Carlo Chatrian, Mariette Rissenbeek Named New Berlin Festival Bosses

Filmstifftung NRW
Mariette Rissenbeek, Carlo Chatrian

Artistic director Chatrian and managing director Rissenbeek will take over from outgoing Berlinale boss Dieter Kosslick after next year's festival.

The German Culture Ministry on Friday confirmed that Carlo Chatrian, current artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, will take over the same position at the Berlin International Film Festival, replacing outgoing Berlinale boss Dieter Kosslick after next year's fest.

Joining Chatrian in the newly created position of Berlinale managing director will be Mariette Rissenbeek, currently head of international film promotion body German Films. Chatrian will handle film selection and the artistic vision of the Berlinale, while Rissenbeek will oversee the business of the fest, including organization and sponsorship. Previously, Kosslick had handled both jobs.

"Carlo Chatrian will take over the artistic-curatorial direction of the Berlinale," German culture minister Monika Grutters announced in Berlin. "Mariette Rissenbeek will stand by him as managing director. The future of the Berlinale is in good, and proven, hands."

Chatrian's appointment had leaked to the German media earlier this week, and the naming of the 46-year-old Italian has been widely praised. Chatrian has been artistic director at the Locarno Film Festival since 2012 and is respected as a cineaste with a sharp critical eye; Locarno winners under his tenure have included Hong Sang-soo's Right Now, Wrong Then and From What Is Before from pioneering Filipino director Lav Diaz. He has also shown his affinity for Hollywood productions, programming public screenings in Locarno of such films as Jason Bourne, The Big Sick and Atomic Blonde.

Grutters noted that Chatrain is known for programming a "very good, artistically challenging" mix of films and for "a focus on still undiscovered talent."

Rissenbeek is seen as a safe pair of hands for the management position and has close ties to the German industry, parts of which have been vocal in their criticism of Kosslick. Last year, 79 German directors, including Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann) and Fatih Akin (In the Fade), signed an open letter calling for a “new beginning” after the Kosslick era that can “renew and revive” the Berlinale. Critics have accused him of being tone deaf to new directions in international cinema and for allowing the festival to grow too large and unwieldy, with more than 400 films screening every year.

Rissenbeek, who also has experience as a producer and in the film acquisition business, will be the first woman to manage one of Europe's top festivals.

Chatrian and Rissenbeek will take their positions following the 2019 Berlinale.