This is a in depth guide to the production of the film by G. Scott MacLeod, introducing you to all aspects of the project that is provided with the DVD.
..................................................Technical Information on Film
........................Film Narrative Style
........................Editing, Special Effects and Graphics
........................Stock Shots (Archival Film Footage)
........................Sound Design and Mix
..................................................Film Presentation and Screening
..................................................Director’s Mission and Influences
The Histories Around Each Vignette
..................................................Bibliography and Filmography
Books and Films that Inspired this Documentary
AFTER THE WAR WITH HANNELORE – Production Notes
A Berliner War Child’s Testimony from 1945 to 1989
Welcome to the After the War with Hannelore DVD production notes and educational guide. This downloadable PDF is designed for the educator and members of the public who are interested in documentary film and Cold War history. My aim with this tool was to produce an information guide as a companion to the film, to offer insights into the filmmaking process, and to provide a database of technical and historical information on the Cold War. I hope you will find this package useful and that it will enable further study and understanding of documentary film and the Cold War in Berlin.
This film is a portrait of Hannelore Scheiber during her years growing up in post-war Berlin. The story follows a linear chronology from her birth in a Berlin hospital in January 1945. It describes her family circumstances during the war and post-war era, contact with Russian soldiers, the Russian blockade, and the Berlin Airlift (Luftbrücke) from 1948 to 1949. The film documents her school years from 1951 to 1967, the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, meeting her husband Jean Devigne, their courtship and marriage, and their crossing to the West at Checkpoint Charlie in 1982. My intention with this documentary was to film Hannelore at specific locations in Berlin and document her stories and memories. My goal was to catch her emotions around the most important experiences she remembers from growing up in post-war Berlin.
I met Hannelore and her husband, Jean Devigne, in 1994; years after both of my parents had passed away. We first established a client-artist relationship when they became interested in my paintings. A personal friendship grew from this which now has elements resembling a familial relationship. As I got to know Hannelore, I became interested in her childhood and adult years in Berlin after the war. The impetus behind making this film was her stories, my personal attachment to her, and my interest in World War II and Cold War history.
These seven vignettes of Hannelore’s life are my way of reciprocating all that she’s given me in our friendship. I also believe very strongly that oral histories like hers are valuable records documenting the post-war period and the Cold War years in Berlin, the epicenter of the end of WWII in Europe. What makes these seven vignettes special is that they are so personal. As we are confronted with war on an ongoing basis, I think there is value in narrative historical war documentaries that deal with the real and direct impact of warfare on human beings. Personal testimonies offer a specific, concrete means for understanding the horrors of war. And because they are so personal and real, they avoid the abstraction and separation that are possible when war is discussed through the language of politics, operations, or policies. Documentaries of this nature offer a unique opportunity for understanding.
Technical Information on Film
From September 11th to 25th 2006, I went to Berlin with Director of Photography Emmet Walsh to film (in super 16mm) Hannelore recounting her memories in situ for the seven vignettes.
The film is composed of seven tableaux. Each one was to be filmed in accordance with the era in which the events actually occurred. This determined both the treatment of black & white vs. colour, and the appropriate aspect ratio. In the end we chose not to use the different ratios because the film ended up being a short.
|¬ T ableaux 1 & 2 were shot in the old German aspect ratio 1.19:1 used by German directors before they fled Nazi Germany (one example is Fritz Lang’s, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse) in the early days of sound cinema.
¬ T ableaux 3, 4 & 5 were shot in the standard 1.37:1 ratio, which represents the films of the newsreel era as well as the post-war generation of social filmmakers (such as Roberto Rossellini, whose films Paisa and Germany Year Zero) were made immediately following the end of WWII.
¬ T ableaux 5 & 6 were shot in 1.66:1 aspect ratio, the first and most common European widescreen format used starting in the late fifties.
