Berlin: German Film Community Looks to Future of Venerable Festival

Variety | 2/14/2018 | Peter Debruge
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In November, 79 of the most prominent German filmmakers and industryites published an open letter voicing their opinion about the next boss of the Berlin film festival.

Current director Dieter Kosslick has faced criticism — as has every festival director — since he took over the Berlinale’s reins in 2001, with his contract set to end in May 2019. The letter, published on German outlet Spiegel Online, gave the German film community an opportunity to be heard about the future of the country’s most important film festival.

Takeaway - Letter - Minister - Culture - Kosslick

The key takeaway of the letter, which was sent to the German minister of culture, Kosslick’s boss, six months earlier, was this statement: “The goal must be to find an outstanding curatorial personality who is passionate about cinema, well-connected internationally and capable of leading the festival into the future on an equal footing with Cannes and Venice,” the letter read. “We want a transparent procedure and a new start.”

In December, Kosslick announced that he wouldn’t ask for his contract to be renewed as he submitted proposals for the festival going forward. A committee has been formed to look at the structure of the festival and personnel, with State Minister for Culture and Media Monika Grütters calling for an open and constructive debate about what the festival will look like in the coming years.

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So as the 68th edition of the Berlinale gets ready to unspool Feb. 15, what are these heavyweights — including Maren Ade (“Toni Erdmann”), Fatih Akin (“In the Fade”) and Robert Schwentke (“The Captain”) — talking about?

Signatory - Akin - Career - Berlin - Bear

According to signatory Akin (whose career was born at Berlin, following a Golden Bear win for his 2004 debut, “Head-On”), that letter was not a personal attack on Kosslick and his legacy, but rather, a proactive demand for...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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