about DocuWeeks. Of course I found it just after the deadline to apply. It took me some time to convince IDA people to give us a chance. They did, and now we are all very happy.”

 

Directed by Bartosz Konopka | Produced by Anna Wydra | Cinematography  Piotr Rosolowski | Editing Mateusz Romaszkan |  51´ |Poland, Germany| 2009