¬ And finally, Tableau 7 was shot in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the common widescreen format for North America and the UK, to symbolize the western perspective of the impact of the Berlin Wall. We made a shift into colour in the 5th B section (School Years), 6th (The Wall) and 7th (Checkpoint Charlie) vignettes to reflect the periods historically.
Each vignette also opens with a quote. For example, Vignette 4, The Blockade and Airlift
1948-49 will open with a quote by Bertolt Brecht; “First comes food, then morals.”
The intro sequence features the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe by Peter Eisenman. This segment acknowledges the end of the war and the many Jews that were killed under the Nazi regime.
The Hospital 1945
The Russian Occupation and the Apple Celar 1946
Home, My Father and the Railways 1947
The Blockade and Airlift 1948-49
Schol Years 1951-1967
The Wal 1961
Checkpoint Charlie 1982
Film Narrative Style
Video and 16mm film footage was taken of Hannelore on location, where she reminisced and discussed her past experiences. These specific locations from her childhood, adolescent, and adult years in Berlin triggered her emotions and created the story line. She followed a rough script, but it was my intention to allow the filming and her narrative to be free flowing in order to capture her raw emotions and pure memories as they were elicited in response to the sites we visited.
This film is made up of five mediums, film (16 mm) and video footage, photographs, archival footage (stock shots), animations and narrative voiceovers and musical soundtrack. My director of photography, Emmet Walsh, and I filmed many present day sites in Berlin as inserts, though we mostly used archival material to highlight the periods of the vignettes. This archival footage was used when Hannelore made reference to other specific sites or events.
|2. Emmet filming outside sunroof at East Side Gallery||3. Emmet filming Hannelore’s elementary school)||4. Emmet filming Hannelore at Ostkreuz, her father’s S Bahn route||5. Emmet filming Hannelore telling the apple cellar story at Gerda Dressler’s house|
I gathered my sound from a Mini DV camera, which I shot in tandem with Emmet’s 16 mm work. This enabled a second point of view and the possibility of reviewing the days work. This technique was recommended to me by Harvard film Archivist and documentarian Steffen Pierce. For the insert sections, Emmet used a tripod and various handheld techniques for night and day shots of Berlin monuments, buildings and neighbourhoods. We also shot through the sunroof of our car and from a riverboat tour on the Spree and Havel rivers. My second cameraman Olaf Högermeyer shot the opening sequence of the Holocaust monument with a high definition camera. The film was shot with available light.
Editing, Special Effects and Graphics
My editors Martin Pensa and Gwenaëlle Larpent edited the off-line on an AVID system, assisted by Pascaline Maître. All the special effects during the on-line editing phase, were created with, Smoke and Flame by Discrete Logic at Buzz Image. The bulk of the animations and 3D work was done by lead compositor Nicolas Laprise Pellicelli and compositors Jean-Michel St-Pierre Lapierre and Mathieu Taggart on Flame, and by Marc-André Poulin with Softimage XSI. The Airlift 3D animation and the MacLeod Nine Productions intro was created by Studio Parsons in Maya 3D. All titles, citations and my graphics were created by Tagteam Studio in Adobe Photoshop and Indesign. And finally the on-line editing was done by Sarah Picard and Martin Pensa in High Definition at Buzz Image in Montreal.
Men loading food during airlift
Hannelore and I went through her family photo albums to select photos of herself, family, friends and pertinent sites in Berlin, (i.e. home, schools, places with any personal connection). These photos were used to highlight each section or tableau of the film. The selected photos were then scanned, photoshopped and animated into the vignettes by my compositing team, which was led by Nicolas Laprise Pellicelli. I also took 500 stills of present-day Berlin and bought the rights to archival photos from the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. These were used as inserts for the Airlift, Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie vignettes.
I acquired the rights for archival film footage from the National Film Board of Canada with the aim of contextualizing the end of WWII Airlift and the Wall periods.
