The Berlinale Film Festival takes place annually for an audience of 300,000, with around 400 films from around the world competing. The iconic silver and gold ‘Bears’ are to be won by winning films in the top categories.
But what will it look like in 2021, given persisting pandemic uncertainty? The Festival organisers have quashed any rumours of postponement from its scheduled opening date of 11th February 2021 to a later date in May.
The Berlinale’s managing director, Mariette Rissenbeek, pointed out that moving the festival so close to the Cannes Film Festival is simply not viable, ‘weil die gesamte Branche nach Cannes reisen würde und dann nicht nochmal zur Berlinale kommen würde’ (because the entire [film] industry would travel to Cannes and wouldn't then travel again to go to the Berlinale). She is prepared to take measures such as cancelling the grand receptions, limiting the festival to simply cinema screenings.
The Berlinale has already reduced the number of films across its selection for 2021, as cinemas will have to operate at 40-50% of seating capacity, so each film will need more running slots. But it seems like the organisers are determined for the Berlinale to go ahead in-person as opposed to virtually where possible, even if its VIP guests must dress down a little more than usual for the premieres.