Due to the current COVID-19 situation, the 71st Berlin International Film Festival has developed a new festival format for 2021 and is pleased to be able to hold the festival for the industry and the public. The industry platforms European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and the World Cinema Fund will kick off the 71st Berlinale in March with an online offer. In June, there will be a summer event with numerous film screenings for the public audiences – in cinemas as well as open air. The division allows to maintain the two supporting pillars: film market and festival.
“There is a great desire to meet face-to-face. The current situation does not allow a physical festival in February, at the same time it is important to offer the film industry a market within the first quarter of the year,” says Berlinale Executive Director Mariette Rissenbeek. “With the change in the festival format in 2021, we will have the chance to protect the health of all guests and to support the restart of the cinema industry. With the summer event, we want to celebrate a festival for the cinema and offer the Berlinale audience the long-awaited community experience of cinema and culture.”
The current process of selecting films for the Competition and the sections will be continued. The programme will be published in February and presented to the film industry at the virtual European Film Market (EFM) in March. An International Jury will watch the films in Berlin and will choose the prize winners. The winners and a selection of the films will be presented to the Berlin audience in the summer. To start off the summer event, the Berlinale is planning a festive opening.
“As an answer to the times in which we are living, we have decided to split our offer into two distinct, yet related events and in this way fulfil the mission of the Berlinale. While in March the film industry will be gathered (online) and will be able to support and give light to our selection, in summer – like a new start, 70 years after the first edition – our audiences will be able to celebrate the filmmakers and their teams, in theatres and under the open sky. This gives the opportunity to experience the different sections and profiles of the festival, to watch the films of the international Competition and to celebrate with the winners of the Golden and Silver Bears in a cheerful atmosphere,” says Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian.
The European Film Market (EFM) will now take place online from March 1 to 5. The Berlinale Co-Production Market is similarly relocating its activities from March 1 to 5 online. Berlinale Talents also welcomes its participants virtually to Berlin in this timeframe and, like the World Cinema Fund, it addresses the international specialist audience with digital programmes. More information on the offers and programme content for the industry will be communicated in the upcoming weeks.
Regarding the budget, the Berlinale is currently in talks with the partners as well as with the Minister of State for Culture and the Media (BKM). The BKM has already confirmed extra support for the Berlinale with funds from the special programme NEUSTART KULTUR (additional funding initiative in the field of culture and media).
Overall, the Berlinale would like to emphasise once again that the health and the well-being of all guests and employees come first in all aspects of the planning.