The Berllnale International Film Festival is one of the highlights of Berlin’s events calendar and the 66th Berlinale starts in just a few days!
This year’s festival will be held from February 11th – February 21st at numerous locations across the city and as always the programme is diverse and fantastic. Don’t worry if you’ll miss it this time – it rolls around every February and is always a great time to visit Berlin.
The programme includes more than 400 films and the Berlinale will welcome over 20,000 film industry professionals from 128 countries to Berlin. The choice of films can be overwhelming but if you only have a few days in the city, the best option is to find the cinemas closest to you and search for films screening at those venues. Most of the action is at Potsdamer Platz, however for guests at Berlin Apartment, one of the city’s most beloved cinemas – Kino International – is less than a kilometre away on Karl Marx Allee. The online programme has a ‘search by venue’ function so if you choose Kino International and ‘All Dates’, ‘All Times’ you’ll get quite a list to choose from!
There are also screenings at Cubix at Alexanderplatz and you can always just get a train to Potsdamer Platz to feel the festival spirit. There’s red carpet events, a street food festival and plenty of fans hovering about trying to get a glimpse of their favourite celebrities.
The programme this year is topical with a lot of the films dealing with issues of migration and life as a refugee. There are also plenty of lighthearted, moving, inspiring and thought provoking moments to be had. Films come from all over the world and are screened in their original language with English subtitles, so it doesn’t matter if you’re German, Australian, Egyptian, Norwegian,Russian or Vietnamese – there’s something for everyone in the Berlinale programme.
Tickets can be a challenge but the ticket section of the website has all the information you need and if you’re comfortable with spontaneity just drop into a nearby participating cinema and see what they have tickets for. Another great option is to get to the cinema just before the screening, when all remaining tickets are sold for half price in the 30 minutes before the film starts. This of course is more specific to smaller independent films. The red carpet premieres, bigger productions and films in competition usually sell out pretty fast so if you’re really keen to see any of them, check out the screening times and get down to the ticket office at Potsdamer Platz to queue up. Check for specifics as most advance tickets go on sale at a certain time 3 or 4 days before and it’s definitely a case of first in first served.
The Berlinale always has special moments and events to look forward to and this year is no different. The sections and special presentations are the heart of the festival, but Berliners in particular will be looking forward to a special tribute being held to their favourite adopted artist David Bowie. Meryl Streep is the International Jury President this year and other celebrities expecting to attend include George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Julianne Moore and Colin Firth.
So if you happen to be in Berlin over the next two weeks we compliment you on your excellent timing! If not, there’s always next year and film lovers should not really be anywhere but here in Germany – the traditional home of cinema.