Pencil animation hand shake in stages
Having a background in fine arts and an interest in animation, I decided to animate forty images for the film. My editor Martin Pensa and I used the animations as a vehicle to illustrate moments and locations that we had no footage for. This was also my solution to not having a budget to procure the rights to all the stills and archival footage we wanted. My approach was fairly straightforward, I drew my images on Mylar (a material once used by architects) and set up a tripod with a digital camera and photographed the stages of the drawing. The jpegs were later assembled as a moving picture, much like early animations. The animations and VFX was directed by Martin Pensa and lead compositor by Nicolas Laprise Pellicelli and his compositing team.
For the film score, I composed a total of nine songs for the soundtrack. Seven of the songs were composed to reflect the periods represented in each vignette. For Home, My Father and the Railways 1947, for example, I wrote an original blues piece after the style common in the 1940s. The bulk of the lyrics for the music accompanying the film score were constructed from Hannelore’s narrative voice. As a parallel narrative voice in the songs, I chose as woman singers Robin Gorn, Laure Péré, and Josée Gagnon, as I felt the female voices represented Hannelore herself, against a few male voices that represented her father, or best suited the context of the vignette, such as the The Wall which is a very mechanical and robotic. The songs were recorded by engineer Ky Anto, Ky recorded the musicians live off the floor with a portable Pro Tools unit.
|Musicians Robin Gorn and Alex Flores|
Sound Design and Mix
I did my sound design at Audio Z with Alexandre Wang-Legentil. Alex and I looked for natural environmental sounds like birds to emphasize the notion of ‘rebirth’ and greenness of present day Berlin. In Alex’s sound bank, we were able to get accurate helicopter, airplane, and tank sounds that best represented the periods we were looking for. Our sound mix was done in stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound at the National Film Board of Canada with Serge Boivin.
Film Presentation and Screening
I have also constructed the film so it can be presented both as a traditional documentary and also as a film installation, in which case I would incorporate other art practices and environments. The film installation option consists of seven digital projectors and seven 4 X 1m Mylar screens (which will be attached to 1m long horizontal rods and hung from the ceiling with wire). Each vignette ranges from three to five minutes long and the total running time of all seven vignettes is 20 minutes. Each projector is timed in intervals and goes through projection one to seven, then begins again and repeats the cycle. This is designed to give an overview of Hannelore’s life in the context of the historical events going on in Berlin. Given the types of technology available to filmmakers we now have even greater opportunities of making narrative biographies and experimental film and video available to the public. Thus I am interested in exploring the way films can now be presented. It is my aim to explore these new possibilities by installing these Mylar screens in public forums in Canada and Germany.
The Oral History project
During the course of making this Cold War film, I realized how important it was for me to document Hannelore Scheiber’s story. Over the years I have developed a respect for the storyteller as he or she is a tangible living voice and a link that connects us to the past. With film, we have the luxury of recording these witnesses to history, to capture and share their personal testimonies with a broader audience, as Stephen Spielberg has done with his ‘Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation’.
Film is a powerful medium, as it has the potential to be accessible to many people. In this sense, cinema is like the amphitheater of ancient Greece. In contemporary film, we still reference the archetypal heroes and heroines from the past.
I have discovered in popular culture that film can have either a negative or a positive influence on society. In the short history of film, the medium has been used as a propaganda tool to promote hate and violence and as a moral and ethical tool to enable us to better understand the complexities of the world around us. Some of us have the freewill to choose which one we support. As a director I have exercised my democratic freedom to use this film as an ethical and as a positive educational tool.
I am particularly interested in using film to document our elders who have witnessed and experienced the aftermath of wars. Sadly, war is still very much a part of our day to day experience and we have become detached and desensitized through mass media, in what Noam Chomsky refers to as, “trivializing the severity of war.”
This film was influenced and inspired by Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States and Ken Burns’ series, War, because they both enabled ‘the people’, to recount their own personal stories, instead of presenting organizations with a vested interest in sanitizing the impact of war. Like Zinn and Burns I have taken an everyday person’s story, because I felt it was important to humanize the tragedies of war and make them accessible to the public. In After the War with Hannelore, I have tried to faithfully do the same as Zinn and Burns, and portray Hannelore’s stories at the forefront of a series of important historic Cold War events in Berlin from 1945 to 1989.
