I know where to cut

Laudatio for Ingrid Koller

Delivered by Wolfgang Ritzberger on October 18, 2021 at the Edimotion Festival in Cologne on the occasion of the awarding of the Honorary Editing Prize for her life's work.


Filme  Films 

Does anyone here know, Austrians are not allowed to play, the Ostbahn Kurti, together with his chief part? Ostbahn Kurti is more or less what Toni Polster, who is probably better known here in Cologne, is. Only he sings better than Toni Polster and plays much worse soccer. Whereby I would like to leave out the topic soccer and Austria and Germany now. The Ostbahn Kurti sings in one of his songs: "an Schritt fiere, an Schritt zruck" which translated into High German means as much as: one step forward, two steps back. Translated into Kölsch, well, I almost don't dare to do that after listening to two real "Kölschen" today. "En Schredd vörann, zwei zoröckgonn", or something like that - or: an Kader fire, zwa zurück!

This is how "die Koller" describes her work, when she tells about a film that went completely to shit. Yes also that gives`s in your oeuvre.

The concrete example: After the almost unbelievable success of the TV sitcom "2412" - which tells the story of the office for Christmas issues in the Viennese magistrate - everyone was sure that they could make a bombastic feature film out of it. It came as it often had to come - I hear the figure of Santa Claus, who works in the copying room of MA 2412 during the year, wisely analyzes. It became an almost programmed flop. And what a flop it was! Everyone was allowed to work on the script, in the meantime the largely unknown performers had become famous cabaret artists. Even the director, a guarantor of box office records in Austria, contributed his share - everyone must have had a blast during filming! But already during the editing the first weather glow was clearly visible. The terse comment from Koller: "It was a constant back and forth with the director, one squad forward, two back again."

And in the end, the old sound engineer rule applied here as well: shit in, shit out - the mixing console is not a sewage treatment plant; figuratively speaking, that also applies to an Avid. The film flopped, albeit at a high level. The audience stormed the box office for two weekends, then it was rumored that the film had gone to shit and the rush was over.

And with 2412 one associates in Austria meanwhile the still today delicious TV sitcom ... and less the feature ... was there a feature film at all?

In a pairing with Harald Sicheritz, the director, Koller set several milestones in Austrian cinema: "Hinterholz 8", for example, which was shown here this morning. Incidentally, with Walter Kindler, Ingrid's husband, as DoP - the two as k.u.k. Filmmakers (k.u.k. stands for Koller and Kindler), from something like the high nobility of the film industry in Austria. It is almost logical that the two finest have also joined forces in private. Personally, I would like to add that the collaboration of the two would also not be possible in any other constellation. Try to think who is mostly to blame for the unusable shots at the editing table? The director, rather no, the head lighting guy, rarely, the catering guy ... yeah right. The two agree on this point, though: Koller notes that Walter Kindler doesn't take bad shots. And off.

So, I can spare the rest of the filmography, you can find it in the commemorative publication anyway, so, it's a laudation that I'm supposed to give here. So, how can one praise the Kollers?

Not often enough - don't mention it - that was clear.

Perhaps she is to be praised because she is able to formulate her ideas and conceptions quite succinctly and then also to argue - should any director, he may still, or even producer (at this point I laughed a little during the speech), or TV editor (at this point I laughed much louder during the speech), dare to doubt their ideas and notions, usually already poured into a rough cut, so to grumble, motschkern or madig machen, he is immediately punished. One may doubt. Provided one lets himself be converted and returns to the true faith in you, the Koller, again well-behaved. Who insists on his error, thus grumbles, motschkert and so on, is led to the maximum punishment. She does what he says! In this it resembles the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra, which has provided as the maximum punishment for a conductor who tries to realize himself against the orchestra, to play what he conducts. Well, both are a threat, and both Koller and the Philharmonic have so far not put their worldwide reputations on the line because of the small band of non-believers.

She likes the new blood. To this, one might say, "tricky one - she depends on it, after all." Everyone who knows her knows that she and the Avid will probably not be friends for life. Or, to quote her correctly: "I know where to cut, but I have no idea how to do it! But she has the youth, who grew up with the junk - and she likes the youth and the youth likes her, the Koller. When you look for an assistant for her in Vienna, you often hear, "Yeah, sure, I'll do it!"  To be allowed to cut with Koller, the youngsters literally drop almost everything for it.

By the way, she is still an ice princess. Honestly, she was a successful ice dancer in her youth, so about last week. Ice dancers have to train hard, first of all, and if, as in the case of Koller, they want to do it themselves, and not just follow their parents' wishes, then they are also hard on themselves. Then, secondly, you have to get along with a partner. Ice dancing can only be done in pairs - unlike figure skaters. Now everyone who has experienced Koller here can imagine who set the tone in this pair's skating. She says about herself: I was too ambitious, as the 3rd dwarf from the left, that was not mine. That's why she didn't become an actress, she would have had to start as the 3rd dwarf from the left. Apart from the fact that she had failed Fritz Muliar, one of Austria's best-known folk actors, in the entrance examination to the drama school. The task: play their reaction when they learn on the phone that their mother has died. Koller's solution - she listened, the telephone receiver to her ear, with a serious and unmoved expression, and then said dryly, "Thank you," and hung up. This is said to have upset Muliar so much ("I'll prevent you from even getting an engagement anywhere!") that acting was never going to happen. But Koller already had a plan B at that point: assistant editor at the largest production company in Austria at the time.

So she became a - well, what now, but more on that later - and remained an ice princess. And if you think carefully about what makes an ice princess, you know exactly what she needs: Devotion, lots of love, spontaneous adoration and more often seemingly groundless, but all the more violent, outbursts of enthusiasm in the face of her first cuts. Don't be fooled by slightly grumpy reactions, ice princesses need that. Praise caresses their souls, compliments slide down like oil, and enthusiasm even smooths their alveoli, which have earned a tiny bit of a break after having to survive the cigarette war for decades.

Yes, it must be said at this point: they - and her husband, for that matter - are the last upright smokers of Vienna. And as the Viennese sociologist Roland Girtler likes to say: It's the revolutionaries, the non-conformists, the change agents who smoke - that's why they ban smoking.

We can simply leave it at that; together with the conclusions that follow from this for Koller, which are more than confirmed in view of her list of works.

I come to the question posed earlier, what is Koller now? An editor - well, that could also be called a publisher. An editor, that's where those from the pattern department get upset. Remember: the supplement to Burda, the pattern for the housewife's smock on page 17.

A cutter. Cutter is also the name of a kitchen utensil used to cut meat. Somehow this is getting out of hand now. Film editing, that's what the Austrian professional association calls it, which is no longer true, because strictly speaking, nothing is cut today, but files, or rather referenced excerpts of files, are assembled.

The collator is a recognized quantity at the supposedly third interface in the creation of a film: after the script, here it is created the first time, the shooting, here the second time, the film is created a third time at the editing table. Today probably even more, much more than in the past - because the electronic film camera seduces more material, often more of the same, rarely more in variants or quality.

Dear Ingrid - how big your part was in the qualities, in which you were significantly involved, I can only guess - with some I know it and with one film, you know which one I mean, I am convinced of it. You have saved us the thing, he already knows. Simply because you are the way you are, a little bit stubborn, very honest, blessed with the gift to recognize the finished picture, the finished film in the countless puzzle pieces lying around and because you are, thank God, still an ice princess.

And whoever doesn't recognize that can't be helped anyway.

Dear Ingrid, I congratulate you on the more than deserved award.