Like the rest of the world, we are shocked by the situation in Ukraine and express our fullest solidarity with all the victims of this war. #StandWithUkraine also applies to all of us in the film industry, and German Films supports any initiative that aims to help those affected. In addition to fundraising campaigns such as those being run by AG DOK or the Producers Association, there is naturally a special focus on support programmes for Ukrainian filmmakers, for example those of the European Film Academy or the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk, in which German sponsors are involved to the tune of 100 million euros.
Before the war broke out, the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival took place – and was a huge success despite a tightened hygiene and security concept. 156,000 tickets sold despite only 50 per cent filling of the cinemas testifies to the audience‘s unbroken enthusiasm for films from all around the world. The professional audience also returned to the Berlinale, including about 1,400 journalists from 65 countries, many of whom also found their way to our panel, “Face to Face with German Films”.
The European Film Market (EFM), the Berlinale Co-Production Market (where five German producers were guests at the invitation of German Films), Berlinale Talents and the World Cinema Fund’s WCF Day did not take place in person but predominantly via online formats. This did not diminish their success, as EMF director Dennis Ruh emphasises: “Once again, the EFM has generated distinct and important momentum for the film and content trade on its traditional date at the beginning of the film year.”
As usual, German films were represented strongly in all sections of the festival. AEIOU – A QUICK ALPHABET OF LOVE by Nicolette Krebitz and Andreas Dresen’s RABIYE KURNAZ VS. GEORGE W. BUSH were screened in the Competition, for example, with the latter being awarded two Silver Bears by the jury: to Meltem Kaptan as Best Leading Performance and the screenplay by Laila Stieler. Another success of note was the agreement on common standards for green shooting, announced at the Berlinale by the federal government, the federal states and industry representatives.
Fortunately, festivals have been and are again being planned as in-person events elsewhere as well. One successful event for our German Films Office in New York, for example, was SXSW 2022 in Austin, Texas, where the independent American film industry was widely represented and five German co-productions were screened in the official programme.
And, of course, all eyes are on Cannes: from 17-26 May, German Films will again be represented at the 75th International Film Festival with the German Pavilion in the Village International Riviera; this alongside Focus Germany, the umbrella organisation of the eight largest German film funding organisations. Two young German producers will take part in the Marché du Films‘ new workshop programme impACT Lab, in which German Films is a cooperating partner. And this year, the short film programme Next Generation Short Tiger, which will premiere at Filmfest Dresden, can be seen again at the Croisette.
We look forward to seeing you again soon!
Yours, Simone Baumann