Berlin: an exciting, cosmopolitan cultural hub that never ceases to attract artists from around the world. A diverse cultural scene, a critical public and an audience of film-lovers characterize the city. In the middle of it all, the Berlinale: a great cultural event and one of the most important dates for the international film industry. More than 335,000 sold tickets, more than 20,000 professional visitors from 122 countries, including more than 3,800 journalists: art, glamour, parties and business are all inseparably linked at the Berlinale.
The entire world of film
The public program of the Berlin International Film Festival shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres. Films of every genre, length and format find their place in the various sections: great international cinema in the Competition, independent and art house in Panorama, films for young audiences in Generation, new discoveries and promising talents from the German film scene in Perspektive Deutsches Kino, avant garde, experimental and unfamiliar cinematography in the Forum and Forum Expanded, and an exploration of cinematic possibilities in Berlinale Shorts. The Berlinale Special, including Berlinale Special Gala, is showing new and extraordinary productions and honours great cinema personalities. Berlinale Special Series, which began in 2015, presents selected international series. The program is rounded out by a Retrospective as well as an Homage, which focuses on the œuvre of a great personality of cinema, curated by the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen. Beginning in 2013, the Retrospective expanded to include presentations of Berlinale Classics. They show current restorations of film classics as well as rediscovered films.
Furthermore the Berlinale has regularly organized a program of special presentations that open up new perspectives, provide insight into key themes, make new connections and explore realms where film intersects with other creative disciplines. Food, pleasure and the environment – these are the topics that lie at the centre of the Culinary Cinema. Berlinale Goes Kiez is traveling from arthouse cinema to arthouse cinema within the city to present selected films from the Berlinale program and NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema is devoted to the cinematic story-telling of Indigenous peoples worldwide.
The film industry at the Berlinale
The Berlin International Film Festival is a source of inspiration in the global film community: film programs, workshops, panel discussions, joint projects with other social and cultural actors – the forms of cooperation and the possibilities for creative interaction are countless.
The most important meeting point is the European Film Market (EFM). Around 550 companies and more than 9,000 professionals from 110 countries build and foster contacts here, strengthen their position in the industry or negotiate film rights.
Berlinale Talents brings high profile professionals attending the Berlinale to workshops and discussions with 250 promising young film talents from all over the world. Both sides benefit. The talents profit from the experience of the professionals, who in turn gain fresh ideas from taking part.
The World Cinema Fund (WCF) provides financial support to film projects in countries with weak film infrastructure thereby helping strengthen the regions’ position on the international film market.
The Berlinale Residency program offers international directors a grant to come to Berlin for several months. Working in close contact with individually selected mentors and market experts, the directors can take a decisive step toward placing their next film project on the way to a successful theatrical release.
The close connection between the festival and market is a unique characteristic of the Berlinale and always results in exceptional synergies.
Selection Process for Feature Film Programme at Halfway Mark
In the two competitions Kplus and 14plus, 15 feature films have already been selected for the 40th edition of Generation. Exhibiting an impressive range of cinematic approaches, these productions tell the stories of young people on inner and outer journeys and capture a sense of longing for new and altered horizons. The complete programme for Generation will be made public in mid-January.
Michael Winterbottom is slated to open the programme of Generation 14plus in the newly renovated Haus der Kulturen der Welt with a special screening of his vibrant music documentary On the Road. Shot in the characteristic hybrid style that has become the English director’s trademark, his newest outing follows the members of the band Wolf Alice on tour as they travel back and forth across their native Great Britain, where they have caused quite a stir in recent years. The film intimately portrays life on the road, in all its ecstasy and exhaustion. The connection between the musicians and their fans is palpable and there is a fine interplay between watching and listening amongst concert and film audiences
By Carol Salter
Far from home, 17-year-old Ying Ling practices for her examination to become a mortician at one of China’s largest funeral homes. In addition to frequent qualms and farewell ceremonies, the everyday routine of this unusual occupation also serves up both humorous and life affirming moments. Carol Salter’s debut outing is an empathetic documentary portrait touching on fears, friendship and coming of age amidst ghosts and the dearly departed.
By Rafael Kapelinski
Jake and his friends pass their time hanging out in the courtyards of their high-rise development or in pool halls, talking about girls, watching pornos and getting drunk. Jake is burdened by a dark secret that distances him more and more from the others and drives him into dangerous isolation. Rafael Kapelinski stages his debut film in contrasting black and white, moving in respectful proximity to his characters, brought to life vividly here by an ensemble cast of new discoveries and young talents (including Thomas Turgoose – This Is England, Generation 2007).
Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau (Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves)
By Mathieu Denis, Simon Lavoie
With epic scope and stunning polymorphism, the film follows a group of young people in Québec who resolve to form a revolutionary cell together in the aftermath of student protests. This unflinching work from Mathieu Denis (Corbo, Generation 2015) and Simon Lavoie employs its protagonists to play through what it might mean to instigate a revolution and devote one’s life to a cause in today’s world.
Emo the Musical
By Neil Triffett
The forbidden high school love between Ethan, the shy Emo kid with suicidal tendencies, and chipper Christian activist Trinity previously delighted Generation audiences as a short film in 2014. Director Neil Triffett is back with his heartbreakingly funny musical grotesque, now in feature-film length, and chock full of even more colourful characters to light up the big screen.
