Berlin Film Festival to Hold Physical Event in 2021

Mariette Rissenbeek_Carlo Chatrian_embed - Publicity - EMBED 2020
Alexander Janetzko/Berlinale

Berlinale executive director Mariette Rissenbeek and artistic director Carlo Chatrian.

The Berlin Festival has committed to returning next year but is planning a hybrid physical and online model for the European Film Market.

The Berlin International Film Festival, the last of the big A-list festivals to be held in Europe before the coronavirus lockdown, has committed to holding a physical event next year. The 2021 Berlinale is set to run February 11-21.

Berlin said the festival will be held "in accordance with the then-applicable rules and regulations, thus ensuring the greatest possible security for all guests." For the European Film Market, which runs alongside the festival, Berlin is planning a hybrid physical and online event, to allow industry executives who are unable to travel to virtually screen and sell movies. 

“In times of the corona pandemic, it has become even clearer that we still require analogue experience spaces in the cultural realm," says the director duo of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian. “We are pleased that festivals with physically present audiences are slowly taking place again around the world, and we wish our colleagues much success.”

Berlin said it will announce further changes to the festival structure, including the total number of films it will invite for 2021, within the coming weeks. Separately, Berlin said from next year on it will not award separate acting prizes for male and female performances. Instead, there will be two Silver Bears awarded each year, one for Best Leading Performance and one for Best Supporting Performance. 

“We believe that not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for a more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry,” said Rissenbeek and Chatrian.

Berlin's Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, named after the founder of the festival, Alfred Bauer, has been dropped and replaced with a new Silver Bear Jury Prize. Berlin suspended the Alfred Bauer honor this year after new revelations about Bauer's past revealed he was an active and enthusiastic member of the Nazi Party and a high ranking member of the Nazi's propaganda ministry. Berlin has ordered an independent historical inquiry into the revelations and will report those findings in the coming weeks. 

In a further change, Berlin said for the 2021 event the Generation sidebars Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus, highlighting children and youth films respectively, will only screen full-length productions with a running time of at least 60 minutes. 

Berlin will begin accepting film submissions for next year on September 1, 2020.