(Special to the USTimes, by the Berlin Film Festival Office, 2021-03-12)
“The Berlinale Celebrates a Successful First Stage, Looks Forward to the Summer Special With Berlin Audiences, and Sets the Date for the 2022 Festival“
Happy winners, good sales at the film market, interesting panel discussions and ample film coverage by the press – the Industry Event of the 71st Berlinale exceeded expectations. Due to pandemic restrictions, the first part of the festival took place online from March 1 to 5 and was aimed primarily at the film trade and the press. Only Berlinale Talents and the World Cinema Fundoffered online events for the public.
The Berlinale now invites the public to attend the Summer Special from June 9 to 20, where the 2021 programme will be shown and the awards publicly presented. The Summer Special will take place in Berlin cinemas and open air venues. Film team guests, award winners and jury members will travel to Berlin to engage in conversation with local Berlin audiences.
“We’re very pleased that our wish to support the films and their creators with the new and unique format during this difficult time came true”, says Mariette Rissenbeek, Executive Director of the Berlinale. “The online screenings of the festival films were very well received by the industry and the press. The films got wide media visibility and invitations to attend other festivals. In addition, the market registered good sales, ensuring the path of the films to the public. However, we are still missing the collective experience of going to the cinema, and we’re really looking forward to making up for it at the Summer Special.”
“It was wonderful to see how positively this year’s film selection was received,” adds Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian. “We are proud of our line-up and happy that the films resonated so well among professionals and press. We are grateful to all artists and film companies who have taken part in the Industry Event and we want to thank everyone for their commitment to the event. Even though we hope this edition will stay unique, the great positive energy we felt, even online, encouraged us for the following steps to come.”
In addition to the online screenings, the Industry Event comprised the activities of the European Film Market, the Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and the World Cinema Fund. The last two also offered online programmes accessible to the public.
For five days, the talent development programme Berlinale Talents became home to the 205 invited talents from 65 countries across 17 time zones. Physically distant, but socially closely connected to the public audience, guests such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Céline Sciamma, Uli Hanisch and Ava DuVernay were impressed by the exchange in the “sDream”, which was passionate, personal and characterised by openness: “Follow your gut, because your instinct is political”, said Sciamma in her celebrated closing speech to an audience of more than 18,210 viewers. Inspired by ideas for change in collective future workshops, and feeling strengthened, Berlinale Talents and its participants now enter the next phase – as the festival’s laboratory for future cinema, which will also now be making itself heard throughout the year with the new podcast series “Berlinale’s House of Talents”.
“Decolonising Cinema” was the central theme of the World Cinema Fund (WCF) on WCF Day 2021. The WCF Day put the spotlight on, among other topics, impressive Latin American and African WCFprojects, and on programmes concerned with colonialism and its long-term effects. This led to in-depth conversations focusing on the many aspects of the necessary decolonisation of cinema, with cultural-political, artistic, anthropological and of course economic questions being raised. “I think it was Ousmane Sembène who said, thinking about decolonising changes everything […] not only the narrative […] because everything in our life is colonised […]” said Davi Pretto, director from Brazil; and Amalia Cordova (curator, film theorist, Chile/USA) added “’Decolonising Cinema’ means deconstructing our own film archives […], it means to be open to new knowledge, new nomenclatures, new temporalities.”
The event is still available online.
The WCF also reports that its first Berlinale stage was a success: Four WCF funded films were screened in various sections, including Vị (Taste) by Vietnamese director Lê Bảo, which received the Special Jury Award in Encounters.
With an extensive video offering, including various interviews with the filmmakers, the festival provided additional insights into the 2021 film selection on berlinale.de and its social media channels.
Look Ahead at 2022
Next year, the Berlinale will traditionally hold the festival in February again together with the European Film Market, the Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and the World Cinema Fund. The 72nd Berlin International Film Festival will take place from February 10 to 20, 2022.