It is my hope that this documentary will illustrate a woman emancipating herself from circumstantial suffering which ensued from an incredible series of events beyond her control. From what I have learned, it was the collective effort of her communities and the Allies that helped her overcome the darkness of the Cold War, enabling her to release it as the light of compassion. ‘Freeing ourselves from suffering’ is how Canadian filmmaker Velcrow Ripper refers to this light of compassion via his Tonglen meditation practice, which is featured in the DVD extras of his National Filmboard of Canada documentary film Scared Sacred. In my film I have also tried to find what Ripper describes as the ‘flowers in the ashes’ and looked for the positive lessons out of the atrocities of war. Ripper’s downloadable meditation guide has inspired me to create and provide you with this downloadable PDF ‘production notes and education package’. It is my aim to offer a forum for discussion and learning, and to encourage people to tell their own stories and make their own films.
In closing I hope, that Hannelore’s story puts a face to the events of post-war Berlin, which is incredibly important as the epicenter of the end of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War. I welcome you to Hannelore’s life road map. It is my hope that her story enables us to let go of the suffering, hate, and darkness, to finally welcome the light of compassion to a city of great learning and possibilities. My hope is that this film might instill hope and love as well as peace, and ultimately contribute to the democratization of our planet by helping to end fear and war. I welcome you to one woman’s journey in doing this very thing.
World Trade Center Montréal 2008
AFTER THE WAR WITH HANNELORE – Weblinks
A Berliner War Child’s Testimony from 1945 to 1989
Weblinks - The Histories Around Each Vignette
Vignette 1......The Hospital 1945
The history of the fal of Berlin
Vignette 2......The Russian Occupation & The Apple Cellar 1946
The Russian Occupation of Berlin
Vignette 3......Home, my father and the railways 1947
The Reconstruction of Berlin
Vignette 4......The Blockade and the Airlift 1948 – 1949
Vignette 5......School Years 1951 – 1967
The education system after the war in Berlin
Vignette 6......The Wal, August 13, 1961
The construction of the Berlin Wal
Vignette 7......Checkpoint Charlie 1982
Th e Cold War in Berlin
AFTER THE WAR WITH HANNELORE - Bibliography
A Berliner War Child’s Testimony from 1945 to 1989
Books on Berlin
Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945 (2003).
William F. Buckley Jr., The Fall of the Berlin Wall (2004).
Richard Collier, Bridge across the Sky: The Berlin Blockade and Airlift, 1948-49 (1978).
Julia Engelhardt, Berlin: A Century of Change (2004).
Nick Gay, Berlin Then and Now (2005).
Col. Gail S. Halvorsen, The Berlin Candy Bomber (1990).
Rainer Hildebrandt, It Happened At the Wall (2006).
Maik Kopleck, Berlin 1945-1989, Past Finder (2006).
B. Ladd, The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape (1997).
Giles Mac Donogh, Berlin: A Portrait of Its History, Politics, Architecture, and Society (1998).
Mark R. McGee, Berlin: A Visual and Historical Documentation from 1925 to the Present (2002).
Alexandra Richie, Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin (1999).
Paul Steege, Black Market, Cold War: Everyday Life in Berlin, 1946-1949 (2007).
Ronald Taylor, Berlin and its Culture (1997).
K. Till, The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place (2005).
Ann Tusa, The Berlin Blockade (1988).
Julien Quideau and Patrick Démerin, Une Ville/Un Événement Berlin (2000).
Further Readings in Twentieth Century German History
Stefan Berger, Inventing the Nation (2004).
Volker Berghahn, Modern Germany: Society, Economy and Politics in the 20th Century (1995).
Mary Fulbrook, A History of Germany 1918-2008: the Divided Nation (2009).
