Production platform for the development and realisation of creative works in the fields of film, video, text and music.
pong stands for the production of creative film projects on the border to the arts – films in which the filmmakers’ aesthetic and / or political positions are formed and expressed.
The production platform was founded by authors / filmmakers / producers Merle Kröger and Philip Scheffner in 2001. Both had gathered film production experience through the video collective dogfilm (1992 - 2000).
In 2014 pong was joined by authors / filmmakers / producers Caroline Kirberg and Alex Gerbaulet who became shareholders and CEOs in January 2022. Author / filmmaker Mareike Bernien supports the team since 2018.
Apart from producing films by our own team members we focus on newcomer projects and international coproductions, aiming to expand pong as a platform for moving images as well as sound, music and text.
Alex Gerbaulet had already been working as a trained artist in film and teaching for several years when she joined pong in 2014, where she also learnt how to produce. Her artistic works oscillate between documentary style, essay, activist impulses and fictionalised reflection. Among other topics, they examine the representability of reality and memory. Her films, some of which have won several awards, include SHIFT (2015), THE SLEEPER (2018), as well as DEPTH OF FIELD (2017) and SUN UNDER GROUND (2022), both together with Mareike Bernien. 2020-21 she was a fellow in the Berlin funding programme Artistic Research/gkfd. Since 2006, she has repeatedly worked for film festivals such as the Kassel DOKfest, the European Media Art Festival Osnabrück, the Duisburger Filmwoche or the Diagonale in Graz and has many years of experience in practice-related and film-theoretical teaching in Germany and abroad, including at the Braunschweig University of Art and Design, the Kunsthochschule Kassel, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. Since 2023, she has been supervising newcomer film projects as a mentor of the Professional Media Master Class in Halle.
In the pong team, she works as managing director and lead producer focussing on documentary films, project development and dramaturgy.
Merle Kröger works and teaches as a dramaturge, screenwriter and novelist. She has published numerous award-winning novels with Argument Verlag. Her most recent multi-award-winning novel THE EXPERTS was published by Suhrkamp Verlag. In her novels, Kröger combines historical research, personal history and political analysis with elements of crime fiction. She is also the co-author of Philip Scheffner's films. Most recently, she designed and published the online archive THE FIFTH WALL together with Mareike Bernien.
In the pong team, Kröger currently works primarily as a dramaturge and producer.
Philip Scheffner has been working as a visual artist since 1985. His feature-length artistic documentaries THE HALFMOON FILES (2007), THE DAY OF THE SPARROW (2010), REVISION (2012) and HAVARIE (2016) have been screened worldwide and honoured with numerous awards. Scheffner's first fiction feature EUROPE premiered at the Berlinale in 2022. Since 2021 he holds the professorship for Documentary Practices at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.
In the pong team, Scheffner works with a special focus on editing and project development.
Mareike Bernien works as a filmmaker and teacher in the field of film research and critical archival practices. With a media archaeological approach, her artistic works question ideological certainties of representation, their material-technological preconditions and historical continuities. Her award-winning films include: DEPTH OF FIELD (2017) and SUN UNDER GROUND (2022), both together with Alex Gerbaulet.
She supports the pong team in particular as a dramaturge.