Glamour and popular films in the Gala Premieres, in-depth debates at the panel discussions, a spotlight on current topics, unusual formats and the honouring of extraordinary film personalities – Berlinale Special is one of the festival’s most versatile programmes.
Footloose and fancy-free, spontaneous and up-to-date – a diversity of forms shines in the Berlinale Special. Originating from the special screenings which became affiliated with the Competition in 1984, from 2004 the section has offered an abundant and colourful selection of films and events and it uncovers many treasures every year. Berlinale Special is flexible and also characterised by its unusual venues: even the Brandenburg Gate can be transformed into a cinema.
The Berlinale Special gala premieres bring glamour and excitement to the Friedrichstadt-Palast, giving audiences the chance to experience popular international films and their stars up close on the Red Carpet.
In the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, films requiring an intense level of engagement can be deliberated upon in post-screening panel discussions. Films capturing current world events to powerful effect are put into a wider context and discussed together with the filmmakers.
Over the years, Berlinale Special has also established itself as a space for reflection on film, its history and adjacent art forms. Many films in the programme explore the origins of particular film trends, focus on film history or portray directors and other artists. And, with the films in Berlinale Special, the Berlinale honours great film personalities whose work is particularly close to the festival’s heart.
Berlinale Special is curated by Festival Director Dieter Kosslick, supported by an advisory committee.