A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlin International Film Festival 2016, otherwise known as the Berlinale!

George Clooney © Berlinale
George Clooney
© Berlinale

OMG!

I’ve told you before and I’ll probably tell you a million times over, living in Berlin is just so awesome!

I mean, there’s just so much to do!

Only a few weeks ago I was sipping champagne & scribbling away while the skinniest of people catwalked in front of my knees! And just the other week, the Sputnik Kino put out all the stops to bring us the British Shorts Film Festival.

Meryl Streep & Clive Owen. © Berlinale
Meryl Streep & Clive Owen.
© Berlinale

And now, ladies and gents, the red carpet has been rolled out yet again, and Berlin has been hobnobbing with the best of the best. I mean, if it’s good enough for Meryl Streep and Clive Owen. It’s surely good enough for you!

And why forsooth?

Because?

Because the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, is in town!

Now for those of you interested in getting a piece of the action it’s quite easy.

WHAT IS THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL / BERLINALE?

Myself at the Berlinale.
Myself at the Berlinale.

Well, the Berlinale is simply, the world’s largest public film festival which provides an audience of interested film-goers, a city full of excitement, fascinating new films, and an opportunity to see, talk to, and take close-up pictures, of international stars in the movie world.

That’s right.

From the 11th of February to the 21st February, 2016, Berlin will be packed solid with members of the film industry.

My heart swells when I know that Berlin is competing with the likes of other film festivals in Cannes and Sundance.

Alright, not in the same category, but still. A festival to be proud of.

With more than four hundred (400) films, fifteen (15) categories sections and more than half a million cinema visits, the Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference, but also a film festival that ordinary people can actually visit.

You're welcome. YOU!

Yes, that means YOU!

A world international festival can sometimes be daunting, so I’m going to try and make it as easy as possible so that you too can participate, if you want to.

Read my beginners’ guide and find out how!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL / BERLINALE 2016!

Around Potsdamer Platz at the Berlinale in Berlin. © Berlinale
Around Potsdamer Platz at the Berlinale in Berlin.
© Berlinale
  • BE PREPARED: The Berlinale always takes place in February so get yourself on the mailing list of the Berlinale so that you know when the official Berlinale programme is published.
  • USE THE INTERNET: There is a Berlinale homepage in both English and German. On the homepage is a Programme Section which also has a most valuable item called the programme planner. Use this item to search for films so that you have an idea of what you might want to see BEFORE the film festival begins.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale. © Berlinale
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
© Berlinale
  • GET THE PROGRAMME: If you’re not entirely sure what each film is about, you can either download the pdf format or if you’re in Berlin (and why wouldn’t you be!), you can pretty much find the programme brochures in every cinema forum in the city. Just help yourself!
  • USE TECHNOLOGY: Not only can you use the programme planner for your personal searches but you can also get into the 21st century and, for the first time ever, download the Apps (for Android and iOS) which links into the programme planner so that you can mark your favourite film or event at home, or on the move, and still remain up-to-date across multiple devices. The app also provides Berlinale information about festival venues, festival events and an overview of festival video broadcasts, the Opening and Closing Gala, as well as all the fun on the Red Carpet!
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House! © Berlinale
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House!
© Berlinale
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA: The Berlinale is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow my titbits and little quips here! Not only that, but around the Potsdamer Platz Arcade, WiFi is available for 2 hours per day per person, and there are other WIFI hotspots scattered around in various venues. For free!
  • MAKE A LIST: Once you have a rough idea of what you want to see, go ahead and make a list. Don’t forget to put the date, the name of the film in it’s original language and in English, the venue, and the time. Then make a second list with different films. Just in case. And a third one too!
Wading throught the crowd for the Berlinale at the Delphi Filmpalast. © Berlinale
Wading through the crowd for the Berlinale at the Delphi Filmpalast.
© Berlinale
  • CHECK THE FILM TIME: People get really excited when punters finally get the film of their dream and then discover soon after, that they can’t actually watch it ‘cos they’re still in a previous film! Just because the film states a starting time of 20:00 doesn’t actually mean that it’s going to start at 20:00! Films start late, discussions over lap. Deal with it! I find that putting films three (3) hours apart generally leaves more than enough room to manoeuvre. So, if for example, a film starts at 09:30, the next film I book is at 12:30 and not anything less! Most films tend to last between 80 and 100 minutes but you want to give yourself time for overlaps and also for getting from A to B. Berlin’s public transport system is fantastic but you still have to wade your way through the crowds to get out of the venue itself, and then go downstairs to your next train station, not to talk of wading yourself through more crowds at the next film venue!
  • LEAVE EARLY: Doors generally open 10 minutes before the film starts, so make sure you’re in the queue at least 20 minutes before the movie begins. If it’s a popular film, give yourself 30 minutes as there is no allocated seating. First come, first served. No seat is a dud in my opinion, but if you have preferred seating, then get there early.
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!

