Magazine article Screen International

Berlinale Director: No Plans for German MIP

Magazine article Screen International

Berlinale Director: No Plans for German MIP

Article excerpt

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick.

The Berlinale's greater emphasis on television this year should not be interpreted as the first step towards a German MIP, according to festival director Dieter Kosslick.

In an exclusive interview with ScreenDaily, Kosslick said: ¨We don't want to make a MIP TV or MIPCOM, that's as sure as day follows night and anything more would overstretch us.¨

He pointed out that that the Berlinale had had successful screenings of quality TV in the past with such productions as Dominik Graf's Im Namen des Verbrechens, Jane Campion's Top Of The Lake and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz.

"We have now been working for the past two years on this programme which is composed of two parts: a series of discussions on new trends at the EFM and two days of drama series integrated into the festival programme and shown at Haus der Berliner Festspiele,¨ Kosslick explained.

Trend-setting

¨We are opening up a new dimension to the Berlinale that is trend-setting: if this works out, we will definitely continue with the concept. At this point, the natural connection between the festival and this showcase is the fact that many of the directors and talents for these series come from cinema.¨

¨This development goes hand in hand with the fact that people now come to festivals for every stage in the creation of an audiovisual product whether it is to find partners, scripts, financing or contacts," Kosslick added. "My goal at least for the next five years is that the market shouldn't just grow as a market, but be seen in an economic and intellectual context with the festival. However, that doesn't mean if you book a stand in the market that you will then get a slot in the Competition.¨

Challenges

Turning to the particular challenges facing the organisation of the Berlinale's 65th edition which opens on February 5 with Isabelle Coixet's Nobody Wants The Night, Kosslick explained that, although the festival is now completely digitised with its own in-house fibre glass network, the digital era has its downside.

¨We have considerable problems when viewing the films once they have been submitted," he noted. "We are allocated slots when we are supposed to screen the film" with the result that the producers or sales agents know exactly when the festival programmers are viewing the film and are then immediately in contact to see whether the film will be taken or not.

"Moreover, there are various technical formats which first have to be converted here before we can often see anything at all. In spite of all these technological developments, the submitting of the films hasn't got any faster, they are entered even later rather than earlier.¨

Talent and von Trotta

According to Kosslick, the calendar at this time of year is exceptionally busy with the Berlinale competing with other events such as Sundance, the BAFTAs (on February 6) and the Academy Awards (Feb 22).

However, ¨as you can see from the last three or four years, the Berlinale hasn't had any problems getting the talent to come to the festival. You can't expect always the whole cast to come for each film, but we will have the directors and many of the cast members in Berlin to represent their films¨

Star names expected to pass over the red carpet this year include Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Helen Mirren, James Franco, Natalie Portman and David Oyelowo.

Another challenge could have been trying to persuade veteran German director Margarethe von Trotta to have her latest film The Misplaced World premiere at the Berlinale.

Von Trotta has never had the happiest of experiences with the German festival in the past: her 1982 film Heller Wahn was given a critical drubbing and The Promise, a love story between the two Germanies, did not fare much better when it was shown out of competition in the Competition in 1995. …

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