Berlin International Film Festival: German Foreign Office fosters contacts through film

Berlinale 2020 - Opening Gala

Berlinale 2020 - Opening Gala, © dpa/picture-alliance

25.02.2020 - Article

By presenting more than 340 stories from across the globe, the Berlinale demonstrates how films can bring people and cultures from around the world together. The German Foreign Office funds specially selected projects at the Berlinale, which is the world’s largest film festival open to the public.

For one week every February, Berlin becomes a meeting place for directors, actors, producers and film journalists from more than 90 countries. The Berlin International Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale, transforms the German capital into a Mecca for the film world. Every year, more than 400,000 visitors brave Berlin’s cold February weather to queue at ticket booths so they can see features from Mongolia, short films from Lithuania or documentaries from Brazil.

Berlinale 2020 - Opening party
Berlinale 2020 - Opening party© dpa/picture-alliance

For 70 years now, the Berlinale has proven that film is a global medium that can promote intercultural dialogue. The German Foreign Office helps fund specially selected projects at the festival.

Berlinale Talents: forging new bonds between up-and-coming creatives in the film industry

Berlinale Talents is an initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival. It is one of the pre‑eminent networking platforms and key enablers worldwide for emerging filmmakers. Each February, outstanding creatives from the fields of directing, producing, acting, screenwriting, cinematography, editing, production design, film criticism, sales and distribution, score composition and sound design are invited to take part in Berlinale Talents. The selected individuals take part in a six‑day programme that incorporates discussions, workshops and networking events.

Berlinale Talents 2019: Young filmmakers from around the world
Berlinale Talents 2019: Young filmmakers from around the world© Bettina Ausserhofer / Berlinale 2019

From Nepal to South Africa, by way of Georgia: 255 talents from over 80 countries are participating in the programme in 2020. This year’s theme “Collectives” will permeate their exchanges with more than 150 film-makers, activists and artists from the film industry and civil society.

World Cinema Fund: promoting diversity in cinema on a global scale

For more than 15 years, the World Cinema Fund has provided funding for films that might never be made without its support, thereby ensuring that unusual images are seen and moving stories heard from regions without much infrastructure for film and cinema. Thanks to the Fund, films can be made that give audiences an authentic view of the regions they portray. The Fund’s focal regions are Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Funding goes to film production, as well as to distribution so that films can be screened in Germany. In this way, the World Cinema Fund, which receives German Foreign Office funding, creates a more diverse film culture – around the world and in German cinemas.

Africa Hub: a platform for African Cinema

Berlinale Africa Hub: International Forum with a view to Africa
Berlinale Africa Hub: International Forum with a view to Africa© Lia Darjes / European Film Market 2019

The image of Africa that is presented in European and American films is often full of clichés. But what stories do African films tell about the various countries and cultures on the continent? And how can talented people from African countries be supported? Helping African film culture extend its international reach is an important way of promoting intercultural dialogue.

The German Foreign Office has therefore funded an African presence at the Berlinale European Film Market for the past few years, with the aim of bringing African film-makers together with German producers. The Africa Hub is now well‑established and should this year be financed through contributions from African film companies. The spotlight will be on Sudanese films.

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