This means that you’re going to have to gird your loins, get all your mates together and be smart and efficient. Each individual can only buy 2 tickets per film, except for Generation (children / youth films) which you can buy 4 tickets at a time, and Culinary Cinema film screenings at 7.30 pm, which you can buy as many as you like! You can of course, cross your fingers and buy on the day if tickets are available at the box office of the cinemas themselves. Ticket counters open daily from 10:00 to 20:00, with people forming a queue from about 08:00!

  • BUYING TICKETS ONLINE: If you don’t feel up to being with the hoi polloi, not a problem, use your fingers and go online instead! On the programme page is an online ticket icon. If you click on it, you’ll be directed to the online ticket shop but be warned, the other buyers are keen film-goers and pros. at this game. You’ll need firm fingers to keep clicking and refreshing in order to get those tickets. Or better still, allocate yourself an army of friends to help you.
Screaming teenaged boys and girls!
Screaming teenaged boys and girls!

You know how concert tickets sell out in 10 minutes? Yep! They use the same method. Friends! Mates! Neighbours! Everyone you know!

You’ll have to create a for-payment account in order to buy tickets online with an extra processing fee of €1.50 per ticket. You can use a major credit card and the tickets will be delivered to you either by Email, on your mobile phone, or you can simply pick the tickets up at the Online Ticket Pick-up Counter in the Potsdamer Platz Arcade shopping centre, by showing your printed confirmation and ID card.

  • TICKET PRICES: Berlinale tickets are generally between €4.00 – €14.00! A 50% discount is available for selected last-minute tickets and of course, if you’re a student, of school age, on welfare, etc, then a 50% discount on tickets are available too.
Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket! © Berlinale
Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket!
© Berlinale
  • NO TICKET: If you still haven’t got the ticket you want, then go ahead and get any other film ticket instead! The whole point of a film festival are the intriguing films that are made available. Every film has passed muster, and outside of your own personal preference, none of the films are duds. Go on live a little! If you’re still unsure, then go to the venue of your choice and either hold out a sign that you’re looking for an extra ticket, or look for individuals who might want to sell theirs. Don’t deal with touts though. If the individual looks nice enough and has 1 or 2 tickets rather than 20, and is willing to sell it at market price, or even cheaper, then go for it!
  • WATCH YOUR THROAT: After watching quite a few films, the throat does tend to take a bit of a beating as the rooms can get a bit dry, so arm yourself with water and cough drops. Take a scarf too, in case the air-con is at full blast!
Lars Eidinger & Members of the Press! © Berlinale
Lars Eidinger & Members of the Press!
© Berlinale
  • PRESS: If you’re a press person, you should have been through the accreditation process and have your badge and Berlinale gift bag! Nevertheless, even press people have to organise themselves as tickets are only made available one (1) day prior, and so I found myself checking into the Grand Hyatt Berlin on a daily basis.

At 08:00 in the morning. Eeek!

On the other hand, free bottles of water, free coffee (Ouch!) free WIFI, a press room, comfy seats and a quick means of getting all the press stuff and press tickets that you need, are provided.

Everyone has been so helpful and kind and not counting the first day where I really hadn’t a clue what I was doing, I’ve gotten each and every film ticket that I have wanted so far.

Thank you Berlinale Press Team!

Chang Jiang Tu - Crosscurrent - A Chinese film at the Berlinale. © Berlinale
Chang Jiang Tu – Crosscurrent – A Chinese film at the Berlinale.
© Berlinale
  • BE OPEN TO A NEW EXPERIENCE: I love going to film festivals and one of the main reasons is that in many cases, the films that you get to see at such events will never be shown at regular cinemas, or ever at all! I mean, I hardly doubt that a Japanese film with a man running around with a cabbage on his head is going to be shown at a local cinema near you! Or how about a Turkish – Kurdish film about the lives of cleaning women in Istanbul.

