The secret avant-garde of the GDR stars

Director Martin Miotk accompanies culture journalist Marion Christen on her search for traces of the true origin of avant-garde music. Her discovery: six eastern German artists (Dagmar Gelbke, Giso Weissbach, Barbara Lauritzen, Gabriele Thöns, Sabine Deskouw und Desireé Mansky Kalauke) not only produced the most important innovations of New Music but they also still indulge the passion of experimental music within a subversive cultural underground in retirement homes and cultural centers. The sprightly pensioners officially always pretend to be Schlager- and entertainment stars. They disguise their today’s performances as nostalgic shows and tea dances since they already had to hide their avant-gardist artistic work in the GDR. These pioneers of the radical modern age now push into the public at large to finally present their “Ostravaganza”. In GDR times these artists were part of societal identity and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, they were, like their “buried avant-garde art”, the material of a forgotten past. The movie “Ostravaganza” reveals their remarkable GDR-biographies and presents their spectacular previously undiscovered work which is revived by themselves and musicians of Opera Lab Berlin. The movie is released on the 30th anniversary of the German reunification (and the 71xsanniversary of the GDR founding). By means of New Music, the movie is dedicated to Avant-Garde and entertainment in the GDR as well as the tragicomical gap between the official interpretation of the past and forgotten, individual stories. Including coming-outs, nervous breakdowns, confession orgies as well as emotional minefields…

Concept: Martin Miotk and Jennifer Walshe
Director, Production Design: Martin Miotk
Costume Design: Andy Besuch
Original Sountrack: Jennifer Walshe and Giovanni Zaniol
Musical Direction: Nina Guo
Stage Design: Christina Lelli
Camera: Andrea Bonetti, Evan Gardner
Sound: Giovanni Zaniol, Felix von Dohlen
Production Assistence: Marta Blazanovic-Drefers
Artistic Direction: Evan Gardner

WITH: Marion Christen, Dagmar Gelbke, Giso Weißbach, Desirée Mansky-Kalauke, Sabine Desskouw, Dr. Gabi Thöns, Barbara Lauritzen and Alba Gentili-Tedeschi (Piano), David Eggert (Cello), Jack Adler-McKean (Serpent), Jone Bolibar Núñez (Clarinet), Pedro Pablo Cámara (Saxophone), Shin-Joo Morgantini (Flute), Nina Guo (Soprano), Matthias Koole (Guitar), Francesca Verga (Music Transcription)

OSTRAVAGANZA is funded by initiative neue musik e.V.