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 filmfestival-studien.de Team

Curating in times of war – One sees films with a pathos that justifies a war that cannot be justified.

The Cottbus film festival is regarded as one of the most important festivals of East European Cinema worldwide. In an interview, artistic director Bernd Buder outlines the responsible role of film festivals, especially in times of a changing political climate, and offers insights into his curatorial work today defined by the ongoing war: „As a festival, we always say we don’t just celebrate cinema, but cinema is also an instrument for us to analyze and reflect on social moods. But (regarding russian cinema) I don’t think that would be understood this year. At the moment we think it is important to keep contact with oppositional filmmakers in Russia, to keep a dialogue, because Russia will continue to exist … and at some point there will come a phase where the dialogue could normalize again and then it is important to keep contact, to support those who make films that deal critically with the official propaganda. … But smart people are leaving Russia in droves now. … We used to have a Russian Day in our program, when Russian cinema could still be celebrated. In the meantime, one would have to say cynically … Exile-Russian Day. „
The whole interview of Jakob Bauer and Bernd Buder on rbb 24 can be found in German languagehere: here

Safe the date: May 11 – 13, 2022 Second Congress Future German Film

After the fruitful first congress Future of German Film in 2018, the LICHTER Filmfest illuminates the future and perspectives of German and European film and cinema culture together with numerous filmmakers and representatives of the film industry as well as film politics from all over Europe at their second edition in Frankfurt. Various events in cooperation with the AG DOK, the VG Bild-Kunst and the Bundesverband Regie e.V., as well as the European directors‘ association FERA, among others, lead us to expect exciting insights and results, which will be presented at a large closing event in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche.

Safe the date: June 24 – 26, 2022 Symposium Cinema of Commoning in Berlin

With the project Cinema of Commoning the collective around SINEMA TRANSTOPIA organizes another initiative for the discussion around and the new conception of cinema in the transnational society.

The international event will kick off with screenings of collectively curated programs from March 31 – June 23, 2022 in Bangkok, Berlin, Cluj, Dubai, Jakarta, Luanda, Istanbul, Santiago de Chile. Accompanied by discussions, these will finally culminate in a three-day symposium in Berlin around the theme of cinema concepts with social impact in times of social transformation processes.

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Success course of paid-VoD-services unstoppable

It certainly came as no surprise to anyone that the paid-VoD market continued to post growth rates in 2021. An increase of 25 percent, as evidenced by a study conducted by Goldmedia on behalf of the FFA, should have once again demonstrated the extent and seriousness of the disruptive shifts. But it’s hardly surprising when you consider that only the versatile digital offerings of film festivals provided an alternative to Netflix and the like in these months, while German cinemas were closed without alternative during multiple lockdowns. The delayed introduction of the digital cinema window from Cinemalovers for program cinemas to YORCK ON DEMAND of the York cinema group proves to be highly regrettable not only for the friends of arthouse cinema, but for an entire industry. With a total turnover of the cinema industry of around 1 billion euros (2019) compared to 3 billion euros of the pay-VOD market (2020) in Germany, the question is which future concepts can still make a difference here.

New Theme Report shows record results at 100th anniversary of the Motion Picture Association

The Motion Picture Association’s 100th birthday present could hardly have been more gratifying than the figures for the global cinema and home entertainment market (including mobile use, but excluding pay TV), which were presented in March by means of the 70-page Theme Report. With a new record total of $99.7 billion, the figures not only surpassed the first pandemic year by 24 percent, but exceeded even the record $98.1 billion set in 2019. While the DVD/blu ray market continued to decline as expected (from $15 billion in 2017 to $8 billion in 2020 to $6.5 billion in 2021), the digital business is proving to be the big driver alongside cinema. Thus, VoD subscriptions increased by 14 percent, up by about 164 million, and now confirmed to jump over the billion-dollar hurdle again after 2020 with 1.3 billion.

Even if the data from the USA/Canada are not comparable with the European or German market – in North America, for example, the largest cinema-going group is found among 15-39 year-olds with 26% (2021), whereas in Germany the 50-59 year-olds represented the largest cinema-going group with 18% in 2020 – the US trends have also prevailed in Europe for years, with a few years‘ shift.

An Option Becomes a Constraint: On the Debate Around Online Editions of Film Festivals

After the Sundance edition in January, which by means of further steps towards decentralization now counts the whole world among its enthusiastic audience and thus even offered the global film community a foreshadowing of the Oscar-winning film, the heated debate about an exclusively physical edition of this year’s Berlinale came as no surprise. Similar discussions had already taken place late last summer in the US around similar decisions by the Telluride Film Festival and the NYFF. An interesting talk by Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson (Indiewire) sheds light on the central questions behind these decisions. It becomes clear that film festivals are increasingly confronted with a mission drift: Whereas in pre-pandemic times it was about presenting the most exceptional works of current filmmaking and their talents, today, especially for the gatekeeper film festivals of the annual film canon, it is just as much about providing access for all, in all places, at all times.

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.