I don’t think so!

In my case, I aim for weird Asian films (hence the cabbage head!) obscure East European films (such as Serbia) and Anglo-American films with controversial topics such as death and abandonment.

Channing Tatum, George Clooney and any questions you might have! © Berlinale
Channing Tatum, George Clooney and any questions you might have!
© Berlinale
  • STAY FOR Q&A: The beauty of an international film festival or any film festival at all is that everyone tends to be there. You get stars such as Merly Streep, Clive Owen, Amal & George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Josh Brolin, Daniel Brühl, Heike Makatsch, Kirsten Dunst, Yuko Takeuchi, Sibel Kekili (Game of Thrones). Directors such as the Coen brothers, other directors, producers, actors. Everyone! Two years ago, Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Actors, directors and producers tend to go out to the front and apart from staring at them really closely, you can ask them questions about their films or their thoughts, surrounding that film. And being that this is Berlin, everyone’s really chilled and not freaking out or going crazy.

Not inside the cinema theatre in any case.

If there’s a hottie on the red carpet like Channing Tatum or George Clooney, all that flies out of the window and people start screaming!

I mean, it sometimes goes insane.

Meryl Streep & the Opening Gala. Everyone went crazy! © Berlinale
Meryl Streep & the Opening Gala. Everyone went crazy!
© Berlinale

The actors are always calm, professional and charming (especially George) but the audience just lose themselves with star-lust, over-whelmingness, or the fact that film premier tickets can sell out surprisingly quickly and not be found for love or money. If you didn’t know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody, way up there, chances were, you wouldn’t get a look in!

The atmosphere once you get indoors, really is comforting and quite frankly, it’s nice.

And all for the price of a cinema ticket.

Less in some cases!

  • MAKE FRIENDS: Chat to the person next to you. Find your friends and partners and go for a well deserved late night drink!
Make Friends! Berlinale Goes Kiez - Jug-yeo-ju-neun Yeo-ja (The Bacchus Lady) © Berlinale
Make Friends!
Berlinale Goes Kiez – Jug-yeo-ju-neun Yeo-ja (The Bacchus Lady)
© Berlinale
  • TAKE ACTION: Now that you know what to do, go ahead and get yourself a film ticket and do it all over again the next day!

See you at the Berlinale!

For more information. Please contact: the Berlin International Film Festival – the Berlinale.

The lovely Tilda Swinton in Berlin. © Berlinale
The lovely Tilda Swinton in Berlin.
© Berlinale

This article is not sponsored and even though I received complimentary tickets, all opinions and the excellent festival films that I chose, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing the films that I saw at the Berlinale.

Cinestar Original will be showing William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on 25.02.2016, presented by the National Theatre LIVE!

In March, I’ll be travelling to England, Spain & Portugal!

February is pleasantly exhausting!

Catch me if you can!

A Beginners' Guide to the Berlin International Film Festival - Berlinale 2016.

Have you ever been to the Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale? Do you have any other tips or suggestions?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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Think David Bowie! Think Alan Rickman! Think the British Shorts Film Festival!

BRITISH SHORTS Film Festival, 2016.

Just over a fortnight ago, the world lost two very important British icons.

Men who were true artists of their craft and who didn’t shy away from the experimental. Men who at first glance weren’t considered classically handsome chaps or the type of men for leading roles, but who made a huge significant impact on British film, music, art and popular culture. Men who knocked you for six at their sparkling performances.

David Bowie ©Alpha Press.
David Bowie

True performers who wouldn’t bat at undertaking complex non-traditional roles.

The type of film that one might be inclined to call an independent film.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

An independent film that can be found in such an event as the British Shorts Film Festival!

I Am Here by David Holmes.
I Am Here
by David Holmes.

This film festival has been around since 2007 but I only found out about it in 2015 and it’s a funny story. You can read all about it here!

