My name is Reinaldo Pinto Almeida. Born and raised in Lisbon. I studied Philosophy in Lisbon and later at Paris IV having completed my studies in 2007 with a degree from the Universidade de Lisboa. Then I moved to Mumbai, India where I stayed before moving to Berlin in October 2008 where I am currently residing. I work as a freelance filmmaker in various departments and study at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf (formerly known as HFF). Along with my fellow Producer Urs Kind we formed the Almeida/Kind Gbr Production. In my spare time I perform improvised theatre with CSZ Berlin. I have also worked with some long form Improvisation groups.
What brought you to Berlin?
I grew up speaking German in Portugal. Both my parents are from India, but my parents mother tongues are English and Portuguese. My mother for some reason had switched to German before I was born. My elder sisters say that my mom used to speak English with us, but I have no recollection of that.
However, that made me very fluent in German nobody really suspects that I didn’t grow up in Germany. Oddly enough when I speak English people tend to say I am Canadian. 😉 Especially at Improv shows. I guess that doesn’t really explain why I came to Berlin, but it might point out why I stayed. I do remember thinking either London, Paris or Berlin. It ended being Berlin. That is pretty much a fact.
Could you tell me more about your web series Das Apartment?
How did you come up with the idea?
It had dwelled my mind to go back to some fictional work after having done Sushila by the Sea and Erosion which are documentaries. And I had already worked with Mathieu Pelletier and we had an ongoing conversation that we should work together again. So after looking at Nikki Ratjen’s and Edvard Lammervo’s showreels I just dropped them an email, and we had a coffee in Oranienstraße.
The idea of doing a web series is attractive because you get to tell the stories you want to tell, showcase your work and get to have a lot of artistic freedom. Urs Kind jumped on board because he just loved the idea of working for the web. Using lean production structures and finding new content for the over-saturated web is also a huge challenge that he embraced. One of our Editors, Jannis Greff, who did the biggest share of Episodes came on board very early as well. I am just pointing that out because many people assume editing is something to keep in the back of your head for after the shoot. And Johannes Greisle our DoP was quite spontaneous and enthusiastic when I talked about it over a cup of coffee.
I think in almost every step you could throw in the word coffee, and it will fit in
Are you an actor yourself?
Although I have appeared in some cameo moments, I focus on directing. Nicole had me preform in one of her own projects. But I haven’t seen a rough cut so I can’t even say how I feel about being in front of the camera..
How long does it take to produce one episode of the Das Apartment?
So the time span is a very relative thing. If we include the initial impulse and the idea I had in December 2014 to the last upload which will be January 2016. It is a little bit over a year for the series first season. I need to point out that Urs found out about the YourTurn Competition for which we shot the first Episode in March. And that’s how we got to fund our first season. By winning the first prize and 25000€ in May 2015. Yeah when I put it out there, that sum of money feels like a big chunk. However if you want to achieve a minimum of quality that chunk shrinks down extremely fast. So we shot 5 episodes with that amount and we have an extra experimental feature with 360º technology that we shot at the Youtube Space.
For a Normal 7minute episode and depending if we have a location change we shoot for about two days. Edit it in roughly 4-5 days. And the sound editing and grading take 2 more days. Again these are just rough estimates. Sometimes in the writing process you write for two days and discard the whole episode. So the time spent in development isn’t as easy to track. It is hard to say whether an idea occurred whilst cycling through the city or the moment you sit at your desk.
How does Germany fit into the success of Das Apartment?
Germany, Berlin and the German language are a huge factor for Das Apartment. Even if the series is predominantly in English, that is a big side of Berlin nowadays. A couple of years ago the English speaking scene was tiny. You would go to Comedy in Sin open mic nights and know quite a few people over there. Now it has exploded. And that is great. You see, a lot of what we do is dwell in a hybrid culture. People bring something from their corner of the earth and get to confront it with the Berliner Expat lifestyle like Chris and his Urban Gardening. He meets other people, other expats like him for the same purpose, but they have almost opposite points of view on their common goal. And Das Apartment is a lot about that. Seeing how people fit in, how they want to or don’t even care about their integration. Lenni, for example, is a result of the freedom that people feel in Berlin. And whether that freedom is still real or if it is already something digested from the past doesn’t matter. I sometimes wonder how das Apartment comes across to people who haven’t been to Kreuzberg, Mitte, Neukölln and Wedding in the last years. I think that Rachel as a character is the one who is not as attached to the city as the other two. Also because she is driven by her professional ambitions, and yes that is what is also happening to this city. It has become a ground for investments, mostly start-ups, but not only.
What does 2016 look like for you Reinaldo and for Das Apartment?
We are coming out with a new Episode in January. So we are definitely going to be more attractive for those binge watchers out there. Apart form that we need to find new ways of financing the new season. Urs and I are sitting on that with some urgency. Apart from that I am working on a documentary about South-Asian identities. And also on a film which is very much the opposite of Das Apartment, namely a drama about loss.
It has been a great year, with an amazing team and I am quite happy to start a fresh one.
Filmography as a Director
Das Apartment – Writer/Director Co-Producer, 7 Episodes 2015 Yourturn Prize (1st)
Erosion – Director – Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF 2014
Sushila By The Sea – Director, HFF-Potsdam 2014 Dok.fest Munich 2015 (Megaherz Nominee)
The Promise – Direction and Production- Barcelona Human Rights Festival 2012