The names that he has been called! Enfant terrible, provocateur, sexist, porn director and many more. Indeed, Roland Reber was a provocateur in the best sense of the word; one who was concerned with equal rights and sexual freedom for all sexes, who held up a mirror to society's double standards and its taboos. In his films he revealed hidden chambers, locked rooms, sexual fantasies, suppressed desires, lust and vice. But in the process, he expanded people's ideas and minds with feeling, poetry and philosophy. A rebel for life, he always worked as a true independent, realising his projects together with his women's collective completely independently and without funding. Since 2005, Roland Reber and his collective have been constant guests of Hof Film Festival, where they presented their world premieres. Roland Reber passed away on 11th September 2022.
This year, the 56th Hof International Film Festival is dedicating a tribute to the non-conformist filmmakers and showing six films from its long-standing association with them:
Roland Reber was born in 1954 as the son of a carpenter in Ludwigshafen, completed acting studies at the Bochum Drama School and worked as an actor at various state theaters. In 1981 he founded the "TheaterPathologischeInstitut" (wtp) in Hamburg as an author and director, from which the "Theater Institut" emerged in 1988 and performed at the Schulenburg in Hattingen and the Heinz-Hilpert Theater in Lünen until 1989. "Just as corpses are opened in pathology to determine the cause of suffering, the Theaterpathologisches Institut wants to uncover the illness of society and theater," Roland Reber himself defined the work.
From 1989, within the framework of the World Decade for Cultural Development of the United Nations and UNESCO, he directed the "World Theater Project", which consisted of artists from different countries such as Jamaica, Germany and India, who together developed and performed a play in the respective country. At that time Roland Reber worked as a director and writer in India, Russia, Egypt, Mexico and the Caribbean, and as a lecturer in acting and directing in Moscow, New Delhi, Cairo and the Caribbean.
In 1998, together with Mira Gittner and Ute Meisenheimer, he founded the wtp collective, which later became wtp international Filmproduktion. The collective shot feature films independently and without any funding, which they also released themselves in theaters or on DVD/stream. The beginning of wtp international Filmproduktion was also a kind of return to Roland Reber's beginnings - precisely through the way of directing films.
Already in his first feature film 'Ihr habt meine Seele gebogen wie einen schönen Tänzer' (You have bent my soul like a beautiful dancer) from 1979, he cast the roles both with professionals, such as ensemble members of the Schauspielhaus Bochum, and with talented amateur actors. The script served him as a suggestion, the actors and crew had a say in the design, because for the director they were artists in their own right, co-creators with whom he could realize an idea together. The ensemble is more than just the sum of the individuals.
Reber remained true to this communal idea throughout his life. The collaboratively developed films dealt with themes such as the search for meaning, the abysses of the human soul, and denounced bigotry and repressive moral codes. He received several international awards for his works.
After suffering a stroke in 2015, Reber withdrew more and more from the public eye, but remained creative until his last breath with feature film productions such as "The Taste of Life," "Roland Reber's Death Revue," as well as book projects.
Last year, he was able to initiate the founding of wtp-verlag and one of his heart's projects, the design of his multimedia book - "Gedichte. Thoughts. Geschichten von und mit Roland Reber", which will be published by wtp-verlag on 11.11.2022.
His last feature film, "Roland Reber's Death Revue," also premiered at the Hof Film Festival in 2019, and he presented this film, too, confidently, already sitting in a wheelchair, accompanied by his collective.
wtp international online