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“The starting signal for a new campaign”

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Dieter Kosslick • Director, Berlin Film Festival


- Berlin International Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick speaks to Cineuropa about this year’s festival programme, technological changes and the new focus on TV drama series

Dieter Kosslick  • Director, Berlin Film Festival

As the 65th Berlin International Film Festival gets under way, Cineuropa has a chat with its director, Dieter Kosslick, to discuss the trends that feature in this year’s selection of films and the spotlight being shone on television drama serials at the gathering.

Cineuropa: All around the world, we have to deal with climate change, digital change and huge changes in our society. How are these developments reflected in the Berlinale films?
Dieter Kosslick: First of all, digital development is also changing the Berlinale itself. Meanwhile, we are receiving almost all of the films in digital formats, so we don’t have a film store anymore. Instead, we have a film office because we transmit almost all of the movies via a fibre-optic network to the cinemas. Fifty out of the total number of 63 screens we are using are connected to this fibre-optic network. In total, we are showing 441 films in which social, political and technological changes are reflected in one way or another.

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Are there certain themes that characterise the programme?
The trends reflect what is happening in our society. A lot of stories deal with migration and issues related to women. We are presenting films from women about women, such as the opening film, Nobody Wants the Night [+see also:
film review
making of
film focus
interview: Isabel Coixet
film profile
by Isabel Coixet.

How political are the movies?
The competition entry The Pearl Button [+see also:
film review
film profile
by Patricio Guzmán is highly politically charged. After a man who had been tortured in Guantanamo published his book, the whole world was shocked about what had been happening to these people who didn’t even get a trial. In his film, Guzmán points out how human beings were tortured and killed during the Pinochet regime in Chile.

Will Jafar Panahi be coming to Berlin with his film Taxi?
The film was neither sent to us in a cake, as it was at Cannes, nor by taxi, but rather through channels that are normally used for these kinds of films. That is all I can say. Taxi is a beautiful movie that reflects Panahi’s own situation in Iran. 

Internationally, there is increasing demand for TV drama series, which will be satisfied by the Berlinale through a new programme. Are you planning to generate new audiences?
For two days, we will present previews of TV drama series for the audiences in the Haus der Festspiele. For a couple of years now, TV drama series have proven very popular, and we are responding to that interest. We will show series from Germany, Europe and the US. We already have some experience because we presented House of Cards and Top of the Lake at the Berlinale, but also Im Angesichts des Verbrechens (In the Face of Crime) and Dreileben. TV drama series will also be an issue at the European Film Market (EFM) on Monday and Tuesday. These serials are an important new element at the EFM that we have been preparing for two years. This is the starting signal for a new campaign that deals with series and storytelling for series. 

Will the EFM become a pre-MIP event?
Not at all – we don’t want either a MIPTV or a MIPCOM in Berlin. Since there is a huge overlap between the production of TV drama series and films with regard to directors, producers and actors, we are looking for a certain kind of TV drama series.

The whole media industry is on the cusp of change. TV drama series are screened in cinemas, movie directors such as Woody Allen are working for Amazon, and veteran independent producer Ted Hope is heading the new feature-film department at Amazon. Are the EFM and the Berlinale Co-Production Market reflecting these trends by opening up to TV drama series?
Absolutely – we will discuss new distribution methods at the European Film Market. Among the panelists are representatives from Alibaba in China who have a lot of experience with downloads and streaming in the consumer market.


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