Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus, two competition programmes screening state-of-the-art international cinema. For young audiences and for everyone else. Epic narratives and fleeting moments, flights of fantasy and bitter realities. Coming-of-age stories: awesome, wild and angry, heartfelt and headstrong.
With a comprehensive programme of contemporary films exploring the lives and worlds of children and teenagers, Berlinale Generation enjoys a unique position as the instigator of a convention-breaking young people’s cinema. Headed by Maryanne Redpath since 2008, the section is simultaneously a home for outspoken young audiences and open-minded adults. Generation continuously navigates the space between challenging and overwhelming, and nurtures an open and controversial dialogue with its audience, artists, industry guests and film critics.
The selection focuses on films that, in their narratives and cinematic languages, take young people seriously. Stories that are told through the eyes of their young protagonists and which make their worlds tangible. Films that matter, that open doors to unfamiliar worlds. Films that demand bravery, displaying intersectional perspectives and encouraging collective solutions. Films that hold up a mirror to the adult world. Feature films, documentaries and animations, genre films and works that expand the formal language of cinema compete on an equal footing in the section’s two competitions.
The origins of Generation lie in the “Cinema for People Six and up” programme. With this selection, first presented in 1978, the Berlinale responded to the needs of young cineastes who, because of age restrictions had been denied access to the festival up to that point. As the Kinderfilmfest (“Children’s Film Festival”), the initiative developed further into an important platform for a cinema that makes the wealth of cinematic art also accessible to the youngest filmgoers. To meet the constantly growing interest of and in teenage audiences, in 2004 the section was expanded to include the 14plus competition. In 2007 the section was renamed Generation, now with two competitions: Generation Kplus (the former Kinderfilmfest) and Generation 14plus.
The manner in which the films are presented plays an important role in Generation. Premieres are celebrated on the red carpet and in the cinemas with the filmmakers and their young stars in attendance. The section facilitates exchanges between the audiences and filmmakers especially focusing on dialogue with younger audience members. The views and questions prompted by diverse cinematic form and content are often challenging and the filmmakers are delighted by fresh perspectives on their work.
Films in Generation Kplus are screened in their original version with English subtitles and German voice-over. The voice-over is prepared by professional translators and spoken by qualified voice artists during the screenings. In addition, each year the festival produces German subtitles for three Generation Kplus films to introduce young cineastes to reading subtitles.
In Generation 14plus, all films are screened in their original version with English subtitles and without the voice-over.
Each film receives an upwardly open age recommendation that has been devised with educational advisors. This recommendation ensures that young audiences encounter films that correspond to the horizon of their own life experience.
Generation maintains a close relationship with the film industry and considers distributors and sales agents as allies in their work towards an ambitious film culture. The visibility brought by the competitions and their awards and the linkage with the European Film Market (EFM) present important opportunities for the films to begin their distribution path in the best possible conditions. In collaboration with the EFM, Generation is working on smoothing the way for films to gain access to new audience segments and supporting them on their further journey beyond the context of the festival. The section’s strong popularity among audiences is evidence of the opportunities that exist to engage a young viewing public with a cinema that is formally diverse and artistically daring.
As part of its engagement with the audience, Generation maintains a close relationship with Berlin’s school system. The early provision of information and opportunities to buy group tickets before they go on public sale, as well as numerous morning screenings, facilitate visits to the festival by school classes.
Since 2006, the Berlinale Schulprojekt (Berlinale School Project) has actively supported the integration of Generation films into the school curriculum. Two media educators advise around 50 selected teachers from all kinds of schools and class ages in Berlin and its surrounding areas. The Berlinale School Project takes place in cooperation with Vision Kino. In 2017 it was expanded to include "Welcome classes", thereby giving refugee children access to the Generation programme.