Berlin attendees throw parties as fest cuts back


It's the first weekend of a rocking Berlin Film Festival and it has just dawned on industryites that they're thirsty, hungry and could do with a dance.

Festival organizers are overseeing one of the busiest events ever but with no extra budget allocated by the federal government and sponsors, they've had to shelve several of the usual evening shindigs.

Official party casualties include the festival's closing night party and opening night blowouts for the festival's Panorama and Forum sidebars.

Panorama has opted to host a small-scale drinks reception with talent and selected journalist instead of the normal all-accred blowout.

But help is at hand for those looking for a good time at someone else's expense, with several company market regulars stepping in this year to fill up evening diaries.

Mini-major Lionsgate set the tone for the weekend with a glowstick-heavy evening cocktails Friday complete with fried rice cakes and waitresses dressed as saucy nurses.

Buyers sipped vodka cocktails from test tubes while watching promo footage from the company's upcoming horror opera "Repo! The Genetic Opera" before dinner beckoned.

Fortissimo Films also hosted evening cocktails for high-profile bizzers to celebrate its recent deal with Charles Roven and his Mosaic Media Group.

The Danish Film Institute splashed some euros and held a packed and sweaty soiree at the Sorrisi E Canzoni restaurant later that evening with the Scandi's showing no signs of tempering their reputations as serious drinkers.

Across town, Bavaria Film International pulled out all the stops for the premiere of "Berlin Alexanderplatz: Remastered," renting the legendary kino Admiralspalast.

The German sales powerhouse provided a classy night of entertainment which, in addition to the restored Fassbinder classic, including the 1930's-style warbling of Berlin performer Max Raabe.

The French presence on the party circuit was bolstered by Studio Canal, which rented a modern makeover of a grungy squat named High End 54. But a five-person-deep bar area presented a challenge to thirsty attendees while a Che Guevera lookalike turned the wheels of steel.

Car giant Volkswagen gave its traditional people's night in the swanky Borchardt eaterie, which was packed with a who's who of the German industry.

Attendees included director's Sonke Wortmann and Oskar Roehler and actors Nadia Uhl, Christian Ulmen and Jessica Schwarz.

Saturday night kicked off with a giant Talent Campus opener, with the young emerging talent partying at the Hallesches Ufer to the wee hours.

Norwegian Films also partied at the fittingly named Oxymoron club while Karl Lagerfeld's folks were dressing up Saturday night for a clubnite at The Corner.

And that's not all folks. Cinema For Peace charity gala will open its doors this week while Hugo Boss, the German fashion house, will tailor to people's desires later.

So here's to the next few nights.