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The Berlin International Film Festival is restructuring

Aug 17, 2023
  • Source by Cine21
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As the Berlinale's expenditures rise, sections and screenings are curtailed




The Berlin International Film Festival is being restructured, its co-executive directors Carlo Chatrian and Mariëtte Rissenbeek announced on July 11 through the Berlin Film Festival's official website. Despite the fact that the budget has not shrunk, inflation forced a reduction in the event's scope. According to them, reorganization was unavoidable for a viable film festival.


They will first remove two sections, “Perspektive Deutches Kino”, which introduced young German filmmakers, and “Berlinale Series”, which introduced the audience to high-quality TV series. The number of films shown will also be cut by one-third, from 287 this year to 200 the next year.


In comparison to the Cannes and Venice International Film Festivals, Berlin could take satisfaction in having a festival that attracted a sizable audience. It had the biggest number of audiences ever recorded, over 500,000, during the tenure of executive director Dieter Kosslick, owing to the screening of more than 400 films. It sold 320,000 seats in 2023 alone, approaching pre-COVID-19 epidemic levels of ticket sales. What is the underlying reason of this reorganization? To begin, we might point to the overall increase in costs in the film business. Second, the German Minister of Culture has warned that "financial support for the Berlin Film Festival comparable to last year will be difficult in the future." As a result, it is critical for the film festival to preserve its fundamental image while effectively responding to growing costs and dwindling sponsors. Meanwhile, the present co-executive directors of the Berlin Film Festival's contracts expire in 2024, and Mariëtte Rissenbeek already indicated in March that she would not renew it. It remains to be seen if this position will be filled or if they'll switch back to a single director governance.


The German media's reactions to the reorganization of the Berlin Film Festival are mostly negative, while some believe that every crisis is an opportunity. The German daily newspaper Tageszeitung voiced worry by quoting a Berlinale official who stated that the co-executive directors had no plan or ambition. The renowned daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, on the other hand, regarded it as a chance to raise the prestige of the film festival. It is because they believe that showing over 400 films in the late years of executive director Dieter Kosslick diminished the overall quality of the film festival and generated more problems than gains.



By Han Ju-yeon, correspondant in Berlin 

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