Company Profile (04 / 2015)

pong was founded as a GbR in 2001 and re-branded into a GmbH in 2013 by the Berlin filmmakers and producers Merle Kröger and Philip Scheffner.

Both had gathered film production experience during 9 years of participation in the video group dogfilm. From 1991 to 2000 dogfilm produced numerous short films, two theme nights (ZDF/arte), two feature length documentaries (ZDF/Das Kleine Fernsehspiel) as well as essays and video art for arte, 3Sat, Kanal 4, a.o.

pong stands for the production of creative documentaries on the border to the arts – films in which the filmmakers’ aesthetic and / or political positions are formed and expressed. From 2001 on, pong has been producing documentary films and videos supported by different cultural institutions such as Freie Volksbühne Berlin, Francke Foundation Halle, Federal Cultural Foundation of Germany, Cultural Capital Funds Berlin.

Although focussing on film, pong is also a platform for text, sound and everything that exists in-between. Depending on the projects we are working on, pong appears as record label, film production or publishing house.

Merle Kröger has expertise not only as producer but also as scriptwriter and novelist. She is producer and co-author the award-winning documentary films by Philip Scheffner and Dorothee Wenner. Furthermore, she has written numerous screenplays (e.g. with Indian filmmaker Onir) and has published three novels in the prestigious series of ariadne / argument publisher since 2003. A fourth novel will be released in May 2015. Since 2007 she works for the Berlinale Talent Campus (DOK and Script Station). Since 2011 she is co-director, mentor and lecturer for script development at the Professional Media Master Class for Documentary Film in Halle (Saale), Germany, which is funded by MDM and ESF.

Philip Scheffner has been working as a visual artist since 1985. His feature length creative documentaries The Halfmoon FilesDay of the Sparrow and Revision won numerous awards and were positively perceived and acknowledged by international critics. Furthermore, he composes and produces electronic music. As part of pong he also produces films, his focus being, among other things, the editing.

In 2014 pong has expanded by taking the promising filmmakers and producers Caroline Kirberg and Alex Gerbaulet on board. After having produced for classical fiction and documentary film companies, Caroline Kirberg specialized in the production of interdisciplinary and innovatively conceived films on the border to the arts. Alex Gerbaulet has a record of many years of practice-based and film-theoretical teaching at different German art schools and has worked as a curator for film festivals. Both have found an ideal new platform in pong, which they are happy to co-shape from now on.

Building up on our various backgrounds, networks and experiences, we want to expand pong as a platform for moving images in documentary as well as fictional forms, sounds, music and text in this new constellation. We especially aim to focus on up-coming artists and filmmakers as well as international co-productions.

Currently pong has three new projects in development: KINSHASA collection by Dorothee Wenner (web documentary), Mutwillig, Shayne by Stephan Geene (hybrid between documentary and fiction) and Stolen Images by Marcelo Martinessi from Paraguay (hybrid between documentary and fiction).

In Production

THE JOURNEY (WT) a new feature documentary by Philip Scheffner:
Co-produced by Blinker Film, worklights media and ZDF/arte
Funded by German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Federal Film Board of Germany, Regional Funding Boards of Hamburg, Berlin-Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Central Germany, Development funded by Robert-Bosch-Foundation
Cinema Release Germany: Real Fiction

Documentary film by Philip Scheffner & Colorado Velcu
Co-produced by RBB/Arte

Documentary film by Khaled Abdulwahed
Produced by KAF Films Beirut, in co-production with pong film
Funded by Screen Institute Beirut, Arabic Fund for Arts & Culture

Documentary short film by Caroline Kirberg
Funded by BKM, research funded by Kreis Lippe and Stadt Bad Salzuflen

In Postproduction

Documentary film by Philip Widmann & Nguyen Dan-Phuong
Co-produced by ZDF/arte
Funded by Filmfund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg

In Release

Documentary short film by Alex Gerbaulet
Production funded by nordmedia, Hessische Filmförderung, development funded by The Governing Mayor of Berlin / program for women artists, Berlinale Talents DOC Station 2011
World Premiere: International Short Film Festival Oberhausen / German Competition, May 2015
Website: http://schicht.pong-berlin.de/de

Track Record

Documentary film by Dorothee Wenner
Co-produced by Goethe-Institute Nigeria and ZDF/arte
Funded by Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg
World Premiere: FESPACO 2013
Cinema Release Germany: EYZ media
DVD available: http://www.goethe.de/mmo/priv/13349144-STANDARD.pdf
Website: http://dramaconsult.com/de  

Novel by Merle Kröger
Based on the research for the film REVISION, the novel „Grenzfall“ by Merle Kröger was awarded with the German Crime Novel Award 2013.
Website: http://merlekroeger.de/de/5/books/grenzfall 

