One of the world’s most prestigious film festivals kicks off this week with 10 days of screenings and more than 400 films on the programme. In its 68th year, the Berlinale is divided into 9 sections, the most coveted being the Competition section, where films vie for the Golden and Silver Bear Awards.
This year there are no less than 12 films from the Baltic region in the Competition section as well as countless other Baltic talents involved in almost all other sections. Outside of Competition there are numerous Baltic treasures to be found at the festival and the online programme offers a handy ‘Search by Country’ feature, allowing you to focus in on your own favourite Baltic destination.
A great place to start is the unmissable German documentary by Heinz Brinkmann Usedom - Clear View at the Sea. Featured in the Berlinale Special section, it provides some fascinating history of the Baltic island from its glory days as a luxurious health resort holiday destination, through to the GDR era and the turbulent years of war and Nazism. One for the teenagers is Denmark by Vejle (Denmark) born filmmaker Kasper Rune Larsen. Dealing with teenage life, loves and pregnancy, the film is a highlight of the Generation section.
On to the Competition and the line-up of co-productions between Baltic and other European countries is nothing short of inspiring. If you had doubts about the Baltic region’s capacity and passion for cultural expression, then a dozen of its films making it as finalists, in one of the world’s most highly regarded film prizes must surely convince you now.
There are 24 finalists in the Competition and half of these are from Baltic region filmmakers or co-productions. Germany is involved in no less than 7 of those co-productions and the others are as follows:
A diverse and well respected international jury will decide on the awards and the panel includes director, screenwriter, film composer, and producer Tom Tykwer (Germany), actress Cécile de France (Belgium), photographer and former director of the Filmoteca Española Chema Prado (Spain), producer Adele Romanski (USA), composer Ryūichi Sakamoto (Japan), and film critic Stephanie Zacharek (USA). Each bring expertise from their respective fields and art forms to the judging panel of the competition. The Golden and Silver Bear prizes, will be awarded on Saturday 24th February at an event at the Berlinale Palast.
The Berlinale will be held from Thursday 15th February to Sunday 25th February 2018 at various venues in Berlin, Germany. Ticketing information is available here and at various box office locations around the city.
"Culture includes not only culture and arts, but also the way of life and system of values. In this sense culture becomes the major power for intellectual renewal and human perfection." (European Council Report on European Cultural Policy)