The distribution of festival foundations demonstrates that the festival sector is on a sustained growth trajectory. In addition to the accelerated growth since 2004, an additional growth spurt is evident between 2013 and 2018. In 2013, 344 events shaped the film festival landscape; in the pre-pandemic year 2019, 433 already did, and even during the pandemic years, the sector grew to a total of 443 film festivals with six new start-ups in 2020 and four new start-ups in 2021.

Cumulative Festival Foundations in Germany

If we look at festival foundations in a historical context, we see a steady increase between 1980 and 2003 a steady increase, which accelerated from 2004 to 2018 and only weakened in 2019. A possible new trend starting in 2020 was negatively overlaid by the pandemic.

Despite its diversity, the German film festival landscape, from regional special interest festivals to the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), has proven to be remarkably innovative, flexible and, above all, proactive in responding to the challenges of disruptive media change. Over the years, numerous festivals have gradually expanded their sphere of action far beyond their original function as a platform for the presentation of (new) film works and talents in the direction of highly diversified media ventures, acting not only as impulse generators and motors among themselves, but also as valuable blueprints and trendsetters for the cinema and film industry.

Distribution of film festivals in comparison to other federal states – 2013 and 2021

If we look at the distribution of film festival locations spatially broken down to the states (represented by the corresponding shades of blue) in 2013 and 2021, it becomes apparent that with the exception of Saarland and Brandenburg, there is growth everywhere, and the core areas of Baden-Württemberg core areas of Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse as well as the top positions with top positions with Berlin and Bavaria.

The importance of the film festival phenomenon is all the more obvious in this regard, as they not only provide access to film culture in all its different manifestations, but equally provide the last possibility of film cultural offerings, if not the last cultural offerings in rural areas.