Track Record - continued

Documentary film by Philip Scheffner
Co-produced by Blinker Film, worklights media and ZDF/arte
Funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Filmstiftung NRW, DFFF, Development funded by FFA, DEFA Stiftung
World Premiere: Berlin International Film Festival 2012 / Forum of Young Cinema
International Premiere: HotDocs Toronto 2012
Cinema Release Germany: Real Fiction
World Sales: Deckert Distribution
Awards: Bild-Kunst Award for Editing, Award of Excellence Yamagata Film Festival, Fritz-Gerlich Award Film Fest Munich, Documentary Award GoEast Film Festival, shortlisted for the German Film Award LOLA 2013.
DVD available: http://www.realfictionfilme.de/shop/index.php 
Website: http://revision-film.eu/de 

Documentary film by Philip Scheffner
Co-produced by Blinker Film, worklights media and ZDF/arte
Funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Filmstiftung NRW, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, DFFF, Development funded by FFA, Werkleitz (supported artist)
World Premiere: Berlin International Film Festival 2010 / Forum of Young Cinema
International Premiere: FID Marseille 2010
Cinema Release Germany: Arsenal distribution
Awards: Klaus-Wildenhahn-Award of the Hamburg Documentary Week 2010, City of Ludwigsburg Award at the German Documentary Awards 2011
DVD available: http://www.filmgalerie451.de/filme/halfmoon-files/ 
Website: http://dertagdesspatzen.de/de 

Documentary film by Dorothee Wenner
Produced in affiliation with ZDF/ arte
International Premiere: Toronto International Film Festival / Real to Reel 2008 
World Sales: First Hand Films
DVD available: https://absolutmedien.de/ 
Website: http://peace-mission.pong-berlin.de/de 

Documentary film by Philip Scheffner
Research funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin, supported by Werkleitz
In cooperation with Lautarchiv der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and Stiftung Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv
World Premiere: Berlin International Film Festival 2007 / Forum of Young Cinema
Cinema Release Germany: Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek e.V.
Awards: Documentary Film Award by Goethe Institute, Förderpreis der Stadt Duisburg Film Festival Duisburg, Best Documentary Award Film Festival Mar del Plata, Prix des Mediathèques FID Marseille, Award for best Documentation & Research Memorimage Festival
DVD available: http://www.filmgalerie451.de/filme/halfmoon-files/ 
Website: http://halfmoonfiles.de/de 


- Shortlisted for LOLA 2013 „Best Documentary“
- Nominated for FIPRESCI Award „Best German Documentary“ 2013
- Award of Excellence, Yamagata International Film Festival 2013
- German Crime Novel Award (National) 2013
- Bild-Kunst-Schnitt Preis 2013 (National award for the best Editor)
- Stuttgart Crime Novel Award 2013
- Fritz-Gerlich-Award, Filmfest München 2012
- Best Documentary, GoEast Film Festival 2012
- German Documentary Film Award 2011/ City of Ludwigsburg Award
- Klaus-Wildenhahn-Award, Dokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg 2010
- Best Documentary, Int. Independent Filmfestival of Mar del Plata 2007
- Prix des Médiathèques des Festival International du Documentaire Marseille 2007
- Goethe-Institute Documentary Award 2007
- City of Duisburg Award, Duisburger Filmwoche 2007
- International Video Art Award for innovative video art, ZKM Karlsruhe 1995

Festivals & Screenings (selection since 2000)

- Berlin International Film Festival (Forum) 2007, 2010, 2012
- FID Marseille 2007, 2010
- HotDocs Toronto 2012
- CPH: Dox Copenhagen 2012
- Jeonju International Film Festival 2006, 2013
- Durban International Film Festival 2013
- Yamagata International Film Festival 2013
- Pusan International Film Festival PIFF, Korea, 2005, 2008
- Abuja International Film Festival, Nigeria, 2005
- Calcutta International Film Festival, India, 2005
- Brisbane International Film Festival, Australia, 2006'
- Osian Film Festival, Delhi 2007
- DocBsAs, Argentina 2007, 2012
- Int. Independent Film Festival of Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires 2007, 2011
- Sao Paulo International Film Festival, 2007, 2008
- doclisboa, Lisbon 2007, 2012
- Duisburger Filmwoche 2007, 2010, 2012
- Int. Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2007
- Int. Film Festival Toronto 2008
- Int. Film Festival Stockholm 2008
- Int. Film Festival Valladolid 2008
- Dubai International Film Festival 2008
- Hong Kong International Film Festival 2009
- Dokfest München 2012
- TIFF Cluj 2012
- Museum of the Moving Image New York 2012