UMF Cologne 2011 Diary… Teil Eins

Last week something amazing was happening at the old fire station in Cologne. Over 40 artists, in production teams from all over Europe, gathered for the Roots & Routes Urban Media Festival to attend workshops  and produce short films, documentaries and live visuals based around the theme of big city life. The results of the projects were then shown at the International Short Film Festival, SHNIT. There were participants from France, Belgium, UK, Romania, Italy, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain and luckily for us our friend Aaron Roach Bridgeman was one of these people and even better he kept a diary of his experience while over there. Here, we present part one (teil eins means part one in German) of his story, and make sure you return next week for the rest!






Day Of Departure

My journey to Germany started with a very long train ride and a ridiculously heavy suitcase. On arrival at Gatwick, I met up with My Roots and Routes UK Team, who were strategically positioned within the ‘well-organized’ line for Easy Jet flights (unimpressed-Sarcastic face). Notice I say LINE as there was only ONE line for ALL fights, where a strange looking gentleman who worked for the company would sporadically scream that the flights that were on their last call. Hugely confusing! But we eventually checked in (by this point carrying my suitcase around had started to make my arm felt like it was becoming slightly disconnected from the rest of my body), bought a few essentials in the departure lounge, boarded and a very short while later, we arrived in Germany. After a self-taught crash-course in the metro and train systems of Cologne, we finally got to the hotel, relaxed and discussed ideas for the start of the project the next day.


Day 2

After gathering in the building we were to use as our Urban Media Festival (UMF) headquarters, we started with an introduction of ourselves and our individual ideas in typical Roots&Routes (R&R) style – a big circle. I heard some really interesting ideas from some really talented people and I was impressed by the quality of the talent from all over Europe. We then had to choose and mix with other people who had ideas in areas we specialized in or that we felt we could contribute to; the only condition was that we weren’t clique-ish with other talents from the same country, or with people we had known or worked with previously.

I chose a group mainly from Holland who had a concept called `Big City Life?’ exploring the views of people who like and dislike the city life of Cologne, and I wanted to contribute as a poet, interviewer and journalist. After lunch, we made final decisions on groups and signed up to workshops with media professionals in areas ranging from editing to 3D to visualization to screen writing, I chose the latter. We got straight to work with our group and I decided to compose a poem completely dedicated to the project. I ended up recording an audio version and the group decided it would be the intro to the documentary we were producing.

The first workshop started soon after and I attended mine with Costas – A reputable film maker from Greece who attempted to provoke the members of the class’ minds with a very interesting and entertaining introductory exploration of what Drama, Dramaturgy and Script is. After the workshop, we ate and brought our day to a close with a group meeting. It was a very hard working and productive day – I went back to the hotel and literally fell straight to sleep….


Or did he? Tuesday will see part two or ‘teil zwei’ of Aaron’s experience at the UMF, its full of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll – well it’s not but it is still rather interesting so make sure you come back and check it out!