Berlin International Film Festival

Berlin International Film Festival

Berlinale Palace, the main venue at Potsdamer Platz
Location Berlin, Germany
Founded 1951
Awards Golden Bear, Silver Bear
Number of films 441 (945 screenings) in 2014

The Berlin International Film Festival (German: Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), also called the Berlinale, is one of the world's leading film festivals and most reputable media events.[1] It is held annually in Berlin, Germany.[2]

Founded in West Berlin in 1951,[3] the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978. With around 300,000 tickets sold and 500,000 admissions it is considered the largest publicly attended film festival worldwide based on actual attendance rates.[4] Up to 400 films are shown in several sections, representing a comprehensive array of the cinematic world. Around twenty films compete for the awards called the Golden and Silver Bears. Since 2001 the director of the festival has been Dieter Kosslick.[5][6]

The European Film Market (EFM), a film trade fair held simultaneously to the Berlinale, is a major industry meeting for the international film circuit.[7] The trade fair serves distributors, film buyers, producers, financiers and co-production agents. The Berlinale Talent Campus, a week-long series of lectures and workshops, gathers young filmmakers from around the globe. It partners with the festival itself and is considered to be a forum for upcoming artists.[8]

The festival, the EFM and other satellite events are attended by around 20,000 professionals from over 130 countries.[9] More than 4200 journalists are responsible for the media exposure in over 110 countries.[10] At high-profile feature film premieres, movie stars and celebrities are present at the red carpet.[11] The Berlinale has established a cosmopolitan character integrating art, glamour, commerce and a global media attention.[12]

The most recent festival, the 66th Berlinale, was held from 11 February to 21 February 2016. Meryl Streep presided over the international jury.[13] Joel and Ethan Coen's film Hail, Caesar! was selected to open the festival.[14] The Golden Bear was awarded to the Italian documentary Fire at Sea, directed by Gianfranco Rosi.[15][16][17]

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival is scheduled to be held from February 9th to February 19th, 2017.[18]


The Berlin International Film Festival was founded in West Berlin in 1951.[19] Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca opened the first Berlinale. Although the film had premiered in 1940, many Germans had been unable to watch it until after the war ended. Since 1978 the festival has been celebrated annually in February.

Festival programme

Venues of the festival are spread throughout the central city districts
The Berlinale Palast is the venue for the competition premieres

The festival is composed of seven different film sections.[20] Films are chosen in each category by a section director with the advice of a committee of film experts. Categories include:

Competition: comprises feature-length films yet to be released outside their country of origin. Films in the Competition section compete for several prizes, including the top Golden Bear for the best film and a series of Silver Bears for acting, writing and production.[21]

Panorama: comprises new independent and arthouse films that deal with "controversial subjects or unconventional aesthetic styles". Films in the category are intended to provoke discussion, and have historically involved themes such as LGBT issues.[22]

Forum: comprises experimental and documentary films from around the world with a particular emphasis on screening works by younger filmmakers. There are no format or genre restrictions, and films in the Forum do not compete for awards.[23]

Generation: comprises a mixture of short and feature-length films aimed at children and youths. Films in the Generation section compete in two sub-categories: Generation Kplus (aimed at those aged four and above) and Generation 14plus (aimed at those aged fourteen and above). Awards in the section are determined by three separate juries—the Children's Jury, the Youth Jury and an international jury of experts—whose decisions are made independent of one another.[24]

Perspektive Deutsches Kino: comprises a wide variety of German films, with an emphasis on highlighting current trends in German cinema. There are few entry requirements, enabling emerging filmmakers to display their work to domestic and international audiences.[25]

Berlinale Shorts: comprises domestic and international short films, especially those that demonstrate innovative approaches to filmmaking. Films in the category compete for the Golden Bear for the best short film, as well as a jury-nominated Silver Bear.[26]

Retrospective: comprises classic films previously shown at the Berlinale, with films collated from the Competition, Forum, Panorama and Generation categories. Each year, the Retrospective section is dedicated to important themes or filmmakers. The special Homage series similarly examines past cinema, with a focus on honouring the life work of directors and actors.[27]

In addition to the seven sections, the Berlinale also contains several linked "curated special series", including the Berlinale Special, Gala Special, Forum 5, Culinary Cinema and the Homage.[20] Since 2002 a 50-second trailer opens the performances in all sections of the festival with the exception of the Retrospective.


Main article: Golden Bear
A Golden Bear statue
Festival director Dieter Kosslick

The Golden Bear (German: Goldener Bär) is the highest prize awarded for the best film at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Golden Bear (Goldener Bär)

Silver Bear (Silberner Bär)

"Silver Bear" redirects here. For other uses, see Silver Bear (disambiguation).

