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Berlinale is more than just bringing fantastic films or series to the big screen, but also about initiatives to support filmmakers to get their projects off the ground / Photo: © Berlinale

Berlin hosts the world of films as Berlinale 2018 opens

The 68th Berlin International Film Festival – Berlinale – kicks off on 15 February in the German capital city.

The Berlinale is one of the biggest international film festivals alongside the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. Up to 400 films are shown every year, mostly international or European premieres, and the festival, the world’s second largest audiovisual event, sells more than 300,000 tickets and hosts more than 20,000 professional visitors from 128 countries.

Besides German or European cinema and Hollywood blockbusters, the festival’s programme this year also features productions from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Besida (Nigeria) by Chuko Esiri is one of the 11 films that will be screened at the festival / Photo: © Diogo Costa Amarante

 

Berlinale’s 68th edition, which takes place 15–25 February, will also address the #MeToo movement and industry gender parity through side events.

“This year’s Berlinale competition reflects the world as it is,” festival director Dieter Kosslick said at a press conference on Tuesday in the German capital. “And the world is complex, many-layered and also exciting.”

Kosslick talked about the debates around sexual violence and gender discrimination in the global film industry — including in Germany — since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last October.

A total of 24 films will be screened as part of the festival’s Competition, 19 of which will be eligible for the Golden Bear, the top prize awarded for Best Film, and the Silver Bears awarded for individual contributions such as best directing, acting and screenplay.

After last year’s successful debut, European Film Market’s ‘Berlinale Africa Hub’ is back and will provide a platform for African filmmakers and creatives to discuss and network within the international film industry / Photo: © Berlinale

 

Four German films are among the contenders: “Transit” by Christian Petzold about an exiled writer during the Nazi era; the relationship drama “In the Corridors” (“In den Gängen”) by Thomas Stuber; “3 Days in Quiberon” directed by Emily Atef on the life of actress Romy Schneider; and the family drama “My Brother is named Robert and is an Idiot” by Philip Grönig.

The Norwegian production “Utoya 22 July,” about the 2011 terror attack on the same-named island in which 77 people were killed by shooter Anders Behring Breivik, rounds off the competition list. Its screening will be a world premiere.

A total of around 400 films, including 11 from Africa, are set to run at the 11-day festival.

Among Africans films to be screened in Berlin are Afrique, La Pensee En Mouvement Part I & II by Jean-Pierre Bekolo; Besida by Chuko Esiri; Kinshasa Makambo – On The Other Side Of Freedom by Dieudo Hamadi; and Maki’la by Machérie Ekwa Bahango.

Who doesn’t love breaking new ground and reaching out beyond? The festival is “super proud” to show the first film from Rwanda making it into the Berlinale Shorts Competition. Samuel Ishimwe’s ‘Imfura’ is set in post-genocide Rwanda and traces the conflict of a young boy caught between the contradictions of a changing society / Photo: © Berlinale

 

The Berlinale Africa Hub, a communication and networking platform for the African film industry, will hold its second edition from 16-21 February.

Thanks to a very successful 2017 event, the Hub will again offer a focused range of events such as panels, presentations and talks and allow distributors, buyers, filmmakers and other professionals of the creative industries from or with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa to come together to meet and to network.

The Berlinale Africa Hub is an initiative of the European Film Market (EFM), supported by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office and in co-operation with the World Cinema Fund, Berlinale Talents (including its sister programme Talents Durban) and the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

Femi Awoniyi

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