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Thu, 02/06/2014

Berlin Film Festival and Other Events Attract Visitors

Today the Berlin International Film Festival starts its 64th edition. More then 400 films will be shown within 10 days. Most of them are shown as world premiers or for the very first time outside their country of origin. In the main section of the festival 23 movies from 21 countries are shown of which 18 have their world premiere in Berlin. Of the 23 movies 20 will compete for the Golden and Silver Bear-Awards. With more than half a million sold tickets per year the Berlinale is the biggest audience film festival of the world.

Actors, stars, directors, screenwriters and other filmmakers flock to Berlin during the festival week to present their movies in person. After most screenings you can ask them questions about the making of their films and discuss their work. Among the talents coming to Berlin this year are: George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Viggo Mortensen, Tilda Swinton, Zheng Xu and Martin Scorsese.

While the Competition – the main section of the festival – is the most visible part of the Berlinale, as the festival is known, the festival actually has ten sections. Generation is split into two parts: one part with films for children under 14 and one for young adults. It has a competition as well. The Forum screens films which have another angle of film-making and are 'innovative', fresh and new. Funny-wise this is only true from the viewpoint of a westerner because in the Forum-section you will find films from Asia, Africa or the Arab World which are considered popular or even mainstream films at home. Another section is Panorama. Here you find everything which could not be placed in any of the other sections. Therefore it is the most interesting section because you never know what kind of movies await you there. A new section is Berlinale Special. In this section you find movies which have not made it in the Competition but whose producers or talents are too important to hide their movie in the Panorama-section. Originally Panorama was created to put movies there which did not make it in Competition. With Berlinale Talents – a kind of big workshop conference – the film festival has a place were 300 filmmakers from all over the world meet and find partners for their projects and learn from famous filmmakers.

The Berlin Film Festival probably is the most visible event taking place in Berlin because of it's huge international and popular appeal. Events with a similar visibility probably only are the International Fair of Electronic Consumer Goods in autumn and the International Food Fair in January. But none of them are able to generate worldwide daily coverage as the Berlinale does. There are plenty of other events which will draw huge audiences to Berlin but they are immensely popular with the people enjoying it like the Carnival of Cultures in June, the Marathon in September or the Berlin Music Week and Conference which takes place in September as well. To find an overview of all events, exhibitions, festivals or trade fairs from the world of theater, film or music go to this website.

All those events as well as the diverse Berlin night life and the rich history of the city are an important factor for the attractiveness of Berlin. About 11 million Berlin guest stayed in hotels in 2013. A couple of millions more would have stayed with friends or relatives. Even if it looks as if there are more hotels than necessary new hotels are planned or being build even in the 4 to 5 star category. In the 5-star-category the Waldorf Astoria next to the Zoo has opened recently. The range of hotels in Berlin is so rich that everyone can find an accommodation that meets one needs.

Tourism in all its facettes is an important factor for Berlin's economy. Cornelia Yzer, the Berlin Senator of Economy, just stated that the Berlin Film Festival will strengthen the Berlin economy with 125 million euros. The film and television industry of Berlin is the strongest in Germany.

If you plan to come to Berlin and want to visit the festival while being in town you already can make a note in your calendar because the festival takes place every year in February.


picture: the Zoo Palast cinema right across the Waldorf Astoria is one of the main screening venues of the International Film Festival Berlin