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In 1967 the Berlinale was transferred over to a private legal entity. What had previously been a cultural event organized annually by the state of Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany was now a business division of “Berliner Festspiele Limited”. Though the company’s shareholders were still Berlin and the federal government, it was hoped that the new organisational structure would overcome the diplomatic problems that had be an obstacle to the participation of Eastern Bloc countries in the festival. The socialist countries were officially invited – all except for one: East Germany. Officially, it didn’t exist. And so critics saw the restructuring as a purely tactical move with a disingenuous compromise. “It’s no wonder the Eastern Bloc states are talking about a trick and staying away,” commented Uwe Nettelbeck soberly in “Die Zeit”.
Disappointment over absence of socialist countries
The Berlinale was indeed extremely disappointed when all newly invited countries turned down the invitation – apart from Non-Aligned Yugoslavia, which had anyway already been present at the Berlinale. In a note for the file, Alfred Bauer indignantly mentioned that at a meeting of the state film industries of the Eastern Bloc states, the representative of the GDR had appealed to his colleagues to reject the invitation. Frontiers and alliances were still firm and solid.