A general effort for German film
There was no question that German film industry benefited: it was better represented than ever before. With Perspektive Deutsches Kino, new German film was (again) given its own section. Four films by young German directors took part in the Competition. The apparent harmony couldn’t distract from conflicts of interest within the industry, which was immersed in a debate over a new film subsidy law. It was the year of Bully Herbig’s slapstick western Schuh des Manitu | Manitou's Shoe which received generous public funding, while three of the four German contributions to the Competition were made without subsidies.
Anke Westphal concluded in the “Berliner Zeitung” that the creative potential of German cinema not only created its own visual realities but also its own working conditions. The strong presence of German films at the Berlinale caused many commentators to appeal for more effective film funding. Festival director Dieter Kosslick, who had previously headed the largest state film fund, awakened hopes in this respect.
Once again: Art vs. Commerce?
The debate focused on the supposed opposition of art and commerce – a conflict that had arisen again and again in the history of the Berlinale. The question arose as to whether the German (and European) film industry should be subjected even more to the “freedom” of the market or whether state subsidies and value judgements were not only necessary but also desirable. In the previous year, the Berlinale itself had become an “event of the Federal Government”: due to the precarious financial situation of the State of Berlin, the Federal Government had taken over responsibility for the Berliner Festspiele GmbH – and therefore the Berlinale as well. This meant more planning reliability for the festival and was also further evidence for a growing significance film was supposed to enjoy in cultural policymaking.
The Berlinale 2002 managed to do more than just make German film interesting again. At a “Vision Day” Dieter Kosslick presented his plans to create a platform for young international film talents at the Berlinale with a Talent Campus. At the panel discussions of the “Framing Reality” symposium international guests discussed stylistic developments in contemporary film and the “European 60s” Retrospective was one of the best attended in Berlinale history and provided ample material for moderated discussions and debates, which spilled over into the cultural pages of the press and book publications.