Berlinale film festival head unveils programme
January 30 2019 12:50 AM
Kosslick poses with Berlinale paraphernalia before giving a press conference in Berlin to present the programme of the 69th Berlin film festival.

The director of the Berlin Film Festival has joined others in the film industry to take a stand against Netflix and other giant Internet streaming platforms as he unveiled the programme for this year’s Berlinale.
“Festivals are for films that are screened in the cinema,” Dieter Kosslick told reporters yesterday. “We would not show a film if it was first streamed and was not screened in movie houses.”
Kosslick, who will be retiring as Berlinale director after 18 years in the role, was presenting the programme for this year’s festival, which runs from February 7 to 17.
A total of 400 films are to be screened across the festival’s 14 sections, helping the Berlinale lay claim to the title of the world’s biggest film festival and one of the top three festivals alongside Cannes and Venice.
Kosslick’s comments against online-streamed movies at film festivals echoed the sentiments of Cannes Film Festival organisers, who have been locked in a bitter battle with Netflix over their refusal to screen the streaming service’s movies in its main competition.
The debate over the changes to cinema unleashed by the growth of online film streaming services has intensified after the Netflix-produced movie Roma from Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron Orozco won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion.
It has since emerged as front-runner in the Oscars.
Despite being nominated for 10 Academy Award nominations, Roma was only screened in a handful of cinemas around the world and for a limited time.
The Berlinale plans to screen Spanish director Isabel Coixet’s Elisa and Marcela, a drama about two women who get married, in its main competition.
The film was sold to Netflix’s Spanish subsidiary, becoming the first Netflix-linked movie to be screened as part of the race for the Berlinale’s top prize: the Golden Bear for best picture.
Elisa and Marcela will first be shown in cinemas.
Coixet’s movie is one of a total of 17 films vying for the Golden Bear – 16 of the movies are world premieres.
Barcelona-born Coixet is also one of a record seven women directors, who have been selected for the Berlinale’s showcase competition this year, where a key theme will be family life.
Headed by Oscar-winning French actress Juliette Binoche, the festival’s six-member jury will evaluate movies from China and a large contingent of films from Europe before it hands out the festival’s prestigious prizes at Hollywood-style gala ceremony on February 16.
Kosslick has been a popular figure during his tenure as Berlinale director, crossing paths with stars and A-list celebrities like George Clooney, Meryl Streep, the Rolling Stones and Jake Gyllenhaal – all of whom have attended the Berlinale.
The 70-year-old Kosslick has come under fire from film critics and movie buffs in the past for his festival picks.
Kosslick hands over the post next year to Italian-born Carlo Chatrian, the head of the film festival in Locarno, and Dutch-born Mariette Rissenbeek.
Chatrian will become the Berlinale’s artistic director, while Rissenbeek will be in charge of its business operations.
During his time as Berlinale director, Kosslick has overseen a major expansion of the film festival, including the addition of a section that promotes German filmmaking; a fund to finance cinema in regions with weak film structures; and an initiative to boost international co-productions.
Kosslick says he is not nostalgic about departing from the Berlinale.
“I feel in good form; fit for fun,” he says. “What delights me is that the audience has remained true to us and has grown.”

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