Birgit Kohler is currently interim head of the Forum section, alongside Milena Gregor and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus.
She read theater studies, politics and German philology in Erlangen and Berlin. After working on a number of projects with different film and cinema organisations, she started developing film programmes for the in-house Arsenal cinema of the association “Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek” (Friends of the Deutsche Kinemathek) in 1998. In 2004, she became a board member of the association, which has existed under its current name “Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art” since 2008. She remains responsible for a variety of Arsenal’s film programmes and discourse formats.
As a curator and author, Kohler concentrates particularly on contemporary documentary film-making, as well as on a large range of artistic positions in international cinema today. Her curatorial work also focuses on the aesthetic exploration of socio-political phenomena in contemporary cinema from Algeria, Greece, Lebanon, Morocco or Portugal for instance. In 2017, she received the “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” for her service to French cinema.
Birgit Kohler has long been a member of the DAAD and Goethe-Institut selection committees that award international film stipends. She is often invited to serve on festival juries, most recently in Locarno. She also teaches at universities and in film schools.
Kohler has been a member of the selection committee of the Berlinale Forum since 2002. In summer 2018, she took over as interim head of the section with her colleagues on the Arsenal board.