Berlinale to remain in-person as European Film Market goes virtual
Officials have confirmed that the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival will remain an in-person event. Although the European Film Market (EFM) - which typically runs alongside the Berlinale - is now taking place as fully virtual event, organisers have told the global film community that the core festival will continue as planned from 10th to 20th February. Strict protocols will be put in place to protect delegates from Covid-19, with the precise terms to be revealed shortly.
“We are very pleased with the positive signal from the authorities so far and feel encouraged to continue with the planning,” declared a spokesperson for the festival. “We hope to be able to announce the final concept for the 2022 Berlinale very soon.”
Industry attention was focused on Berlin after Sundance recently cancelled its in-person edition. Two weeks before the event was scheduled to go ahead, officials who were monitoring the Covid-19 situation in America decided to go virtual for a second year running.
“Despite the most ambitious protocols, the Omicron variant with its unexpectedly high transmissibility rates is pushing the limits of health safety, travel and other infrastructures across the country,” announced Sundance organisers, expressing their disappointment “to not provide the full hybrid experience and gather in-person as intended.”
After Sundance officials cancelled their physical event, the international filmmaking community was dealt another blow when the EFM confirmed that it would also shift online. Exhibition spaces at the EFM’s main venues were nearly fully booked, but the decision was made to go digital as the Omnicron variant continues to sweep the nation with increasing ferocity. The Berlinale went virtual last February and then held a smaller in-person event in June, which was predominantly attended by members of the German industry.
“The need for a physical festival experience and face-to-face encounters is strongly evident in both the industry and the public,” announced Berlinale directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian at the end of 2021. “The experiences of the last months have shown that on-location events can take place safely and successfully, and how important they are for dialogue and exchange.”
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