- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The Berlin International Film Festival has cut three days off its official screening schedule for 2022 and introduced new coronavirus measures, requiring attendees to be both fully vaccinated or recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection, plus show a recent negative COVID test.
Berlin 2022 will now run Feb. 10-16, with the festival’s Gold and Silver Bear honors handed out on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The final four days of the festival, Feb. 17-20, will feature repeat screenings of festival titles in cinemas around the German capital. Traditionally, Berlin sets aside one day for these “public screenings.”
In addition, Berlin will reduce seating capacity in festival cinemas by 50 percent to allow for social distancing. All parties, receptions and other public events have been cancelled. The festival, however, said film teams will still be able to walk the red carpet and talk to the press in front of the Berlinale Palast, the festival’s main venue.
The new safety regulations — known in Germany as “2G-plus” — are required under stricter rules introduced by the German government, as well as Berlin state legislators to stem the rapid spread of omicron, the new, highly-contagious variant of the coronavirus. Germany on Wednesday recorded more than 80,000 new coronavirus infections, an all-time record.
While other festivals, including Sundance and the International Film Festival Rotterdam, have gone online-only in response to the omicron surge, Berlin is determined to hold an in-person event.
“We want to make the Berlinale possible, and according to current deliberations, we can achieve this,” said German culture minister Claudia Roth in a statement. “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.”
The German exhibitors’ association, HDF Kino, welcomed the decision to hold an in-person festival as a celebration of cinema.
“We’re delighted and thankful that culture minister Roth worked so hard and in close coordination with festival management and all other authorities and colleagues to make it possible to have [an in-person] Berlinale in 2022,” HDF Kino chairperson Christine Berg said in a statement. “This festival is incredibly important for the national and international film world right now, and for the city of Berlin, it’s a glimmer of hope and an important signal for all [of us] in the film and culture industries in these demanding times.”
“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,” said Berlin festival co-directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian. “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.”
Berlin’s industry section, the European Film Market, announced last week that it would be going online-only.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day