The Silver Bear was introduced in 1956 as an award for individual achievements in direction and acting, and for best short film.

In 1965 a special film award for the runner-up to the Golden Bear was introduced. Although its official name was the Special Jury Price from 1965 to 1999, and has been the Jury Grand Prix since 2000, it is commonly known as the Silver Bear (just like the awards for individual achievements) as it is regarded as a second place award after the Golden Bear.

In 1978, a Silver Bear for special recognitions was introduced, in 2002 a Silver Bear for best film music, and in 2008 an award for best screenplay.

Other awards at the Berlin International Film Festival

European Film Market

The European Film Market takes place at the Martin-Gropius-Bau.

The European Film Market (EFM) is one of three largest movie markets in the world.[29] It is the business centre during the time of the Berlinale Film Festival. The EFM is the major venue for film producers, buyers, financiers, sales agents, and distributors. It is a professional trade event, so is open to registered industry insiders. In 2011, 400 companies registered and 6,982 market badges were issued; 1,532 buyers have registered.[30]

The trade fair provides exhibition space for companies presenting their current line-up. It organizes over 1000 screenings of new films, which take place at movie theatres around Potsdamer Platz. In 2007, the CinemaxX and CineStar were used to showcase new productions. In 2010, the Astor Film Lounge showed market screenings in three dimensions using digital RealD technology.

The Berlinale Co-Production Market is a three-day networking platform for producers and financiers, as well as broadcasting and funding representatives who are participating in international co-productions. At the Berlinale Co-Production Market, producers can introduce selected projects and find co-production partners and/or financiers in one-on-one meetings.

Berlinale Talents

Wim Wenders attended the Talent Campus as a lecturer

Commencing in 2003, the Berlinale has partnered with the Berlinale Talents (previously Berlinale Talent Campus), which is a winter school for "up-and-coming filmmakers" that takes place at the same time as the festival. The Talent Campus accepts about 350 applicants each year; the attendees come from around the world, and represent all of the filmmaking professions.[31]

The event runs six days during the Berlinale and features lectures and panel discussions with well-known professionals addressing issues in filmmaking today. Workshops, excursions, personal tutoring, coaching, and training of participants from different fields of work are part of the programme.

The proceedings include presentations by distinguished experts,[32] who have included Park Chan-wook, Frances McDormand, Stephen Frears, Dennis Hopper, Jia Zhangke, Walter Murch, Shah Rukh Khan, Joshua Oppenheimer, Anthony Minghella, Charlotte Rampling, Walter Salles, Ridley Scott, Raoul Peck, Tom Tykwer, Mike Leigh, Tilda Swinton, and Wim Wenders. Many of these presentations and lectures are archived, both as video recordings and as transcripts, on the Talent Campus' website.


See also


  1. 2010 Berlin Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter Archived 7 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. China film wins top Berlin award, BBC News
  3. Oscar Martay
  4. Facts and Figures of the Berlinale,
  5. Dieter Kosslick at the Internet Movie Database, 18 February 2008
  6. Speed Interview with Dieter Kosslick Berlinale Chief,, 18 February 2008
  7. Berlin Film Festival a market force, Variety, 13. February 2008
  8. Berlin Talent campus wins hearts,
  9. 2009 Berlinale Press release,, 18. February 2008
  10. Kosslick zieht positive Berlinale-Bilanz (German),
  11. Madonna at the Berlinale on YouTube, 19. February 2008
  12. Berlinale Profile,
  13. "Clive Owen Joins Meryl Streep on Berlin Film Festival Jury". Variety. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  14. "Prizes of the International Jury". Berlinale. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  15. "Prizes of the International Jury". Berlinale. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  16. "Berlin: 'Fire at Sea' Wins Golden Bear for Best Film". Variety. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  17. "Berlin film festival: Fire at Sea wins Golden Bear". BBC News. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  18. "A TOUCHING CLOSE TO THE BERLINALE 2016 AND A LOOK AHEAD AT 2017". Berlinale Press Office. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  19. Oscar Martay
  20. 1 2 (2010). "The Festival Sections: An Overview". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  21. (2010). "Competition". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  22. (2010). "Panorama". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  23. (2010). "Forum". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  24. (2010). "Generation". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  25. (2010). "Perspektive Deutsches Kino". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  26. (2010). "Berlinale Shorts". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  27. (2010). "Retrospective & Homage". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  28. Prizes of the International Jury Last accessed 20130116
  29. Kodak Cinema&Television Press Release,
  30. EFM Facts and Figures, 14. November 2011
  31. Berlinale Talents, berlinale-talentcampus
  32. Talent Campus adds to lineup, Variety

External links

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