Behind the scenes at the Schlingel film festival

English Studies postgraduates share their impressions on their first taste of the film industry

The collaboration at the festival united our Master’s group (Photograph: Ola Alshakhshir)

Enjoying a deserved break with my colleagues Nazim (l), Ola, Yang, Yixia and Roman (r) (Photograph Ola Alshakhshir)

The 23rd International Film Festival for Children and Young Audience (Schlingel) took place from 1 – 7 October and drew around 25 000 visitors to more than 230 films from 51 countries, according to the event organisers. 124 of these films were also competing for various awards granted by 12 juries. The opening ceremony at the Chemnitz Opera on 30 September introduced the Schlingel organisers and contributors and kindled the interest of the guests with promising film teasers and trailers. The eventful festival week was packed with film screenings, workshops for children and adults, round tables and conferences. This massive organisation occupied numerous employees and interns together with the participants of Prof. Dr. Cecile Sandten’s seminar Schlingel: International Film Festival for Children and Young Adults. During the summer semester, my colleagues and I mastered the art of film criticism and discussed a selection of the festival titles, wrote their reviews and translated their subtitles from English to German. We also had the chance to get hands-on experience as part of the festival crew.

Our contribution to such a large and complex project proved to be an enormous responsibility. Many of us had to assist the festival guests and ensure their smooth and pleasant stay in Chemnitz. I myself was assigned to accompany the director, producer and the two main child actors of the 2018 Serbian production The Witch Hunters. Having helped to translate the film’s subtitles and thereby watched it multiple times, I was thrilled to see the characters coming to life and to become their trusted aide during the festival week. The audience was also moved by the experience, and we enjoyed three unpredictable and lively Q&A sessions led by our engaging moderators.

Apart from taking care of the national and international guests, the English Studies group occasionally handed out the all-essential flyers for the audience vote. On other days, we served as ushers and had to direct the swarming visitors to their film screenings.


Here is what my colleagues shared about their work at the festival:

This lucky festival poster was signed by every guest (Photograph Marina Ivanova)

„Although I was hesitant towards the SCHLINGEL festival in the beginning due to some minor organisational drawbacks and perhaps and a bit discouraged with the number of hours in my working schedule, I quickly found myself enjoying it so much that I willingly stayed over time. Not only did I bond with people I had known from my studies, but I also made new colleagues in the SCHLINGEL team and among the guests. I also got a chance to see how such events are organised, talk to professional filmmakers in informal circumstances and I saw many incredible films that I would not have known about otherwise.” – Natalia Przybysz

“The Schlingel team was really a wonderful team! Everyone was very nice, patient and willing to help me. I really enjoyed working there during the whole week.” – Yixia Sun

“Being a member of the Schlingel festival team is  an impressive experience for me because it gave me a chance to get to know the director of the film which I had translated. I learnt a lot from her optimism,, her respect for children’s rights and her kindness to people around her.” – Yang Wang

“I had a great time at the film festival. It was very interesting to take a look behind the scenes of Schlingel and to see how everything was managed. I also enjoyed the happy faces of all the children and the guests at the festival. It is just awesome how the Schlingel team is able to connect so many international people in just one week.” – Paula Löser

“This festival was a unique experience that involved hard work and positive emotions. I came up with the subtitles for the film from my country (the Ukraine) and accompanied the producer and main actor here, in Chemnitz. The film ended up taking one of 18 awards; and I am happy to know that my work also contributed to this success.” – Roman Ripa

“I had the chance to be part of the Schlingel team this year. The team members were very kind, collaborative and enthusiastic. It was a good experience, and I hope I will be there next year as well.” – Adham Yassin

Thus our compulsory Master’s seminar allowed us to explore the film industry and the organisation of a large transcultural project.

I hope that you are also having a productive and eventful beginning of the winter semester!



(Master English & American Studies, 3rd semester)

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