Honestly, it’s great being British in Germany ‘cos you get to participate in all kinds of stuff. Only last week, I was honoured to be invited to the Friedrichstadt-Palast for a British evening of talks with distinguished guests, a room full of up-coming bloggers and interesting hacks, a look behind the scenes of the world’s largest theatre stage and an opportunity to watch the latest performance of the hit production THE WYLD which was still as brilliant as the first time that I watched it!

If you remember, I was awfully impressed and wrote all about it right here!

Yet again, the Film Festival started on 21.01.16 which was a Thursday so I went on Friday and pretty much made it a weekend to remember lol! This time, the German organiser Jürgen Fehrmann knew exactly who I was and was delighted to have me on board!

WHAT IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL?

Three Brothers by Akleem Khan.
Three Brothers
by Akleem Khan.

The British Shorts Film Festival is a collection of 155 British and Irish short films shown within a span of five (5) days from the 21st – 25th January, 2016!

This was the 9th edition of British Shorts with the publicity title: Shorts. Now. Forever. And this film festival didn’t disappoint!

British Shorts Film Festival Logo.

The British Shorts Film Festival has evolved to become a true international audience festival with one of the most interesting platforms for British and Irish short films outside the UK and Ireland. There were showings of short exciting films embracing drama, comedy, animation, thriller, horror, experimental, documentary, and music videos. There were also concerts, parties, a free film workshop (including a 48-hour film project), Open Screenings, talks and an exhibition that created an atmosphere of festivity and involvement imbibing both a jury award, and an audience award. In fact, the 2016 retrospective was dedicated to the animation department of the world-famous National Film and Television School who include such talent as the Wallace & Gromit inventor Nick Park!

RETROSPEKTIVE - Wallace and Gromit - British Shorts Film Festival 2016.
RETROSPEKTIVE – Wallace and Gromit – British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

WHO IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL FOR?

Mr Madila by Rory Waudby-Tolley which was hilarious, by the way!
Mr Madila
by Rory Waudby-Tolley which was hilarious, by the way!

Well, this film festival is for established film-makers, promising newcomers, talented film students, and anybody else who has an interest in the making of short films. Indeed, the likes of Judi Dench (James Bond – 007), Michael Fassbender (The X. Men), and Martin Freeman (Sherlock Holmes (BBC) & The Hobbit) have all appeared in previous festival films. And this year, we seemed to have a who’s who’s from Games of Thrones (Michelle Fairley & Liam Cunningham) and the BBC’s Dr. Who (Arthur Davill)!

It doesn’t matter if you have a large budget, a low-budget, or no budget at all (like we had LOL)! I very much like the British Shorts Festival because not only, were the films of the highest quality and really gripping but also, at the end of the festival ANYONE at all can present a film to be judged by a respected jury, as well as the audience.

Gulp!

BUT WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?

British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

Well, the film screenings have the following categories:

Drama.

Comedy.

Experimental.

Documentary.

Don't Fear Death by Louis Hudson
Don’t Fear Death
by Louis Hudson

Animation.

Mockumentary.

Romance.

Thriller.

Surgery (Horror) by George Clemens & Samuel Clemens.
Surgery (Horror)
by George Clemens & Samuel Clemens.

Horror.

Fantasy.

Film Noir.

Mystery.

Sci-Fi.

Holding The Strings by Benjamin Cowie
Holding The Strings
by Benjamin Cowie

Music Videos.

Retrospective: An evening’s screening dedicated to the National Film and Television School (NFTS), London showing big successes from the past four decades four (4) decades in “Directing Animation” followed by a Q&A.

DON'T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.
DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.

And an exhibition featuring photographs, and experimental films. This year’s selection was the photography and short film series DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.

Oops!

The film documents the rise of Grime, an angst-ridden and confrontational sound that emerged from the UK. The photographer and filmmaker Simon Wheatley was present for Q&A and during the entire festival, the film was shown in loops.

Paaaaaarty!
Paaaaaarty!

We live in Berlin.

Berlin is an exciting city filled with young inspiring talent so there were other interesting and exciting events and items such as:

A free festival workshop & a 48-hour film project.

Concerts & Parties.

Exhibitions.

Talks with film-makers, directors, producers and writers.

An an Open Screening for ANY short film.

Open Screening.
Open Screening.

WHERE DOES THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?

At Sputnik Kino. On Bricks!
At Sputnik Kino. On Bricks!

