Since the founding of the Berlinale in 1951, a film festival landscape of more than 420 film festivals with different profiles, varying impact and mission has developed in Germany in 2019. It is due to Germany’s federal structure that the history of the origins of film festivals in the individual federal states, as well as their current distribution, varies considerably.
The starting point for this is to be found in the various site-specific objectives, which, with a view to film industry or cultural policy effects or civil society interests, are each specifically promoting the establishment of individual film festivals. It is evident that the individual film festival landscapes did not develop stringently even in the old federal states. Rather, it becomes clear that federal states such as Lower Saxony, for example, which had a diverse and extensive film festival scene even before the millennium, have today lost a great deal of their number and diversity compared to formerly less developed areas such as North Rhine-Westphalia.
The fact that even renowned film festivals such as the Göttingen Film Festival, initiated by Michael and Rainer Kölmel in the 1980s, the Cologne International Film Festival, launched in the 1990s, or the film show, which Wim Wenders expanded into an international film festival in 2002, have not been able to maintain their position raises numerous questions.
If one examines the development of the film festival landscape, this is not possible without an examination of the history of German cinema culture. Nor is the development of the German film industry conceivable without the film festivals against the background of the individual measures for location promotion.