Film festivals in Germany plead for a structural change in cinema culture

On the basis of its growing importance for the dissemination of film culture and the preservation of cinema culture, AG Filmfestival, like other cultural sectors, demands to be concretely included in discussions on exit strategies for the time after Corona. The aim is to agree on short-term intervention to support the film festival landscape and thus also to safeguard the employment crisis, but also to develop a long-term cultural policy agenda together with politicians.
The press release of the AG Filmfestival in German is available here

Time for re-thinking what film festivals do

It is time to “to think about the business itself; to re-think the core of what we do, why we do it and what is the actual meaning of what we do? What is it that really matters? That is the massive win of this year, making us re-think the basics.”, Orwa Nyrabia (head of the IDFA) emphasised in an interview with Geoffrey Macnab in the Screendaily. And he is not alone with this position. Yesterday’s Zoom ScreenDaily Talk: Black Nights, Berlin, „Rotterdam heads to talk winter festival plans“ with Tiina Lokk, director of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival; Mariette Rissenbeek, executive director of the Berlin International Film Festival; Vanja Kaludjercic, director of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR); and Marge Liiske, director of Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event demonstrated a unity in this attitude. Vanja Kaludjercic, in particular, spoke out in favour of using this time to develop formats together with filmmakers and other industry representatives in order to shape this phase of upheaval together. The recorded talk you can finde here.

The EU’s new film festival network support is far from a trendsetting function

“Film festivals taking place this fall face similar challenges to their spring counterparts: the balancing act between presence and online screening is still required. But what matters is that they are still taking place. Their teams are working full steam to present the audience with an exciting selection of films.
MEDIA now supports 34 festivals from 19 countries with over 1.6 million euros.” (Creative Europe Desk Hamburg).
For the first time, the new funding line for the initiation and support of film festival networks was also considered in the call for tenders. A new incentive that could not only create Europe-wide synergies, but above all, set new trends. This time existing networks were supported. It remains to be seen how the new incentives will develop and their invigorating effect.
The results in detail can be found here

Film festivals: friend or foe? A discussion of AG DOK at the 63rd Int. Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film

Some regard them as the last bastion of cinema culture, others as one of the few gateways to the audience, and still others as the outgrowth of an eventization trend. Film festivals: friend or foe was thus recently the topic of a working group consisting of filmmakers, producers, distributors and film festival organizers at the Dok Leipzig. The diverse results were presented publicly in a panel discussion with Susanne Binninger (AG DOK) Daniel Sponsel (DOK.fest München) and Florina Vilgertshofer (AG DOK). For a recording of the event in the German language click here

New Film Conception turns the spot on the film festival landscape

Beyond its own federal state, the 3rd Film Conception Baden-Wurttemberg 2020, an update to the Film Conception 2008, was awaited with great interest. A milestone in many respects for the film festivals attending, as for the first time, not only were they considered as part of the film industry, but the MVK and MFG networking event provided the impetus to found a community of interests and henceforth intensify positive exchange. The results of the Film Concept Baden-Württemberg 2020 combined with a readjustment of the objectives can be downloaded as an e-paper in German

Finally an upward trend for women in the film industry

The biggest advance and most gratifying surprise among the results of the new study by Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University: The percentage of women working as directors and writers on independently and domestically produced films reached historic heights in 2019-2020. Women comprised 38% of directors – up from 33% in 2018-19 – and 29% in 2017-18. And also accounted for 35% of writers – up from 32% in 2018-19 and 26% in 2017-18.
Likewise, in 2020, the 50×50 Movement is gradually showing effects: Although in 2019-2020, high-profile festivals in the U.S. selected and/or screened twice as many narrative features directed by men as by women, they selected and/or screened an almost equal number of documentaries directed by women as by men.
Regardless of the fact that the selection of the 22 film festivals studied (see below) represents only a fraction of the approximately 3,000 film festivals estimated by the Film Festival Alliance, the result nevertheless represents a trend. All the more, as some are among the world’s major festivals and, thus, as so-called re-enactment festivals, ensure a corresponding distribution of women’s film works.
A brief version of the study report can be found here

AFI Fest; Ashland Independent Film Festival; Atlanta Film Festival; Austin Film Festival; Chicago International Film Festival; Cinequest Film Festival; Cleveland International Film Festival; Florida Film Festival; Hamptons International Film Festival; Nantucket Film Festival; New Directors/New Films; New York Film Festival; Palm Springs International Film Festival; Rhode Island International Film Festival; St. Louis International Film Festival; San Francisco International Film Festival; Santa Barbara International Film Festival; Slamdance Film Festival; Sundance Film Festival; SXSW Film Festival; Telluride Film Festival; Tribeca Film Festival.


New revelations on the Nazi past of the Berlinale’s founding director Alfred Bauer

A study commissioned by the Berlinale management has now confirmed that Alfred Bauer, first director of the Berlin International Film Festival, had played a significant role in the Nazi propaganda machine. During the denazification process (1945-1947), he concealed his involvement with the Nazi regime, adamantly claiming to be an active opponent of the party, which he had actually joined in 1937. This revelation leads to questions on the German cultural scene in the post-war era and the very founding of the Berlinale itself.
A summary of the study results can be found here.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced new representation and inclusion standards

With the goal to encourage equitable representation on and off screen, in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience, new standards for Oscars® eligibility in the Best Picture category were designed and now presented to the public. Inspired by the British Film Institute (BFI) Diversity Standards used for certain funding eligibility in the UK and eligibility in some categories of the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) Awards, a task force was commissioned to develop standards which serve the specific needs of the Academy.
“The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them. The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality,” said Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”
As of 2024, the 96th Oscar race, a film must meet several standards in order to be eligible to contend for BEST PICTURE.
Press release you finde here

TIFF raising the voice fuelled by Toronto’s cultural diversity

One of the greatest unique selling points of the TIFF is certainly its role in the ecosystem of the film industry, but even more so its understanding of being an immanent part of a city that is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities. It is therefore not surprising that the 2020 edition also has as its overarching goal the most memorable experience possible for its audiences, and at the same time a continuing commitment to normalizing gender parity as to bringing cinema made by filmmakers not only from the African diaspora. Cameron Bailey, artistic director and co-head, proves once again that it is not only about listening to his audiences but building relationships with them.
More information about the plans for TIFF 2020 such as the combination of physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences, and industry talks … can be found here