The 71st Berlin Film Festival should take place once as planned. A personal festival held in February was always a long shot, but hope jumped forever. Well, that hope has been dashed, according to sources. The German pandemics are going in the wrong direction, so that Berlin is not only planning to postpone the festival, but it will also take place virtually. Not what they were hoping for, of course, but it’s clearly the right call, no question about it. Berlin 2021 will be another festival that takes place in our own four walls instead of in a central location. Read on for more …
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the powers that be in Berlin will announce in the coming days that the festival will take place virtually. The COVID numbers in Germany make it a clear decision, even if the festival programmers were hoping for a face-to-face meeting. Unfortunately, this will not be the case next year, unless something unforeseen …
Here’s a bit of the story of THR:
The Berlin Film Festival is expected to announce this week that it will postpone the dates of its 71st edition, which was originally scheduled for February 11-21, 2021, and will take place as a purely online event.
As COVID-19 infection rates in Germany soared in recent weeks, speculation has increased that Berlin would be forced to move around or go virtual.
On Wednesday, Germany was completely closed and the schools and all non-essential shops and businesses were closed.
Sources close to the festival report that Berlin will postpone the 2021 edition for two weeks until the beginning of March and only go online. The European Film Market (EFM), the industry event that takes place parallel to the Berlinale, is expected to follow.
The EFM had already announced plans to include online screenings and market events in its 2021 edition, but were also hoping for a physical presence. That looks unlikely now.
Instead of the regular festival, Berlin allegedly wants to show its main competition area only online and this summer is hosting a mini-festival with on-site premieres in the German capital. The model would be the three-day festival in Cannes last October, which just ended when France entered its second ban.
It is understood that the Berlinale had plans to postpone the festival to April and hold a face-to-face event, but that the festival government – which provides much of the festival funding – was not ready given the uncertainty about coronavirus infection rates and how To effectively commit to it will be Germany’s second lockdown.
April would probably be too early for international visitors anyway, which would have made the 71st Berlinale a largely European affair. A later date could also conflict with the Cannes festival, which is tentatively slated for May but has plans to move to late June or early July if COVID conditions are not favorable.
The film industry would definitely prefer a market in the first quarter of the year, midway between this year’s (virtual) American film market in November and the virtual or non-virtual market in Cannes in late spring or early summer.
Stay tuned for more!