The Berlinale has developed a new concept to be able to clearly fly the flag for culture even in times of pandemic and is therefore focusing on cinema screenings in Berlinale venues. The priority for all events is the safety of the audience and strict compliance with the applicable hygiene rules. Following recent decisions by the federal government and the Berlin Senate, the hygiene and safety measures already developed have been re-examined so that the 2022 festival can be organized as a 2G-Plus event (additional masking and testing requirements) in presence. Due to the current pandemic conditions, the European Film Market (10.-17.02.2022) will be implemented purely digitally; the Berlinale Co-Production Market (12.-16.02.2022), Berlinale Talents (12.-17.02.2022) and the World Cinema Fund Day will also be implemented digitally.
Image above: © Daniel Seiffert / Berlinale
The Berlinale has changed its format and concept accordingly due to the pandemic: The festival will start on February 10 with the ceremonial opening at the Berlinale Palast. Afterwards, until February 16, film teams that have arrived will personally present their films to the public and accredited audience at the premieres in the various Berlinale cinemas. The award ceremony with the Golden and Silver Bears, as well as the GWFF Award Best First Feature and the Berlinale Documentary Award will take place on the evening of February 16. The offer of the “Audience Day”, which has been very popular for years, will be extended to four days in 2022: From February 17 to 20 there will be repeat screenings in all Berlinale cinemas (at the regular standard price of 10 euros).
In addition to shortening the part of the festival dominated by presentations, the concept also provides for a fundamental reduction of seating capacity in the Berlinale cinemas to 50 percent. Due to the pandemic, parties and receptions will not be able to take place, but for film teams there will still be the appearances on the Red Carpet at the Berlinale Palast in the presence of the press or in other premiere cinemas in a reduced format, creating a touch of traditional festival atmosphere.
Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth: “We want to make the Berlinale possible, and according to the state of deliberations today, we can achieve that. With the festival, we want to send a signal to the entire film industry, to cinemas and moviegoers, and to culture as a whole. We need cinema, we need culture. Of course, in today’s times, this can only be done with painful cuts and with constant vigilance. The pandemic situation is dynamic and the Berlinale is adapting to the challenges. We are helping where we can and I would like to thank the Federal Minister of Finance, but also many other dedicated colleagues in the Federal Government and in Parliament for their support. I would also like to thank the State of Berlin and especially the health authorities and the Senator for Health for accompanying the Berlinale on this path with such dedication. I would especially like to thank the Berlinale management for embarking on this journey together with us, and the Berlinale staff for their perseverance and enormous commitment, without which the Berlinale 2022 could not take place.”
The Berlinale’s management duo, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian: “We are aware of the challenges posed by the unpredictable course of the pandemic. At the same time, we think that culture plays such an elementary role in society that we don’t want to let that aspect out of our sight. We would like to make festival screenings possible for our audience and filmmakers even in times of pandemic. With the new concept, we focus entirely on the cinematic experience and reduce grouping. It is important with this changed concept to provide the audience and the film teams with the community experience of cinema while reducing encounters and respecting the Corona rules. The international guests care a lot about presenting their work on location.”
The festival schedule until February 16 also includes press conferences and photo calls for individual films. The Golden Honorary Bear award ceremony for Isabelle Huppert (Feb. 15) and the screening of the European Shooting Stars (Feb. 14) will also take place in presence during this shortened period.
European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and World Cinema Fund go online
While the festival will organize physical cinema visits as safely as possible even in pandemic times, there are bigger hurdles for the organization of the EFM in the Gropius Bau as well as other meeting-driven presence offerings. Due to the current pandemic conditions, the European Film Market (Feb. 10-17, 2022) will be implemented purely digitally, and the Berlinale Co-Production Market (Feb. 12-16, 2022), Berlinale Talents (Feb. 12-17, 2022) and World Cinema Fund Day will also be implemented digitally.
EFM Director Dennis Ruh: “The decision to implement EFM 2022 purely digitally was extremely difficult for us. The great need for physical encounters in the distribution industry was reflected in the very strong booking situation for stand space, market accreditations and physical market demonstrations. However, the high frequency of encounters in regular trade show operations is currently not producible. We are therefore relying on our digital offerings, which already proved their worth last year for trade show business on remote.”
The digital offerings of the EFM consist of exhibitor presentations at virtual booths, digital market demonstrations, the “Berlinale Series Market”, networking formats and the conference program “EFM Industry Sessions”, which this year is entitled “Shaping Change”. Details of the program will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Berlinale Co-Production Market holds its 2022 meetings, talks and networking events online to limit physical contact while creating an efficient and relaxed meeting situation where even those participants* who cannot or do not wish to travel can join in. “We very much regret not being able to meet each other in person. But our positive experience from last year makes us confident that we can run a successful online version,” says Berlinale Co-Production Market Director Martina Bleis.
Berlinale Talents (12.-17.02.2022) invites the 200 selected talents from over 70 countries to participate exclusively in digital events and networking opportunities. As in the previous year, selected talks will be accessible to a broad public audience as a stream, as well as – if permitted – to a very limited extent to local visitors on site in Berlin.
The World Cinema Fund, which successfully supports film production in regions with weak film infrastructure throughout the year with its increasingly differentiated support program (WCF, WCF Europe, WCF Africa, WCF ACP), will also offer the presentations and talks of the annual WCF Day (date to be announced) digitally. “Following the 2021 focus theme, “Decolonizing Cinema,” we will discuss further decolonization strategies in the film industry, among other topics, at WCF Day 2022,” says WCF director Vincenzo Bugno.
To the programme (complete as of February 1, 2022)