Filmmaker in Focus: Volker KOEPP

Filmmaker in Focus: Volker KOEPP

The German director Volker KOEPP (1944–) was born in Stettin, a German port city transferred to Poland and renamed Szczecin after World War II. Political strife and scars of war marked the trajectory and memory of his formative years, informing the creative perspective of his documentary films.

Beginning his professional career in the 1970s East Germany, KOEPP has completed more than 60 films, including a series of seven documentaries, spanning 23 years, about the female workers at a textile factory in Wittstock, and the March Brandenburg trilogy, filmed during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. His subjects often include concentration camp survivors, people fleeing from war, and residents of borderlands; often the simple question of ‘Where do you come from?’ can prompt them to pour their hearts out to him.

These works are labelled as 'landscape films'. Mindful of greater geopolitical implications, he is nevertheless unperturbed by transitory disturbances, choosing instead to explore the deeper symbiotic relationship between the people and the land, the changing and the unchanged, along with the attached histories, cultures, politics, and self-identities.

Always gazing at the centre of things from the border regions, Volker KOEPP seeks truth from the fringe.

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