This is the 9th year and the festival always takes place at the home base cinema called Sputnik Kino in the suburb of Kreuzberg, with some screenings taking place at the Badehaus Szimpla in Friedrichshain, Acudkino in Mitte, and City Kino in Wedding. All delightful cinemas who show art and independent films!

I went to the Sputnik Kino which has many cool memories of stone-distressed seating made of bricks! Yes, you heard me.

Bricks!

Not to worry though as times have changed, and seating is now covered with leather, cushions and plastic beer crates!

Acudkino.
Acudkino.

This year, I also went to the Acudkino in Mitte, and City Kino in Wedding.

I’ve only been to the Acudkino in Mitte perhaps once or twice, which is embarrassing as it’s only about 15 minutes from my home! In the olden days when I didn’t actually live in Prenzlauerberg, I used to go on that street all the time as it has a place called the Weinerei Forum.

In those days, the drinks were free!

Sortof!

The Weinerei in Berlin!
The Weinerei in Berlin!

It’s shabby chic daaaarling!

I hadn’t been to the City Kino at all as it’s in a dodgy neighbourhood, but right next to the French Cultural Literature Centre! I was surprised to discover that the venue was quite nice.

City Kino. This queue was wound all the way down the staircase and right to the front door. 'Good thing I was on the press list!
City Kino.
This queue was wound all the way down the staircase and right to the front door. ‘Good thing I was on the press list!

Once you stepped in!

I really enjoyed the films as many were recognisable respected British actors in my opinion! The films I saw were of excellent quality and we were able to observe a Q&A session with two directors of the film that we had just seen! This is why I really love going to film festivals. Not only do you see outstanding films worthy of each and every award, but you get the opportunity to be close to the Directors, Producers and Actors too!

 

Open Screening - British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

The Sputnik Kino has a lovely reputation of supporting aspiring independent film-makers and once a month, every third (3rd) Wednesday, has an Open Screening. This Open Screening allows film-makers to show their movies to a live audience, and is in both English and German.

No appointments are necessary, no application forms, no testings made, it doesn’t have to be “finished,” any language is accepted, no previous qualifications necessary.

It’s a forum whereby you can “test” your film, and a live audience can ask questions, make comments, positively criticise or praise your film.

The requirements?

Not more than 25 minutes. And members of the public are the judges of the film.

Cost?

Absolutely nothing! For both the film-makers and the audience!

Stutterer by Benjamin Cleary.
Stutterer
by Benjamin Cleary.

I’M INTERESTED IN FILMS BUT I’M NOT A FILM-MAKER.

Room 55 by Rose Glass
Room 55
by Rose Glass

I’m not a film-maker either but I do love independent films.

I saw various clips of film between 2 and 23 minutes. Most were really interesting and clever, and some were downright disturbing, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see them!

I watched a whole host of Festival Screenings / Documentary Specials / Retrospective Screenings and an amazing number of short Animation Films, after which I dragged myself home, using the über-efficient German public transport system in the wee hours, and chatted with the pretty friendly Berlin punters!

Edmund by Nina Gantz
Edmund
by Nina Gantz

The performances were completely packed out, showing British and Irish talent in a Berlin setting.

CAN YOU MAKE A FILM YOURSELF?

Make it yourself!
Make it yourself!

You sure can!

The attraction of British films for an international crowd is either historical drama or gritty down-to-earth films. I like British films because of the grit and the reality concept, as I do Berlin films.

The Man Who Fell to Earth. David Bowie.
The Man Who Fell to Earth.
David Bowie.

At the British Shorts Film Festival, we even got to watch a part of Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 sci-fi masterpiece The Man Who Fell To Earth with the main character played by a young David Bowie about an alien on an elaborate rescue mission, to find water for his planet.

At the film festival we booked into a workshop on film-making!

Last year, I went for the fun of it and to see what it was all about but this year, I decided to take it more seriously.

We only had 48 hours and this time I wanted to go it alone as the workshop was centred on the idea of a journey. Sadly, I couldn’t find enough inspiration that would satisfy my lust for quality.

I went for the Screening of the workshop films and the standard of the film-making workshop collection was amazing. Thank goodness I didn’t submit my sorry piece of video work. It would have been shameful!

