Master Classes with Uli Gaulke

This is an exciting time for short docs! With abundant choices and viewing possibilities, good storytelling skills have never been more important.  For this year’s second Master Class with Documentarian, we join hands with Goethe Institute to bring you Master Class with award-winning German documentarian Uli Gaulke. Director Uli Gaulke will give a workshop on Story Development for a Short Creative Documentary and attend three screenings with Q&A from 4 October to 10 November 2018 at The University of Hong Kong (HKU).


Uli Gaulke is one of Germany’s most passionate and independent documentary filmmakers. He began his career after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Alongside film studying, he worked as a projectionist and founded his own cinema BALASZ. He directed HAVANNA, MI AMOR as his graduation film, winning the German Film Award “LOLA” as Best Documentary in 2001. His COMRADES IN DREAMS was nominated for Grand Jury Prize of Sundance in 2007.

Uli has taught in master classes in Bolivia, India, Russia, Germany, North Korea and Vietnam. Since 2006, he has been a member of the German Film Academy. In October 2018, he will be in Hong Kong for the artist-in-residency programme.

Uli Gaulke was born in Schwerin in 1968, spending his childhood and adolescence in East Germany where Soviet Communism prevailed. During the grey school days, he had chances to expose himself to different ways of thinking as his mother often took him to the theatre to enjoy controversial productions. He also played the trumpet for his school and the party but gave it up due to the tiredness of the propaganda. In 1987, he was assigned to be an army projectionist for National People’s Army. The experience was horrible yet he discovered films during the national services.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall gave him the freedom to do whatever he wanted. In 1989, he moved to Berlin and received higher education on Physics, Theatre Science and Film Directing. At the same time, he continued to work as a projectionist in order to make a living. It was the nurture in the cinemas provided all the important lessons about film to him – watching films and studying audiences. He came to understand the actions and juxtapositions that moved viewers, the scenes that brought them to laughter or tears. Even now, he thinks of the viewers when he is lining up a shot or cutting a scene.

Uli’s passion for films may have come late but it came from the heart with real intensity. As he said, he became a documentary filmmaker because of his interest in people and the love of the “real” moment. His works not only embody the collision of socialism and capitalism but also cross cultural lines by understanding individuals: a journey into Uli’s own past in socialist years, HAVANNA, MI AMOR (2000), a tribute to projectionists in remote corners of the world, COMRADES IN DREAMS (2007), fascinating life stories of six musicians from the oldest jazz band, AS TIME GOES BY IN SHANGHAI (2013).

Workshop on Story Development for A Short Documentary

  • Day 1
    Saturday 6 Oct  9:30 – 4:30pm
    How to turn an idea into a film
  • Day 2
    Saturday 27 Oct  9:30 – 4:30pm
    How to create a powerful pitch
  • Day 3
    Saturday 10 Nov  9:30 – 4:30pm
    It’s all about VISUAL!

Participants are recommended to attend the screening of AS TIME GOES BY IN SHANGHAI and Q&A with Uli Gaulke on Thursday 4 October, 7-9:30pm at Studio Room 303, Chong Yuet Ming Cultural Centre, HKU

20 participants

Eliot Hall, HKU

Conducted in English

Download Lesson Plan


  • Film students or graduates who are passionate to tell real stories
  • Filmmakers who would like to start a documentary project for the first time
  • Filmmakers who are getting ready for a best pitch of a documentary project


  • Refundable for full-time students or participants with a monthly salary lower than HK$15,000.
  • Salary proof and valid full-time student identification have to be submitted together with application.
  • If financial assistance is approved, full refunds will be given after attending three days of workshop.


  • Interested applicants should submit the online application with up to 3 of your best work as portfolio.
  • Applicants might be interviewed by phone.
Apply Here

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday 24 September 2018


Please contact Catherine Chan at

Screenings at HKU


Thursday 4 Oct | 7:00pm
Venue: Studio Room 303, Chong Yuet Ming Cultural Centre, HKU (Near Exit A2 of HKU Station)
English and Mandarin with English subtitles

Uli Gaulke | Germany | 2013 | 90mins
“The oldest jazz band in the world” states the Guinness Book of Records, and they still play at a Shanghai’s popular Peace Hotel every week. Jazz and their dedication to it have endured as the world around them has continuously transformed, from the Japanese occupation through the Cultural Revolution to today’s turbo-charged capitalist society.

☞ Free Admission


Thursday 25 Oct | 7:00pm
Venue: CPD-LG.18, Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre, LG/F Centennial Campus, HKU (Near Exit C1 of HKU Station)
Spanish with English subtitles

Uli Gaulke | Germany | 2000 | 82mins
Every evening the inhabitants of Havana gather in front of their TV’s to submerge themselves in the world of Televisions. These days it seems as though the ancient Soviet television sets can no longer fulfil their wish to escape reality. HAVANA, MI AMOR tells of their struggle in those images, and the relationship between their everyday lives and the endless soap opera episodes. An homage to love, old television sets, and to one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

☞ Free Admission


Friday 2 Nov | 7:00pm
Venue: Studio Room 303, Chong Yuet Ming Cultural Centre, HKU (Near Exit A2 of HKU Station)
Maharati, French, English, Korean with English subtitles

Uli Gaulke | Germany | 2007 | 100mins
Four lives that could not be more different and a single passion that unities them: the unconditional love for their cinemas, somewhere at the end of the world. COMRADES IN DREAMS brings together six cinema makers from North Korea, America, India and Africa and follows their efforts to make their audiences dream every night. In doing so, the film dives into a set of fascinating lives where stories from the everyday and from the silver screen frequently merge into something magical.

☞ Free Admission