Berlin Film Festival Confirms Shortened In-Person Event With 50% Seating Capacity, No Parties and Receptions

The Berlin Film Festival will go ahead as an in-person event, albeit with seating capacity in movie theaters reduced to 50% and without any parties or receptions. The dates of the fest have also been adjusted, with the 72nd Berlinale running only from Feb. 10-16, rather than for the full 11 days through to Feb. 20 as previously planned.

“Following recent decisions by the Federal Government and the Berlin Senate, the previously developed hygiene and security measures have been reviewed once again, so that the 2022 festival can be organized as an in-person 2G-plus event (additional masking and testing requirement),” the festival said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Berlinale has developed a new concept so that it can fly the flag for culture emphatically, even in these times of pandemic. The focus this year, therefore, will be on cinema screenings in the Berlinale venues. The health and safety of the audience at all events and strict compliance with the current hygiene regulations remain the top priority.”

The festival will start on Feb. 10 as scheduled with an opening ceremony at the Berlinale Palast. Following that, until Feb. 16, film teams will present their films personally to the public and accredited audiences at the premieres at the various Berlinale cinemas. There will be red carpets in the presence of media and accredited guests alongside photo calls for individual films.

The award ceremonies will take place Feb. 16.

Germany’s State Minister for Culture and Media, Claudia Roth, said: “We want to make the Berlinale possible, and according to current deliberations, we can achieve this. We want the festival to send a signal to the entire film industry, to cinemas and moviegoers, and to culture as a whole. We need cinema, we need culture. Of course, in today’s times, this can only be managed with some painful cuts and with constant vigilance. The pandemic situation is dynamic, and the Berlinale is adapting to the resulting challenges.”

Berlinale directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian added: “We are aware of the challenges posed by the unpredictable course of the pandemic. At the same time, we believe that culture plays such a fundamental role in society that we do not want to lose sight of this aspect.

“We would like to enable festival screenings for our audiences and filmmakers even in these times of pandemic. With our new concept, we are focusing fully on the cinematic experience and reducing the formation of groups. The key thing is to give audiences and film teams a collective experience of cinema with this changed concept, while reducing the number of face-to-face encounters in compliance with the corona regulations. Our international guests are keen to present their work on site.”

The European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and World Cinema Fund will take place online. Variety was first to report on the virtual EFM last week.

Dennis Ruh, director of the EFM, said: “The decision to realize the EFM 2022 as a purely digital event was an extremely difficult one to make. The great need for the sales industry to meet physically had been reflected in the considerable number of bookings for exhibition spaces, accreditation and physical market screenings. However, the high frequency of face-to-face encounters in regular market trading is not feasible at the moment. So, we are relying on our digital offers, which already proved their worth for the trade-fair business ‘on remote’ last year.”

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