Mulher do pai (A Woman and the Father)
Brazil / Uruguay
By Cristiane Oliveira
After the death of her grandmother, 16-year-old Nalu is left to care for her father alone. Any hope of leaving her dismal village now seems to have receded far off into the distance. Cristiane Oliveira’s coming-of-age drama, a work of slowly paced cinema characterised by respectful intimacy and subtle physicality, paints the complex portrait of a relationship between an adolescent daughter and her blind father.
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea
By Dash Shaw
He’s not exactly popular, he’s got friend problems, he wants to make it big with the school paper and he goes by the name of his inventor, Dash. In the school basement, he discovers a secret that rocks the very foundations of his world. Graphic novelist Shaw hopes that his film will reach 15-year-old nerds who are just as crazy about drawings and paintings as he himself was at their age. This work of animation virtually spilling over with ingenuity (and featuring the voice-over talents of Jason Schwartzman, Maya Rudolph, Lena Dunham and Susan Sarandon) is sure to delight young viewers outside of this particular demographic as well.
Krolewicz Olch (The Erlprince)
By Kuba Czekaj
The action in The Erlprince builds and surges as dramatically as the ballad by Goethe from which it borrows its title. The boundaries between reality, desire and appearance are blurred in this futuristically tinged film about an extraordinarily gifted young man and his ambitious and wondrous mother. Expressed in a form as unconventional as the characters it portrays, the film oscillates between the poles of both science and nature and love and violence.
By Bruce McDonald
Just after the end of the Vietnam War and in the midst of the American bicentennial celebrations of 1976, runaway Kit and his girlfriend Alice hitchhike their way along the east coast of Canada. Bruce McDonald (The Tracey Fragments, Panorama 2007) has managed to create a coming-of-age film that shines equally as a road movie, one driven by a fantastic soundtrack composed of deep cuts from the era in question. A rebellious trip in black and white, in which all sense of certainty gets left by the wayside.
As duas Irenes (Two Irenes)
By Fabio Meira
In the shimmering heat of Brazil, 13-year-old Irene discovers a dark secret her father’s been hiding: he has another family and even another daughter with the same name. Irene embarks on a risky game that could blow up in her face at any moment. The languid summer atmosphere of Fabio Meira’s feature film debut can’t hide the fact that something is simmering right under the surface.
Die Häschenschule – Jagd nach dem Goldenen Ei (Rabbit School – Guardians of the Golden Egg)
By Ute von Münchow-Pohl
Scrappy city rabbit Max finds shelter in a hidden Easter bunny school after a misadventure with a model plane leaves him stranded far beyond the city limits. Here he encounters the keepers of the legendary Golden Egg, itself the coveted prize of scheming foxes. After an initial bout with boredom, the secret techniques of the Easter bunnies finally arouse Max’s curiosity. This lovingly drawn German animation film, based on the 1924 classic, is a pure delight buoyed by imagination and brisk pacing and graced with the voices of Senta Berger, Friedrich von Thun, Jule Böwe and Noah Levi.
Primero enero (January)
By Darío Mascambroni
European premiere Primero enero is the directorial debut of Argentinian filmmaker Darío Mascambroni. 11-year-old Valentino’s life goes off the rails when his parents get divorced, challenging him to see the world from a different angle. In a tender and moving father-son story, the director takes his protagonists and his viewers out to the countryside, into a world of heightened sensitivity.
Red Dog: True Blue
By Kriv Stenders
Australian director Stenders delighted Generation audiences in 2011 with a legendary story about a very special dog. Now, at the centre of this sequel – which is also a prequel- the red canine is joined by 11-year-old Mick, who treasures his bond with his four-legged friend above all else. Destiny has brought the duo together on a farm in the Australian outback, where the two partake in mystical adventures and Mick encounters his first true love. With great humour and sensitivity, the film is a tale of growing up in a time of transformation.
Richard the Stork
Germany / Belgium / Luxemburg / Norway
By Toby Genkel, Reza Memari
Even though everybody else thinks he’s a sparrow – Richard himself holds tight to the conviction that he is in fact a stork. In this fast-paced adventure, Toby Genkel and Reza Memari tell the story of a bird who sets off self-confidently on a winter trip to Africa in a literal rite of passage that simultaneously serves as an empathetic tale about otherness and self-discovery. This German-international co-production provides spellbinding entertainment with its fantastic and fanciful fable showcasing top-shelf animation.
By María Novaro
Siblings Dylan and Andrea set off with their new friends on a marvellous journey of discovery in search of long lost pirate loot. In refreshingly sunny images, María Novaro gets up close to her characters to tell a story of children confidently indulging their lust for life and curiosity. In a commune on Mexico’s Pacific coast, they are given space to go their own ways and together find something much more valuable than buried treasure.
Shi Tou (Stonehead)
People’s Republic of China
By Xiang Zhao
10-year-old Shi Tou, the son of a migrant labourer, grows up alone with his grandmother. It’s so hard to tell right from wrong! Sharing a reward with a classmate or waiting until his father returns, obeying his teacher of protecting his friend – which one should he choose? With documental authenticity, Xiang Zhao paints a portrait of life in rural China and a society in which an entire generation has too often been left to grow up in the absence of their parents.