WRAPPING UP ANOTHER DAZZLING BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

There was no shortage of highlights at the 2016 Berlinale. First up was a glamorous kick-off with the opening film Hail, Caesar! attended by directors Joel and Ethan Coen, along with stars George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum and Alden Ehrenreich. That was followed by the gala premieres of film greats and, not least of all, the award of an Honorary Golden Bear for his life’s work to legendary German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus.

 

Ballhaus_1Festival Director Dieter Kosslick, left,  and the awardee Michael Ballhaus in the Berlinale Palast. (Photo Credit: Ali Ghandtschi © Berlinale 2016)

There were standing ovations for jury president Meryl Streep who – with jurors Lars Eidinger, Nick James, Brigitte Lacombe, Clive Owen, Alba Rohrwacher and Małgorzata Szumowska – will award the Berlinale’s main prizes.

Star guests on this year’s red carpet included Pernilla August, Susanne Bier, Daniel Brühl, Daniel Burman, Nick Cannon, Don Cheadle, Isabel Coixet, John Cusack, Gérard Depardieu, Doris Dörrie, Kirsten Dunst, Trine Dyrholm, Colin Firth, Greta Gerwig, Alex Gibney, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Hiddleston, Isabelle Huppert, Julia Jentsch, Nick Jonas, Hugh Laurie, Denis Lavant, Jude Law, Spike Lee, Laura Linney, Dominik Moll, Julianne Moore, Cynthia Nixon, Guy Pearce, Michael Peña, Tim Robbins, Gianfranco Rosi, James Schamus, Michael Shannon, Alexander Skarsgård, André Téchiné, Emma Thompson, Thomas Vinterberg, Wayne Wang and many more.

This year, the Berlinale could look proudly on a host of activities aimed at refugees. In cooperation with the BBZ Beratungs- und Betreuungszentrum für junge Flüchtlinge und Migranten (support centre for young refugees and migrants), 18 refugees had the opportunity to visit and observe various areas behind the scenes in the festival offices. With the participation of 953 people, the “sponsored cinema visit” project organised with Berlin’s non-profit refugee aid organisations was also a success. And for the first time in Berlinale history, the festival specifically urged visitors to make a donation, with 25,000 euros collected so far.

And the Berlinale once again lived up to its reputation as the largest audience festivals around. As of yesterday evening (Thursday, Feb 18), visitors to the Berlinale had bought 310,000 tickets.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 is Berlinale Publikumstag, another special treat for the public. Many of the festival films from various sections will be screened again at Berlinale venues.

The third year of the Berlinale Open House and Berlinale Lounge Nights at the Audi Berlinale Lounge drew crowds as well. About 7,200 visitors attended the 30 events.

The European Film Market was another success of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. There was a notable increase over last year in the number of participants – in both the market and the individual initiatives – for the international trade fair at the Berlinale, which was held at the Martin Gropius Bau and the new Gropius Park, along with the Marriott Hotel. Exhibitors and buyers enjoyed great interest, a lively exchange and plenty of deal-making. There was also an extremely good response to the new platforms “Drama Series Days”, “EFM Startups”, “EFM Asia” and the “EFM Producers Hub”. Altogether, this year’sEFM marked a good start to the year, providing strong momentum for the industry.

With the Award Ceremony at 7 pm on Saturday, Feb 20, the 66th Berlin International Film Festival draws to a spectacular close. The winners of the Golden and Silver Bears and the Audi Short Film Award, as well as the Best First Feature Award will be announced at the festive gala. Directly after the ceremony there will be a screening of a winning film.

Anke Engelke will host the event, which will be broadcast live by ZDF/3sat at 7 pm. The Award Ceremony will also be available via live stream at www.berlinale.de. (Berlinale Press Office)

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