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Berlin Film Festival

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Title: Berlin Film Festival  
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Berlin Film Festival

Berlin International Film Festival
Location Berlin, Germany
Founded 1951
Awards Golden/Silver Bear
Number of films 395 (966 screenings) in 2012

The Berlin International Film Festival (German: Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), also called the Berlinale, is one of the world's leading film festivals and most reputable media events.[1] It is held in Berlin, Germany.[2] Founded in West Berlin in 1951 at the initiative of U.S. Film officer Oscar Martay,[3] the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978. With around 300,000 tickets sold and 500,000 admissions it is considered the largest publicly attended film festival worldwide based on actual attendance rates.[4] Up to 400 films are shown in several sections, representing a comprehensive array of the cinematic world. Around twenty films compete for the awards called the Golden and Silver Bears. Since 2001 the director of the festival has been Dieter Kosslick.[5][6]

The European Film Market (EFM), a film trade fair held simultaneously to the Berlinale, is a major industry meeting for the international film circuit once a year.[7] The trade fair serves distributors, film buyers, producers, financiers and co-production agents. The Berlinale Talent Campus, a week long series of lectures and workshops, gathers young filmmakers from around the globe. It partners with the festival itself and is considered to be a forum for upcoming artists.[8]

The festival, the EFM and other satellite events are attended by around 20,000 professionals from over 130 countries.[9] More than 4200 journalists are responsible for the media exposure in over 110 countries.[10] At high-profile feature film premieres, movie stars and celebrities are present at the red carpet.[11] The Berlinale has established a cosmopolitan character integrating art, glamour, commerce and a global media attention.[12]

The most recent Berlinale, the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival, took place from 7 to 17 February 2013.[13] Chinese film director Wong Kar-wai was announced as the President of the Jury[14] and his film The Grandmaster was the opening film of the festival.[15] The Golden Bear for the best film was awarded to Poziţia Copilului (Child's Pose) by Călin Peter Netzer.[16]

Festival programme

The festival is composed of seven different film sections.[17] 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.[18]

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 gay, lesbian and transgendered issues.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

In addition to the seven sections, the Berlinale also contains several linked "curated special series", including the Berlinale Special, Gala Special, Forum Expanded, Culinary Cinema and the Homage.[17] Since 2002 a 50-second trailer opens the performances in all sections of the festival with the exception of the Retrospective.


Main article: Golden Bear

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

  • Panorama Publikumspreis, the Audience Award
  • Berlinale Camera, a special award for services to the Festival
  • A Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the 14plus section of the Generation Competition
  • A Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the children's section of the Generation Competition
  • Teddy Award for films with LGBT topics
  • Shooting Stars Award for young European acting talent, awarded by European Film Promotion
  • Alfred Bauer Prize (Silver Bear) — in memory of the Festival Founder — for a feature film that opens new perspectives on cinematic art[25]

European Film Market

The European Film Market (EFM) is one of three largest movie markets in the world.[26] 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 and is open to registered industry insiders. In 2011, 400 companies registered and 6,982 market badges were issued. 1,532 buyers have registered.[27]

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 is showing market screenings in 3D using digital RealD technology.

The Berlinale Co-Production Market is a 3-day networking platform for producers, financiers as well as broadcasting and funding representatives who are participating in international co-productions.At the Berlinale Co-Production Market, producers can introduce pre-selected projects and find co-production partners and/or financiers in one-on-one meetings.

Talent Campus

Commencing in 2003, the Berlinale has partnered with the Berlinale Talent Campus, which is a winter school for "up and coming filmmakers" that takes place at the same time as the festival itself. The Talent Campus accepts about 350 applicants each year; the attendees come from around the world, and represent all of the filmmaking professions.[28]

The event runs 6 days during the Berlinale and features lectures and panel discussions with well known professionals addressing issues in filmmaking today. 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,[29] who have included Park Chan-wook, Frances McDormand, Stephen Frears, Dennis Hopper, Jia Zhangke, Walter Murch, Shah Rukh Khan, 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 videorecordings and transcripts, on the Talent Campus' website.


See also

European Union portal
Germany portal
Film portal


External links

  • Official website
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Berlin Life: An introduction to the Berlin Film Festival
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