Mary Fulbrook, Interpretations of the Two Germanies, 1945-1990 (2000).
German Bundestag Public Relations Division, Questions on German History –
Paths to Parliamentary Democracy Catalogue (1998).
Harold James and Marla Stone (eds.), When the Wall Came Down: Reactions to
German Unification (1992).
L. Kettenacker, Germany since 1945 (1997).
C. Klessmann (ed.), The Divided Past: Rethinking Post-war German History (2001).
C. Maier, The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust and German National Identity (1988).
Peter Merkl (ed.), The Federal Republic at Forty-Five: Union Without Unity (1995).
R. Moeller (ed.), West Germany under Construction: Politics, Society and Culture and the
Adenauer Era (1997).
A. J. Nicholls, The Bonn Republic: West German Democracy, 1945-1990 (1997).
H. Schissler (ed.), The Miracle Years: A Cultural History of West Germany (2001).
H. A. Turner, Germany from Partition to Reunification (1992).
Tony Vaccaro, Entering Germany 1944-1949 (2001).
Christian Von Krockow, Hour of the Women: A Young Mother’s Fight to Survive at the
Close of World War II (1991).
H. A. Winkler, Germany: The Long Road West. Volume II: 1933-1990 (2007).
AFTER THE WAR WITH HANNELORE – Filmography
A Berliner War Child’s Testimony from 1945 to 1989
Films on Berlin During The Cold War
Wikipedia lists more than 30 films which use Berlin as a setting at
A Foreign Affair, 1948 - Romantic comedy set in Berlin during the Allied occupation;
stars Jean Arthur and Marlene Dietrich; directed by Billy Wilder
Berliner Ballade, 1948 - Daily life of a veteran home from the war.
Director Robert A. Stemmle
The Big Lift, 1950 - Stars Montgomery Clift in the Berlin Air Lift. Film by George Seaton
The Man Between, 1953 - Stars James Mason. Atmospheric East/West thriller filmed
in bomb-torn Berlin. Directed by Carol Reed
One, Two, Three, 1961 - Cold War before The Wall, comedy by Billy Wilder
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, 1965 - Cold War classic set on both sides of The Wall,
directed by Martin Ritt
Funeral in Berlin, 1966 - Spy film starring Michael Caine
Torn Curtain, 1966 - Cold War thriller set in East Berlin, directed by Alfred Hitchcock
The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz, 1968 - Cold War spy farce about an Olympic athlete who
defects. Director George Marshall.
Die Legende von Paul und Paula, 1973 - Love story set in East Berlin by Heiner Carow
Berlin Alexanderplatz 1980 - An epic film by Fassbinder based on the Döblin novel
Berlin Tunnel 21, 1981 - A former American officer leads an attempt to build a tunnel
underneath The Wall as a rescue route
Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, 1981 - 1970s portrayal of West Berlin’s drug
scene by Uli Edel
Taxi zum Klo, 1981 - Groundbreaking film documenting gay culture in West Berlin by Frank
The Jesse Owens Story, 1984 (TV) - Biographical film of the life and times of 1936 Olympics
star Jesse Owens, by Richard Irving
Der Himmel über Berlin, 1987 (Wings of Desire) - A cult film about the divided city and its
fate by Wim Wenders
Judgment in Berlin, 1988 - Based on a true story about a 1978 hijacking of a Polish
airliner to West Berlin and the subsequent 1979 trial conducted in the United States
Court for Berlin; stars Martin Sheen and Sean Penn
Linie 1, 1988 - Film of the 1986 Musical about U-Bahn (subway) Line 1 in West Berlin
by Reinhard Hauff
Faraway, So Close!, 1993 - Sequel to Wings of Desire (1987), angels desire to be human,
by Wim Wenders
D-Day to Berlin, 1994 (TV) - Stirring colour documentary of the American campaign,
including footage from Berlin, by George Stevens
Sonnenallee, 1999 - A teen comedy set in the East Berlin of the 1970s by Leander Haußmann
Good-Bye Lenin! 2003 - This tragicomedy about recreating the vanished DDR was filmed
in Berlin’s eastern half
Der Untergang, 2004 (Downfall) - Film depicting the last days of Hitler and the Battle of
Berlin, set in and around the “Führerbunker”
Alles auf Zucker, 2005 (Go for Zucker) - Comedy with Ossi-Wessi and secular-orthodox
Jewish themes. Director Dani Levy
The Lives of Others (German: Das Leben der Anderen) is a 2006 German drama film, marking the
feature film debut of writer and director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. The film involves
the monitoring of the cultural scene of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi, the GDR’s
The Good German, 2006 - Homage to Film Noir, set in 1945 Berlin during the Potsdam
Conference, by Steven Soderbergh
Knallhart, 2006 - A film about the run-down district of Berlin-Neukölln.
