The 70th annual Berlinale, also known as the Berlin Film Festival kicks off today in Berlin, Germany. The glittering star-studded winter film festival follows Sundance as the next major film festival in the winter season. Berlinale brings together the brightest stars from all across Europe including several stars of films that premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival; such as Josephine Decker’s Shirley starring Elisabeth Moss, and the Hillary Clinton documentary Hillary by award winning director Nanette Burstein. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to attend Berlinale.
Berlinale also runs concurrently with the world’s major film market, the European Film Market (EFM). Many Sundance films and the film’s sales teams arrive in Berlin as a natural destination after Sundance to share their film’s with international distributors in hopes of securing further distribution deals beyond the U.S.
Throughout it’s 70 years, Berlinale has built a reputation as the leading film festival for filmmakers and talent of European arthouse cinema and arguably the first major film festival to genuinely welcome and acknowledge the incredible talent of cinema from the East (Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s Red Sorghum won the Golden Bear in 1988). And this year, Berlinale welcomes in a new era of leadership with Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek taking the helm, acting as co-directors, equal in status.
Mariette Rissenbeek will act as Executive Director of Berlinale, taking control of the business side of the festival. She makes history as the first woman leader of the Berlin Film Festival. This means there is currently a woman leader at the head of both Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale. Filmmaker Tabitha Jackson was tapped to take over long time Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper’s place starting in 2021.
As the incoming Artistic Director of Berlinale Carlo Chatrian is responsible for the creative side including leading the program selections for Berlinale. Carlo Chatrian brings a deep passion for cinema curation and five-years of experience as the creative director of Switzerland’s Locarno Movie Competition. It’s expected that both Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek will breath new life into the festival by shaping future Berlin Film Festival programs to tailor to innovative, independent filmmakers and a younger audience of movie-goers while also keeping the traditions and history of the 70 year old festival in tact. After all, Berlinale is the world’s largest public film festival and a major event to celebrate cinema and Europe’s cultural diversity.
This year, Berlinale introduces a new program section entitled Encounters. The goal of Encounters is to offer a platform to support new voices in cinema, strengthening the spotlight on diverse narrative and documentary forms in the official program. The Encounters program winners will be selected by a three-member jury who will choose the awards for Best Film, Best Director and a Special Jury Award.
All of the films premiering as part of the Berlinale Encounters Program will be having a World Premier besides Shirley, which as mentioned before, premiered at Sundance Film Festival.
“As a result of passionate research, the 15 titles chosen for Encounters present the vitality of cinema in all of its forms. Each film presents a different way of interpreting the cinematic story: autobiographical, intimate, political, social, philosophical, epic, surreal. The films take the challenge of shaping a world rather than reproducing it,” commented Carlo Chatrian.
Notable films premiering at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival include My Salinger Year directed by Philippe Falardeau and starring Sigourney Weaver, and Margaret Qualley, which is selected to be the Opening Film for Berlinale this year. Johnny Depp stars in Andrew Levitas’ Minimata, and Disney/Pixar’s Onward starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Mel Rodriguez.
The Berlin Film Festival is currently taking place in Berlin, Germany and runs through March 1st, 2020.