Carlo Chatrian to head up Berlinale
by Vassilis Economou
- Artistic director of Locarno Film Festival set to replace Dieter Kosslick at the end of his term in May 2019
According to multiple German media sources, Carlo Chatrian will be the new artistic director of the Berlin Film Festival, replacing the outgoing director, Dieter Kosslick, whose contract is due to expire on 31 May 2019. The official announcement expected to confirm this news is set to be released by the Berlin Film Festival on Friday.
Born in Turin, Italy, Chatrian is currently in his sixth year as the artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival. During his term, the 8,000-seat Piazza Grande has welcomed some of the most prominent European and worldwide cinema auteurs, enhancing the notoriety of this Swiss venue among cinephiles, but the director has also worked hard to boost the wider appeal of the festival, ensuring a handful of audience-friendly Hollywood titles are included in the mix each year, further increasing the popularity of the event.
The Berlinale’s needs, however, look set to be slightly different. As of its 2020 edition, Chatrian will be responsible for curating over 400 international and world premieres in the main and side sections of the world’s most popular festival, which boasts somewhere in the region of 500,000 admissions year on year. He will also be set the task of attracting and ensuring a better balance of industry guests at the festival, who tend to focus on, or are entirely focused on, attending the European Film Market, the business hub of the Berlinale which is the second biggest market after Cannes. And these objectives must all be met within a budget of €25 million.
Kosslick, who has served as artistic director of the Berlinale since 2001, is having to step down following his completion of an 18-year term and in the midst of a tide of criticism that has come in response to a number of recent decisions made by the director. In November 2017, 79 of the most recognized German directors, film and industry professionals published an open letter asking for “a fresh start” for the Berlinale, for a new director with “an outstanding curatorial personality, who is passionate about cinema”, in a bid to place Berlin on an equal footing with Cannes and Venice.
It should be noted that in addition to his role as artistic director, Kosslick also serves as the Berlinale’s commercial director, and it is unclear as yet whether Chatrian will also be taking over this position or whether the festival intends to split the two top jobs between two different candidates. Since February, there has been much speculation over whether a woman might be appointed as the head of the Berlinale following the end of Kosslick’s term, so it’s all still to play for at this stage.
Chatrian has not yet commented on these news reports and, true to form, in response to speculation over his potential leadership of the Berlinale, during an interview for the German newspaper Die Zeit dating back to last year, he replied: “Berlinale is a fantastic festival with enormous potential, but I don’t think I’d be suitable as I don’t speak German.”
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