The Berlinale: A Constantly Evolving Festival
The Berlinale is a unique place of artistic exploration and entertainment. It is one of the largest public film festivals in the world, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe each year. For the film industry and the media, the eleven days in February are also one of the most important events in the annual calendar and an indispensable trading forum.
The Berlin International Film Festival enjoys an eventful history. The festival was created for the Berlin public in 1951, at the beginning of the Cold War, as a “showcase of the free world”. Shaped by the turbulent post-war period and the unique situation of a divided city, the Berlinale has developed into a place of intercultural exchange and a platform for the critical cinematic exploration of social issues. To this day it is considered the most political of all the major film festivals.
The Berlinale brings the big stars of international cinema to Berlin and discovers new talents. It accompanies filmmakers of all disciplines on their paths into the spotlight and supports careers, projects, dreams and visions.
Thanks to its numerous industry initiatives, the Berlinale is a significant driver of innovation and an important economic factor internationally as well as for companies in Germany and Berlin.
The Programme: Diverse, Independent and Daring
Every year, around 400 films of all genres, lengths and formats are shown in the various sections and special presentations of the Berlinale. Across the spectrum from feature films to documentary forms and artistic experiments, the audience is invited to encounter highly contrasting milieus, ways of life and attitudes, to put their own judgements and prejudices to the test and to reinvigorate their experience of seeing and perceiving in the realm between classic narrative forms and extraordinary aesthetics. The programme also thrives on an intense dialogue with its audiences. A rich array of spoken-word events, audience discussions and expert panels facilitate an active participation in the festival.
The Berlinale at a Glimpse
- The Competition is the festival’s centrepiece and screens the films that will be talked about.
- Encounters is a platform aiming to foster aesthetically and structurally daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers.
- The Berlinale Shorts competition radiates the full range of colours, stretches the boundaries and lays down new tracks in the vast field of cinematic possibilities
- Sexy, edgy, daring. Panorama screens extraordinary cinema, is a traditional audience favourite and - with its own audience award - has the festival’s biggest jury.
- The Forum and Forum Expanded stand for reflections on the medium of film, socio-artistic discourse and a particular sense for the aesthetic.
- Generation presents films that matter – for young cineastes and everyone else.
- In Perspektive Deutsches Kino directing talents screen their debut films and bring a breath of fresh air to the cinema with their individual styles.
- Berlinale Special offers space for the extraordinary, the glamorous and the festival’s special concerns.
- Berlinale Series offers an exclusive first look at the most exciting new series productions from around the world.
- Discover film history and view it anew in screenings of the highest quality: Retrospective, Berlinale Classics and Homage.
- The special presentation Berlinale Goes Kiez brings festival films and their casts and crews to art house cinemas.
The film industry at the Berlinale
- The European Film Market is an international marketplace, a compass for the new film year and a platform for innovation and change.
- The Berlinale Co-Production Market offers targeted matchmaking and international networking for selected projects, producers and financiers.
- Berlinale Talents is the creative meeting place of the festival with often public talks and workshops for film-loving audiences and 250 selected Talents from around the world.
- The World Cinema Fund (WCF) is committed to developing and funding cinema in regions with a weak film infrastructure, as well as to boosting cultural diversity in German and European cinemas.