New Berlin Film Festival Bosses Unveil Selection Committee, Panorama Section Head

Filmstifftung NRW

Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian will replace longtime Berlin festival director Dieter Kosslick in June.

Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek, the new dual heads of the Berlin International Film Festival, have unveiled their first changes ahead of taking over from longtime Berlin Festival director Dieter Kosslick this summer.

On Thursday, Chatrain, Berlin artistic director, and executive director Rissenbeek appointed a new seven-member selection committee for the 2020 Berlinale, as well as a new head of programming and new directors for the festival's Panorama and Berlinale Shorts sidebars.

“We inherit a festival which is not only recognized as one of the biggest in the world but also plays a significant role in the international film industry,” Chatrain and Rissenbeek said in a joint statement. “We are aware of the huge task we have in front of us and thank longtime festival director Dieter Kosslick for the work that he has done. We wish to maintain the Berlinale as an audience festival and as a festival for Berlin, and we are looking forward to embracing the new challenges and opportunities that cinema in 21st century offers.”

Chatrain, who comes to Berlin from the Locarno Film Festival, where he was artistic director for many years, named Mark Peranson the new head of programming for Berlin. He will oversee the seven-member team that selects the competition titles for next year's event. Originally from Toronto, Peranson was head of programming in Locarno from 2013 until 2018.

Other members of Chatrian's Locarno programming team joining him in Berlin will be Lorenzo Esposito, Sergio Fant and Aurelie Godet. The other members of the selection team include Paz Lazaro, director and curator of Berlin's Panorama section in 2018 and 2019; Verena von Stackelberg, the film programmer at Berlin's Soho House and managing director at local cinema Wolf Kino; and Barbara Wurm, an expert on Eastern European cinema and member of the selection committee for the goEast Film Festival.

The appointments, with their apparently strong emphasis on international art house cinema, should be welcomed by those who criticized the Berlin festival selection under Dieter Kosslick as lacking a clear critical focus.  

Michael Stutz, who together with Paz Lazaro was manager and curator of the Panorama section in 2018 and 2019, will take over the running of the main festival sidebar as of 2020. Stutz has been a part of the Panorama team since 2006 and is a coordinator of Berlin's queer film prize, the Teddy Award.

Film programmer Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck will take over as section head for the Berlinale Shorts section on short films, replacing Maike Mia Hohne, who is moving to a new post as artistic director of the Hamburg International Short Film Festival.

Chatrian and Rissenbeek also clarified their roles as dual heads in Berlin, with Chatrain saying he was responsible for the festival's “artistic profile” and programming selection while Rissenbeek, who comes to Berlin from international film promotion group German Films, focusing on “financing and organization” and the support of the business side of Berlin, including the European Film Market, the Berlinale co-production market, Berlinale Talents and the World Cinema Fund.