As the Berlinale comes to an end, I thought we’d recap the last few months in a much belated blog update.
The end of year saw the departure of our two trainees Megan Barr (Wake Forest University, North Carolina) and Lindsey Steer (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities), who returned to the US in December. Before they left, we all attended the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Agora Market and Crossroads meetings) together, to get a taster for this very respected and profile festival. The weather was somewhat rainy throughout, a contrast with the previous year, but we had some time between meetings to wander into the old town and sample the cuisine. I think most delegates just about spend all their time eating! The crossroads (coproduction) meetings were a very welcome to this year’s circuit of copro events. The programme had been trimmed slightly, so projects were generally in further stages of financing, very concise, and from a mix of well established as well as grass-roots level, including a few we’d met with previously at other events. Of this year’s works in progress I noticed a few which successfully launched at the Berlinale last week.
From there, we stopped by the Mannheim Meeting Place for a few days, an industry gathering which condenses seminars, match-making, coproduction meetings, as well as sales meetings. There’s nothing really like it. The event, run by industry veteran Julek Kedzierski, invites one participant per country working in a field of areas. MMP has for the last two years proven to be one of the most productive events of its kind for both acquisitions and sales, so we were very happy to return.
Ines in the meanwhile flew to the Tallinn International Film Festival in its first year as a FIAPF accredited A-Class festival, also participating in the Baltic Event – for us not the second year at the coproduction market. Our new colleague Ameline Thomas in the meanwhile scouted a couple festivals in Paris (PIFFF – Paris International Fantastic Film Festival) and Cheris-Cheries (Forum des Images) where we had previously had selections.
The new year saw Ines attend the Trieste Film Festival – East Meets West coproduction meetings, with Ameline attending Cinemart at Rotterdam only a few days later. We all regrouped a week later at the Berlinale for the European Film Market, where we presented DER BUNKER (The Bunker) screening in the Deutsches Perspektive Kino, and other additions including CALL ME MARIANNA (Karolina Bielawska) and PONTO ZERO (Jose Pedro Goulart) both in post production, and EL TIEMPO NUBLADO (Arami Ullon) and UNTER DER HAUT (Claudia Lorenz) which opened the Solothurn Film Festival in Switzerland earlier in January. The Bunker received rave reviews across the board, with the Hollywood Reporter naming it the best German-speaking film at the festival, and some strong offers across the slate.
The general market was described by many as a slow year, with many competition titles screening towards the end of the festival (when many buyers had left), and a quieter feeling amongst the stands – though to be honest that tends to be something we point out every year. I think it was generally a good year for the programme, but maybe not an exceptional year, though that said we don’t get many opportunities to see films when working at the market. Some time in Berlin was also dedicated to the Coproduction Market which features many really great projects and master filmmakers, so all in all a very hectic but very good third Berlinale for the company.