The films produced were good quality stuff with many meeting for the first time, deciding to work together, and yet managing to create, produce, edit and design, in only a few hours, even editing right before the submission deadline!

They say, stick to what you know.

I like independent films and I love film festivals.

I’m a good writer and I don’t mind writing about films, or speaking and performing in front of a camera, but I’ll leave the art of film-making to the experts!

British Shorts Film Festival.

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN TO PARTICIPATE?

Manomann by Simon Cartwright
Manomann
by Simon Cartwright

Nope!

All literature and instruction is in both German and English. It’s a British & Irish Film Festival so the films are of course, in English!

MY VERDICT?

Just Desserts by Michael Yanny
Just Desserts
by Michael Yanny

Lots of fun and learning and a really good project!

At a time when large budgets and big stars are the norm, it’s quite nice to see, support, and encourage a non-profit film-making project.

In our city.

In Berlin.

I salute you David Bowie & Alan Rickman. RIP.

For more information. Please contact: British Shorts Film Festival.

For more information about Open Screenings. Please contact: Sputnik Kino.

The back of me - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
The back of me –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

This article is not sponsored and although I received complimentary tickets, all opinions and the film that I attempted to make are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be writing Part II of the Berlin Fashion Week supplement!

On 04.02.16, I will be at a private dinner organised by the Thai Embassy!

The 66th Berlin International Film Festival – the Berlinale – will be taking place from 11.02.16 – 21.02.16 and for the first time, I will be an accredited member of the press force. I’m so excited!

Cinestar Original will be showing William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on 25.02.2016, presented by the National Theatre LIVE!

In March, I’ll be travelling to England, Spain & Portugal!

February is going to be bursting!

Watch this space!

British Shorts Film Festival 2016!

Have you ever been to the British Shorts Film Festival? Do you like British films?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Hollywood comes to Berlin at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival: The Berlinale, 2014.

The Berlin International Film Festival: The Berlinale.
The Berlin International Film Festival: The Berlinale.

Wow! We have had a long, fantastic fortnight of films, films, and yes more films.

That’s right. From the 6th of February to the 16th February, 2014, Berlin has been packed solid with members of the film industry.

It makes me proud that Berlin is competing with the likes of other film festivals in Cannes and Sundance. Alright, not in the same category, but still, a festival to be proud of and with more than four hundred films, ten sections and almost half a million cinema visits, the Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference but also the world’s largest film festival that people can actually visit.

Yes, that means YOU!

The Grand Budapest Hotel with Bill Murray: at the Opening Gala. Berlinale 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel with Bill Murray: at the Opening Gala.
Berlinale 2014

All the top guys like Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, John Hurt, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Ken Loach, Patricia Arquette, Michelle Yeoh, Cillian Murphy, Jennifer Connolly, Forest Whitaker, Wes Anderson and Martin Scorsese, were all here and then it all went crazy when the stars of “The Monuments Men” such as: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville (of Downton Abbey fame), and Cate Blanchett came to town.

Bill Murray, George Clooney, Matt Damon & John Goodman. Press Conference at "The Monuments Men." The Berlinale, 2014
Bill Murray, George Clooney, Matt Damon & John Goodman. Press Conference at “The Monuments Men.”
The Berlinale, 2014

I mean, it really did go insane.

The actors were professional and charming but everybody else just lost it with star-lust, over-whelmingness, or the fact that film premier tickets could not be found for love or money. If you didn’t know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody, way up there, chances were, you wouldn’t get a look in!

We love you Georgie! The Berlinale, 2014.
We love you Georgie!
The Berlinale, 2014.

Well, “The Music Producer” is a bit of a geek as far as the Berlin International Film Festival is concerned. Oh My God! My husband watched thirty films! Thirty films in ten days! Craaaaaaazy!!! If you would like to read his insight of the film festival then check out this link in German, but if you can’t read German, feel free to take a look at the art cinema photos instead.

As for me, being that I’m actually a sane person, I only took in five movies watched over just a mere three days. I would have liked to have seen more but someone has got to keep the home hearth burning.

