Ted Fendt’s new 16mm feature opens at Berlinale

Young American director Ted Fendt’s second feature length film, Classical Period, will soon be shown in 16mm in the Forum section of the Berlinale. The 62-minute long film depicts a group of young men and women living in the city of Philadelphia, who gather to exchange ideas about literature, architecture and music. Fiction is stripped out of all conventional storytelling and concentrates on these discussions, led by friends of the filmmaker, playing their own characters. Through this film, the essence of cinema, under the form of sync-sound 16mm, is its ability to capture singular, fragile moments of speech, of thought, of intellectual debate between the protagonists. The film takes place in contemporary times, but all what happens in it could have happened a century ago, and the film medium reinforces that feeling of permanence, without falling into the trap of nostalgy.

Ted Fendt also works as a professional analog film projectionist, his interest for this medium is his every day concern, and it was definitely part of the project to be able to present the work on film. Although 16mm projections were once very common in the International Forum of New Cinema section of the Berlinale, with films of Boris Lehman, James Benning, Peter Hutton and many others shown on that format until a few years ago, most of screenings now are digital so it is quite nice to hear that Ted Fendt’s film will be shown according to the director’s preference in that context. The two screenings of the German subtitled 16mm print will happen at the Kino Arsenal on February 16 and Akademie der Künste on February 24.