Martina Bleis • Responsabile Berlinale Co-Production Market
"Il cinema unisce le persone, non solo in nome dell'arte e del piacere visivo: ha anche un effetto comunitario e sociale estremamente importante"
- BERLINALE 2023: Abbiamo parlato con la responsabile dell'evento industry di punta dell'EFM per scoprire cosa ha in serbo la sua 20ma edizione
Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.
With the 20th edition of the Berlinale Co-Production Market about to kick off, running from 18-22 February during the European Film Market, we talked to its head, Martina Bleis, to find out more about this year’s highlights.
Cineuropa: What is new for the market this year?
Martina Bleis: We have an exciting new collaboration with our colleagues from the World Cinema Fund: one of their supported projects from 2022 is looking for partners as part of our selection, and they will give out the new WCF Audience Strategies Award, consisting of strategic consultations, to one of our selected projects.
How has the market evolved since its inception?
Over the past 20 years, the Berlinale Co-Production Market has obviously changed a lot: in the beginning, we were initiated by Dieter Kosslick, with our dear colleague Sonja Heinen in the lead, as a place at the Berlinale intended for producers working on international co-productions. We had about 200 participants and more representatives with a project than without one. We now have 600 regular participants, but also additional guests who join in for specific events, plus about 100 up-and-coming producers in our Visitors Programme. All in all, we are now dealing with about 1,000 people on site.
In terms of our selection and handling, we have stayed true to what we started out with: curated meetings in a focused atmosphere for a number of preselected, high-quality feature projects that need to meet strict criteria in our Official Selection, and about ten projects by up-and-coming producers in the Talent Project Market. This has worked out extremely well: people do seem to meet the right partners here, and we’re happy to have seen around 350 finished results come out of our projects, among them the latest two Golden Bear winners – Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn [+leggi anche:
intervista: Radu Jude
scheda film] by Radu Jude and Alcarràs [+leggi anche:
intervista: Carla Simón
intervista: Carla Simón
intervista: Giovanni Pompili
scheda film] by Carla Simón – a Grand Jury Prize winner at Cannes, a Golden Leopard laureate, a Golden Lion winner and some Oscar winners, with Jojo Rabbit [+leggi anche:
scheda film] by Taika Waititi and A Fantastic Woman [+leggi anche:
scheda film] by Sebastián Lelio. Having said that, we don’t only look at awards, but also at the chance to reach markets and the right audiences.
What have the major changes been over the past two decades?
The major changes and additions have been the introduction of Books at Berlinale, which we started as early as 2006 together with Frankfurter Buchmesse – it’s a pitch of around ten new and promising books for adaptation, and basically the first film-rights market at an A-list film festival. Many others have copied the idea in the meantime. Then, the introduction of drama series projects at Co-Pro Series was another major step. Already in our first year, we presented shows like Babylon Berlin. Owing to the high demand, this programme expanded quickly and has led to our event now lasting five days instead of three, with ten projects taking part each year, and again several hundred additional participants coming along. Also, our Company Matching Programme, where meetings are more about slates and strategies, which we first introduced around ten years ago, is an innovative element that brings an additional aspect to our market, and which has sometimes also been picked up by other markets.
What are the key themes that new productions are addressing now, and how relevant is cinema in such a transitional society?
Cinema continues to be our hero/heroine – it brings people together, not only for the sake of art and visual joy, but it also has a hugely important communal and social effect that helps culture to be seen more widely, in a democratic way, while leaving room for diversity and offering us characters we can identify with; thus, we can learn about the world. It opens horizons. And this is, simply put, what we look for in our projects. Empowerment of the people – and particularly of minorities – in the face of war, conservatism and colonialism plays a big role in the projects this year, and universally relevant subject matters like gentrification and climate change are addressed by unique artistic voices. Not all of it is drama, though, despite the serious and relevant topics, both in the Official Selection that I am dealing with, and the Talent Project Market, which is headed up by my dear colleague Kathi Bildhauer – who, like me, has been a team member from the very beginning. I’d say that our 20th-anniversary selection of feature-film projects is a colourful mix that includes coming of age at all ages, film noir, horror, absurd comedies, and wild genre mixes on queer topics, as well as a powerful dose of feminism.
We are hopeful that our attendees will also fall in love with the right projects for them to participate in, and thus we hope to fulfil our role, and contribute to these films being made and being seen as widely as possible. And in this context, I want to add how thankful we are for the possibility to work here in Berlin, with the invaluable support of our main partners, Creative Europe - MEDIA and MDM – Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung. This allows us to work with full creative freedom and to support filmmakers from Europe and around the world, also from countries and regions where this freedom may not be present, and to help them bring their messages to audiences all over the globe.
How has the quality of the projects at Co-Pro Series evolved?
The quality of the series projects has been extremely high from the start – in the first two years, we basically handpicked a few projects. Nowadays, we get more than 200 submissions – we really have a hard time selecting the ten we present, as we read so many diverse and good projects each year! Projects now often apply at rather early stages, and that’s not easy to judge. And they often team up early on, so then our question during the selection process is whether we can still help them bring partners on board. We always try to identify projects that we can help – it’s not always easy, as drama-series projects sometimes move forward very quickly.
What are the trends in the new series?
Regarding new projects, I guess there is a trend towards miniseries – we read quite a few of them, and there are some in our selection. The themes are really varied: family relationships and inclusion, but also corruption, drug experiments and, again, climate change. As usual, thrillers are well represented, some playing out in breath-taking settings. But dramas are not lacking either, and overall, the theme of belonging plays a big role. The time periods covered in the series are quite contemporary this time – they range from the 1960s to the future.
Could you give us an overview of Books at Berlinale?
Books at Berlinale, which is masterfully run by our colleague Henning Adam, has been an integral part of the Berlinale Co-Production Market since 2006. Meanwhile, books have become popular as source material not only for films, but also for series – probably one of the reasons why the interest from producers is continually increasing. This time, more than 190 books from over 30 countries were submitted for Books at Berlinale, and we have 11 books from publishers, agencies and authors in Austria, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and the UK in the selection. The stories cover a wide range of subject matters, and here, a few more historical topics can also be seen – and again, many family stories. We will once again organise the Books at Berlinale presentation, moderated by Syd Atlas, who is famous for hosting this session and supporting the projects. And we also schedule a matchmaking session with around 100 meetings, where selected publishers and literary agents meet producers for one-on-one talks.
Ti è piaciuto questo articolo? Iscriviti alla nostra newsletter per ricevere altri articoli direttamente nella tua casella di posta.