Having said that “The Tall Young Gentleman” had a Boy Scout “Lock-In weekend” so I used that opportunity to go to town. I watched:

Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast. The Berlinale, 2014
Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast.
The Berlinale, 2014
  • Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast – This film was hilarious. It was a comedy about the Taiwanese tradition of catering to the public and cooking. Honestly, it made me salivate with hunger as they had close-ups of exotic dishes, chopped, sliced, mixed and cooked to perfection. It also focused on lollipop girls, a pair of under-world scammers, old culinary masters, Taiwanese villages and towns, and a bunch of internet geeks. Oh, and a Taiwanese version of Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies” performed by a 50-something mother and cook! I would love to watch it again 🙂

She's Lost Control. The Berlinale, 2014.

  • She’s Lost Control – This film was a complex, stylistic directorial debut of an American director and script writer, who also calls Berlin her home. This movie was about a sexual surrogate who taught troubled men how to be intimate and how the line between professional and private intimacy became blurred and uncertain. After the film, we were lucky enough to have the directors, producers, and main actress on stage so that we could ask questions. Of which there were many, as this film inspired discussion and debate and will be at a cinema near you. In Berlin.
Pădurea e ca muntele, vezi? | The Forest is Like the Mountains. The Berlinale, 2014.
Pădurea e ca muntele, vezi? | The Forest is Like the Mountains.
The Berlinale, 2014.
  • Pădurea e ca muntele, vezi? | The Forest is Like the Mountains – I really liked this film. It was a Romanian movie directed by two young German/Belgian artists. It was about a Roma village and centered around the Lingurar family where the villagers lived off the land. It was really interesting seeing how they ate, slept and lived. It was very endearing I must say and I think there was rather a lot of interest in the traditional ways of the Roma people. The film also touched the topic of how difficult things were and are in a modern age, bearing in mind the many controversial European politics of thoughts of how to slow down the free movement of Roma people within the European Union. The film was documentary style in which we saw horses and carts, the harvesting of potatoes and ordinary family life and struggles. Again, I was lucky enough to be at the premiere of this film in which the main actors and the directors were present. I even got to be able to stand-up and ask the actors a question. In public!

Top Girl or la déformation professionnelle. The Berlinale, 2014.

  • Top Girl oder la déformation professionnelle – I picked this movie ‘cos it was made in Berlin but I wasn’t really impressed and I didn’t like it. I don’t really know what I was expecting but people were either walking out, tittering, talking over the voice screen, or coughing awkwardly. Halfway through the film, I fell asleep! It was part II of the “Woman and Work” trilogy and showed the everyday life of Mascha, a frustrated actress who also worked as a high-class escort. Once again, the director and main actors came on stage and Q & A’s took place. The movie was provocative but was successful in getting a debate going I guess, as at one point, some of the viewers got into a quarrel with one of the main actors!
Highway. The Berlinale, 2014.
Highway.
The Berlinale, 2014.
  • Highway – This movie is a film made in India. I liked it very much. It was shocking, compelling and emotional. The movie is about the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur who is kidnapped in Delhi, a few days before her wedding! This film really touched my presence and had me gasping and grabbing the hand of “The Music Producer” a few times. I was a little worried as this is not your typical song and dance movie but was rather cruel in moments and even though I love the Indian sub-continent, recent media speculation has not been positive as this road movie also reflects on the issue of rape in Indian society. This movie by all accounts is a modern Bollywood film with fantastic visuals of India’s wide and varied landscapes from Rajasthan to the Himalayan mountains, and a film about finding who you truely are. If you ever get the chance to see it, I suggest you do so. There were no directors or actors this time but I did manage to bump into an ex-teacher of mine who is another expat in Berlin (albeit American!) and also an up and coming artist and whom I haven’t seen for at least 10 years. He recognised me purely by my sharp British tone of voice!

And there you have it. The end of the 64th Berlin International Film Festival – The Berlinale, 2014. I hope you get to watch some of the movies too.

For more information contact: The Berlinale.

A Homage for the Honorary Golden Bear - Ken Loach. The Berlinale, 2014.
A Homage for the Honorary Golden Bear – Ken Loach.
The Berlinale, 2014.

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my absolute own.

Going to a Film Festival is an awesome experience. Which festival have you been to of late? Which of these category of films would you watch?

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On the red carpet at the Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlin or at the International Film Festival, Berlin.
On the red carpet at the Internationale Filmfestspiele, Berlin or at the International Film Festival, Berlin.