Berlin International Film Festival, usually called Berlinale, is an unexampled event of artistic exploration. Each year, tens of thousands of visitors from around the world visit the festival. The two weeks of Berlinale are one of the most important events for the media and the film industry.

Both the most famous and new talents are brought to Berlin to participate in this event. Berlinale accompanies filmmakers from shadow to spotlights. Hence, Berlinale is also an artistic social elevator for many creative minds.

Berlinale’s history is linked to the Cold War and was created in 1951 as a “showcase of the free world”. According to their website: “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 programme is very diverse and is composed of different formats: feature films, documentaries, artistic experiments and so on. The programme also keeps an intensive dialogue with audiences. Audience discussions and expert panels are also there to facilitate the public-festival contact.

The Golden Bear (German: Goldener Bär) is the highest prize awarded for the best film at the Berlin International Film Festival. The bear is the heraldic animal of Berlin, featured on both the coat of arms and flag of Berlin. The winners of the first Berlin International Film Festival in 1951 were determined by a West German panel, and there were five winners of the Golden Bear, divided by categories and genres. Between 1952 and 1955, the winners of the Golden Bear were determined by the audience members. In 1956, the FIAPF (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films) formally accredited the festival, and since then the Golden Bear has been awarded by an international jury.

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: RetrospectiveBerlinale 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.

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