Berlinale Palace, the main venue at Potsdamer Platz
|Awards||Golden Bear, Silver Bear|
|No. of films||441 (945 screenings) in 2014|
The Berlin International Film Festival (German: Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), also called the Berlinale, is a film festival held annually in Berlin, Germany. Founded in West Berlin in 1951, the festival has been held every February since 1978.
With around 300,000 tickets sold and 500,000 admissions each year, it has the largest public attendance of any annual film festival. Up to 400 films are shown in several sections across cinematic genres. Around twenty films compete for the festival's top awards, called the Golden Bear and several Silver Bears. Since 2001 the director of the festival has been Dieter Kosslick.
The European Film Market (EFM), a film trade fair held simultaneously to the Berlinale, is a major industry meeting for the international film circuit. The trade fair serves distributors, film buyers, producers, financiers and co-production agents. The Berlinale Talents, a week-long series of lectures and workshops, is a gathering of young film-makers held in partnership with the festival.
The film festival, EFM, and other satellite events are attended by around 20,000 professionals from over 130 countries. More than 4200 journalists produce media coverage in over 110 countries. At some high-profile feature film premieres held during the festival, movie stars and celebrities are present on the red carpet.
The Berlin International Film Festival was founded in West Berlin in 1951, with film historian Dr. Alfred Bauer as its first director, a position he would hold until 1976. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca opened the first festival which ran from June 6-17th.
Bauer was succeeded by film journalist Wolf Donner in 1976. After his first Berlinale in June 1977, he successfully negotiated the shift of the festival from the summer to February (February 22nd - March 5th 1978), a change which has remained ever since.
The festival is composed of seven different film sections. Films are chosen in each category by a section director with the advice of a committee of film experts. Categories include:
Competition: comprises feature-length films yet to be released outside their country of origin. Films in the Competition section compete for several prizes, including the top Golden Bear for the best film and a series of Silver Bears for acting, writing and production.
Panorama: comprises new independent and arthouse films that deal with "controversial subjects or unconventional aesthetic styles". Films in the category are intended to provoke discussion, and have historically involved themes such as LGBT issues.
Forum: comprises experimental and documentary films from around the world with a particular emphasis on screening works by younger filmmakers. There are no format or genre restrictions, and films in the Forum do not compete for awards.
Generation: comprises a mixture of short and feature-length films aimed at children and youths. Films in the Generation section compete in two sub-categories: Generation Kplus (aimed at those aged four and above) and Generation 14plus (aimed at those aged fourteen and above). Awards in the section are determined by three separate juries—the Children's Jury, the Youth Jury and an international jury of experts—whose decisions are made independent of one another.
Perspektive Deutsches Kino: comprises a wide variety of German films, with an emphasis on highlighting current trends in German cinema. There are few entry requirements, enabling emerging filmmakers to display their work to domestic and international audiences.
Berlinale Shorts: comprises domestic and international short films, especially those that demonstrate innovative approaches to filmmaking. Films in the category compete for the Golden Bear for the best short film, as well as a jury-nominated Silver Bear.
Retrospective: comprises classic films previously shown at the Berlinale, with films collated from the Competition, Forum, Panorama and Generation categories. Each year, the Retrospective section is dedicated to important themes or filmmakers. The special Homage series similarly examines past cinema, with a focus on honouring the life work of directors and actors.
In addition to the seven sections, the Berlinale also contains several linked "curated special series", including the Berlinale Special, Gala Special, Forum 5, Culinary Cinema and the Homage. Since 2002 a 50-second trailer opens the performances in all sections of the festival with the exception of the Retrospective.
The Golden Bear (German: Goldener Bär) is the highest prize awarded for the best film at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Golden Bear (Goldener Bär)
Silver Bear (Silberner Bär)
The Silver Bear was introduced in 1956 as an award for individual achievements in direction and acting, and for best short film.
In 1965 a special film award for the runner-up to the Golden Bear was introduced. Although its official name was the Special Jury Price from 1965 to 1999, and has been the Jury Grand Prix since 2000, it is commonly known as the Silver Bear (just like the awards for individual achievements) as it is regarded as a second place award after the Golden Bear.
In 1978, a Silver Bear for special recognitions was introduced, in 2002 a Silver Bear for best film music, and in 2008 an award for best screenplay.
Other awards at the Berlin International Film Festival
The European Film Market (EFM) is one of three largest movie markets in the world. It is the business centre during the time of the Berlinale Film Festival. The EFM is the major venue for film producers, buyers, financiers, sales agents, and distributors. It is a professional trade event, so is open to registered industry insiders. In 2011, 400 companies registered and 6,982 market badges were issued; 1,532 buyers have registered.
The trade fair provides exhibition space for companies presenting their current line-up. It organizes over 1000 screenings of new films, which take place at movie theatres around Potsdamer Platz. In 2007, the CinemaxX and CineStar were used to showcase new productions. In 2010, the Astor Film Lounge showed market screenings in three dimensions using digital RealD technology.
The Berlinale Co-Production Market is a three-day networking platform for producers and financiers, as well as broadcasting and funding representatives who are participating in international co-productions. At the Berlinale Co-Production Market, producers can introduce selected projects and find co-production partners and/or financiers in one-on-one meetings.
Commencing in 2003, the Berlinale has partnered with the Berlinale Talents (previously Berlinale Talent Campus), which is a winter school for "up-and-coming filmmakers" that takes place at the same time as the festival. The Talent Campus accepts about 250 applicants each year; the attendees come from around the world, and represent all of the filmmaking professions.
The event runs six days during the Berlinale and features lectures and panel discussions with well-known professionals addressing issues in filmmaking. Workshops, excursions, personal tutoring, coaching, and training of participants from different fields of work are part of the programme.
The proceedings include presentations by distinguished experts, who have included Park Chan-wook, Frances McDormand, Stephen Frears, Dennis Hopper, Jia Zhangke, Walter Murch, Shah Rukh Khan, Joshua Oppenheimer, Anthony Minghella, Charlotte Rampling, Walter Salles, Ridley Scott, Raoul Peck, Tom Tykwer, Mike Leigh, Tilda Swinton, and Wim Wenders. Many of these presentations and lectures are archived, both as video recordings and as transcripts, on the Talent Campus' website.
Christopher Lee at Berlinale in 2013
Jeremy Irons at Berlinale in 2013
Potsdamer Platz houses two large multiplex cinemas
Cubix Kino at Alexanderplatz
Sophia Myles at Berlinale in 2007
Roland Emmerich, 2005 Jury President
Clint Eastwood at Berlinale in 2007
Werner Herzog, 2010 Jury President
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