Off to Weimar to wrap up the Guru*Lab

I’m currently packing my bags for a trip to Weimar. I’ll fly out of London Stansted to Leipzig-Altenburg in the morning, but since Weimar isn’t close to any major airports, I’ll only be arriving in the early afternoon.

The occasion for my visit is the last seminar I’ll be teaching at the Bauhaus-University, at least for now. It’s also been the longest-running and most exciting one I’ve had the joy of being involved in: For almost one and a half years, a group of students has had the chance to contribute their work to the feature film project Heart of Fire under the supervision of its Oscar-winning producer Andreas Bareiss, Prof. Hennig-Thurau and myself.

Heart of Fire, which premiered at this year’s Berlinale film festival, is inspired by the true story of Senait Mehari, who was forced to become a child soldier during the Eritrean civil war and is now a pop singer in Germany. It was produced by Andreas Bareiss (producer of the Oscar-winning Nowhere in Africa), Sven Burgemeister (producer of the Oscar-nominated Sophie Scholl) and directed by Luigi Falorni (Oscar-nominated for The Story of the Weeping Camel).

Over the course of the project, which we termed Guru*Lab (as an extension of our Guru*Talk sessions), we got to work with all of these fine people – and pretty much everyone else who was involved in financing, producing, and distributing the movie. The students analyzed and commented on the screenplay, designed possible film posters, carried out marketing research, and organized and ran a test screening of the movie’s rough cut prior to the official Berlinale premiere. Perhaps most exciting of all: Three of the students were chosen to be part of the film crew and traveled along during the difficult three-month shoot in Kenya. Their task was to document everything and create the official Making-of.

So on Friday and Saturday, we’ll wrap up the seminar, review our work and project’s progress over the past 16 months. We’ll also attend the premiere of the Making-of which will be screened as part of the Bauhaus-University’s annual back.up film festival. It’s going to be a blast!