Additional Information

Feb 26, 2024
Berlinale Files Criminal Charges Over the Spreading of Anti-Semitic Posts / Criticism of Statements Made by Artists at the Berlinale Award Ceremony

Social Media Channel Hacked

On Sunday, February 25, the Instagram channel of the Berlinale Panorama section was briefly hacked and anti-Semitic image-text posts about the Middle East war with the Berlinale logo were posted on the channel. These statements do not originate from the festival and do not represent the festival's stance. The posts were deleted immediately and an investigation was launched into how this incident could have occurred. The Berlinale condemns this criminal act in the strongest possible terms and has deleted the posts and launched an investigation. In addition, the Berlinale has filed criminal charges against unknown persons. The LKA (the state criminal office) has begun an investigation.

Criticism after the Award Ceremony

After the Berlinale Award Ceremony, the German media and various politicians criticised the statements made by award winners on the Middle East war.
The sometimes one-sided and activist statements made by award winners were an expression of individual personal opinions. They in no way reflect the festival's position.

In an opening statement at both the Opening Ceremony of the Berlinale and again at the Award Ceremony, the Berlinale management took a clear stance on the current conflicts and fighting in the Middle East. In her speech on stage, Berlinale Executive Director Mariëtte Rissenbeek condemned the murderous attack by Hamas on October 7, called for the release of the hostages and remembered the suffering of all victims of the violence in Israel and Gaza.

“We understand the outrage that the statements made by some of the award winners were perceived as too one-sided and, in some cases, inappropriate. In the run-up to and during our festival, we made it very clear what the Berlinale’s view of the war in the Middle East is and that we do not share one-sided positions. However, the Berlinale sees itself – today, as in the past – as a platform for open dialogue across cultures and countries. We must therefore also tolerate opinions and statements that contradict our own opinions, as long as these statements do not discriminate against people or groups of people in a racist or similarly discriminating way or cross legal limits. From our point of view, it would have been appropriate in terms of content if the award winners and guests at the Award Ceremony had also made more differentiated statements on this issue,” says Mariëtte Rissenbeek. “The Berlinale stands for democracy and openness. We explicitly oppose discrimination and all forms of hatred. We want to exchange ideas with other social and political institutions on how to conduct a social discourse on this extremely controversial topic in Germany – with the inclusion of international perspectives – without individual statements being perceived as anti-Semitic or anti-Palestinian. We have to face up to this controversial topic – as an international film festival and as a society as a whole.”

Press Office
February 26, 2024