Directed by Detlev Buck
Der Rote Kakadu, 2006 (The Red Cockatoo) - Young love and friendship in 1961 East Germany;
partly set in the Kopenhagener Straße. Director Domenik Graf
A Woman in Berlin, 2008 - Film of the diary by Marta Hillers depicting the rape of Berlin
by the Soviets in 1945, by Max Färberböck
|Based on the oral history
and memories of
Director of photography
High definition cameraman
Additional video and
German history consultant
Post Production Supervision
B&W Film Processing
Colour Film Processing
Telecine technician (NFB)
English voice over recording
German and French voice
Voice over editing
Sound Mix (NFB)
|Sound Technician (NFB)
Music, Lyrics and Arrangements
G. Scott MacLeod
McAuslan’s hedge clippers
Resonator and Spanish guitar
Soundtrack available at
Scanning and photo cropping
Stock Shot Footage Library
Deutsches Historisches Museum
Henry Ries, The New York Times,
Airlift Mural photograph in
Truman Presidential Museum and
Sina Küehnel’s personal
Hannelore Scheiber’s personal
The Berlin Candy Bomber
The Fall of Berlin 1945
Formating and Corrections
Press kit copy editor
|Concordia University Mel
Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Consulate General of the Federal
Consul General, Montreal,
Consul General, Montreal, adjoint
Consul General, Montreal, Press and
German Chamber of Commerce in
Jubilee Elementary School
Serge Laforest at Audio Z
Gilles Castilloux at Main Film
Peter McAuslan at McAuslan Brewing
Stef Mercier at Mercier Holdings
Judy Heron at Unionville Insurance
Jessica & Liz Charbonneau at
Bert Holterdorf at
Olaf Jansen and the staff
Horst Kaspar and Uschi Gruber
Olaf Hogermeyer and Cinzia Riveri
Gunter and Barbara Schulz
Claudia Seeber at The Canadian
Claude Trudelle and Manuel Fifel at
Produced with the financial
The National Film Board of Canada
Through the Filmmakers Assistance
Program (FAP) and Main Film.
With the additional support of
Shot on location in
MacLeod Nine Productions 2009 ©
MACLEOD NINE PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS
“AFTER THE WAR WITH HANNELORE – A BERLINER WAR CHILD’S TESTIMONY FROM 1945 TO 1989” WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY G. SCOTT MACLEOD
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS HANNELORE SCHEIBER AND JEAN DEVIGNE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY EMMET WALSH LINE PRODUCER VUK STOJANOVIC
LEAD EDITOR MARTIN PENSA EDITOR GWENAELLE LARPENT ASSISTANT EDITOR PASCALINE MAITRE ANIMATIONS AND VFX DIRECTED BY MARTIN PENSA
SOUND JEAN DEVIGNE & ALEXANDRE WANG-LEGENTIL AUDIO Z ORIGINAL SCORE G. SCOTT MACLEOD SOUNDTRACK PRODUCERS KY ANTO & SHAUN PILOT