Director Matti Geschonneck on His Film “The Conference”/”Die Wannseekonferenz” | Louisiana Channel

“11 million people.”

Meet German Film Director Matti Geschonnek, who is behind the award-winning feature film The Conference, reenacting a meeting of high-ranking Nazi officials on January 20th, 1942, in Wannsee, Berlin, where the murder or “final solution” of the entire Jewish population of Europe was planned. At the centre of the film is a table having the shape of a U, gathering all the people involved in what might be the biggest crime in the history of humankind.

“I discussed with the production designer how we could create the feeling of a board meeting. Everyone seems to know, whether it’s Volkswagen, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Bank or any other corporation, how the tables are arranged. The cooks, or the chef, are here, and the waiters are down here. That’s important for the viewers, so they understand that there is this sense of hierarchy.”

“Basically, we wanted to show what we are capable of. I emphasise ‘we’ because the people at the meeting are us. They don’t just appear out of nowhere. They are human beings. And they are capable of going through with something like this.”

Matti Geschonnek (b 1952 in Potsdam) is an award-winning German film director. He grew up in the German Democratic Republik, studied film direction at the renowned Gerassimow-Institute for Cinematography in Moscow and settled over to West Germany in the aftermath of Wolf Biermann’s expatriation in 1976, who had been critical towards the East German regime. Geschonnek has won multiple awards for his work, such as Grimme-Preis, Goldene Kamera, Bayerischer Fernsehpreis, Deutscher Fernsehpreis, Hans Abich Preis, Gold World Medal New York Festivals. Lately, two of Matti Geschonnek’s film premiered at the Berlinale – Boxhagener Platz in 2010 and In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts with Bruno Ganz in 2017. His latest Die Wannseekonferenz was awarded the Prix Europa for best feature film, Deutscher Fernsehpreis, 3sat-Publikumspreise, to name a few.

Matti Geschonnek was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at Grand Teatret in Copenhagen, Denmark, in January 2023.

Camera: Simon Weyhe
Edited by: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2023

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