Dear Visitors

This website predominantly reflects current research results pertaining to the German film festival landscape. Growing international interest has prompted us to also offer the contents successively in English. We appreciate your understanding, should you encounter any content that is still only in German.
Many thanks for your interest, The Team

Film festivals – the most important market and audience access points for film culture

Tomorrow, the Sundance Film Festival, the world’s most important platform for independent film, kicks off, and with it the most significant serve for some 70 productions in search of buyers (see: Chris Lindahl/ Indiewire). For long, every conceivable precaution had been taken – including a dedicated vaccination station – to implement an onsite festival despite the pandemic situation. But due to the Omicron spread in the U.S., this was not to succeed in Park City any more than for the European Annual Kick-Off Film Festival in Rotterdam. The International Film Festival Rotterdam had already declared the move to the digital space and the restriction of the program as unavoidable just before the Christmas vacation.

As announced today at the press confeence of the Berlinale, despite the rising incidences, they had chosen a strategy that focuses on films, screenings and audiences. A concept based on equalization and a decentralization of screenings and, despite a significant increase in submissions, a program reduction to 256 feature-length and short films (340 films in 2020). In 2020, the Berlinale was the last film festival before Covid went global, and in 2021 the audience events were moved to the summer. We can be curious whether the Berlinale will succeed in defying Omicron as Berlin’s most important cultural event.

New year, new luck – film festivals in the new dual format

After a series of denials of the Berlinale to limit itself to an online offering in February, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) follows suit today with similar news. While the IFFR had already moved its industry events such as the film market CineMart and the Rotterdam Lab into the digital space, they seem to be sticking to an on-site edition despite the pandemic developments worsening because of the Omikron variant. Sundance, too, had already presented its screening concept with the three pillars in person/on-site, online and satellite screenings, a concept that in the meantime has also been adopted by the kick-off of the German film festival season, the Filmfest Max Ophüls Preis.

HessenFilm affirms innovative strength of film festivals in the crisis

According to Managing Director Anna Schoeppe, the film festivals in Hessen have once again impressed with numerous „creative and forward-looking ideas and approaches“. Against this background, it seems more than strategically sensible to place the Hessian film festival landscape on a solid and future-proof basis and consequently to strengthen it again with a higher budget. The aspect of fair pay and thus targeted countermeasures to the often prevailing precarious working conditions are in the foreground. This is an important step, especially in light of the growing shortage of skilled workers in the film festival and cinema sector.

Förderfonds de⁺ Goethe-Institut launches new funding program for film festivals

In cooperation with the German Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut is launching a new funding program for film festivals in Germany with an international focus. The Förderfonds de⁺ supports festivals that have an international profile or would like to develop one. The total amount of funding is 200,000 euros per year, and an external jury decides on the award in two rounds of calls for proposals each year. Film festivals and film institutions based in Germany are eligible to apply. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2021.
Information on application, funding guidelines, deadlines here

Film Culture Check for the Bundestag Election: 8 Questions to 7 Parties on the Future of Cinema and Film Culture

The Initiative Future Cinema+Film (IZK+F), an alliance of professional associations, interest groups and networks in film culture and the film industry, had asked seven political parties eight questions about their visions of the future of cinema and film culture, so-called Wahlprüfsteine. The questions take a critical look at a cinema situation characterized by disruptive change and, with the demand for more artistic diversity in German film, point to a necessary paradigm shift. The questions and answers in German can be found here
as well as an overview of the positions can be found here

Film festivals back as meeting places for film lovers as for filmmakers

While the Berlinale Summer Special with 16 open-air venues (June 9-20) was celebrated as a summer fairy tale even before the first screening, while Cannes made surprising concessions to gender parity at the festival, which was postponed until July 6-17, and Tribecca prepared to extend its presence to the entire city of New York for the first time from June 9-20, Austria sent audiences and creatives alike into a veritable festival frenzy with a festival trifecta (Vienna Independent Short, Crossing Europe Linz, Diagonale Film Festival Graz) from late May to mid-June.
A conversation with Christine Dollhofer on the 18th edition of Crossing Europe in June 2021 (here).

Hollywood Foreign Press Association white to the core

Even though the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a the small circle of about 90 journalists with a California residency who award the Golden Globe every year, has been the subject of numerous scandals, it now seems that the privileged closed club can no longer legitimize its claim to power.  For a long time, attempts had been made to evade movements in the film industry in the context of me too and black live matters, even as the Oscars so White movement caused far-reaching changes. However, the Los Angeles Times‘ finding that none of the 86 HFPA members is black had now led to unmistakable criticism in the industry.

European films in cinemas worldwide between a fragmented audience market and a flood of films

Even if it is not possible to quantify the total market volume for theatrical films along their value chain based on consumer spending due to a lack of transparency, at least the window of theatrical exploitation, as one of four main market segments, can be more closely defined. A report published recently by the European Audiovisual Observatory reveals a surprising picture and confirms the trend towards a „flood of films“, which until now has mostly been presented on a national level, now also was confirmed on a European as well as on an international level. Thus, a total of 7,821 European films in 2019 were identified as „on release“ worldwide, i.e. as films for which at least one ticket for a theatrical release was sold in at least one of the markets covered. This was the highest figure ever for European films, representing an increase of 1524 films since 2015.
Click here to download the report „The circulation of European films in non-national markets – key figures 2019“ 

Insights into the FUTURE OF FILM CULTURE

As part of the Initiative Zukunft Deutscher Film (Future of German Film initiative), this time the Frankfurt LICHTER Filmfest specifically took a European perspective to discuss central questions around FUTURE OF FILM CULTURE. Moderated by author of the Nostradamus Report and media analyst Johanna Koljonen, the discussion with Carlo Chatrian (Berlinale, Artistic Director), Sonja Heinen (European Film Promotion, CE), Laura Houlgatte (UNIC – International Union of Cinemas, CEO), Alby James (Producer Film/Series) and Martin Hagemann (Producer and Professor Filmuniversität Babelsberg) not only provided valuable insights into assessments of a changing film culture in a disruptive film industry, but also outlined their demands with regard to their responsibility towards a diverse society, the obligations in the context of an enriching coexistence of cinema exploitation and digital streaming and challenges for film as a cultural form against the background of a development towards storytelling in the immersive moving image. A recording of the panel in English can be found here.