Just when many Berliners flock to warmer climates to avoid the most dreadful time of year (also known as February), one of the city’s biggest cultural events takes place: the Berlin International Film Festival. If you’ve never been, here’s your Berlinale guide for beginners…
2024 Berlin International Film Festival
The Berlinale – as it’s colloquially known – runs for eleven days, this year from February 15th to 25th. I’ll admit, it took me way too long to attend my first Berlinale screening, despite having lived in the city for years. As soon as I did, I realized I’d been missing out.
Out of the “Big Five” film festivals in the world (held in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Toronto and Sundance), Berlinale is one of the more public-friendly ones. You won’t need accreditations or press passes to get into many screenings. The main theater for premieres and large screenings is the Berlinale Palast near Potsdamer Platz. But there are also events, forums, and screenings across the city, including in Mitte, Friedrichshain, Pankow, and Steglitz.
Come one, come all!
Inclusivity and accessibility are important to those behind the scenes. Last year, they introduced early admission for movie-goers with disabilities in some theaters. Additionally, accessible entrances are clearly labelled and non-English language films are supplied with English subtitles.
Each section of the festival involves a different genre of film including – but not limited to – documentaries, art-house and short films. The Berlinale also screens films released in East and West Germany between 1960-1990.
Ready, set, refresh!
Tickets are exclusively available online – typically released only three days before any given screening. So set a calendar reminder and get ready to hit refresh! They sell out quickly. (But don’t worry, booking tickets for a Berlinale screening is at least 50% less stressful than trying to book an appointment at the immigration office.)
And the award goes to…
YOU… for getting out of the flat in the most depressing month of the year…
Numerous awards spanning all film sections are presented at the end of the festival. This year, the deciding jury is led by the Kenyan Mexican actor, director, and producer, Lupita Nyong’o. One award, however, has already been decided; the Berlinale will honor American filmmaker Martin Scorsese with its lifetime achievement award, the Honorary Golden Bear, during this year’s 74th edition.
If you’re staying in Berlin this February and want to get out of the house but stay warm, entertained, and engaged, I fully recommend attending a screening or two at the Berlinale.
Need to free up time and brain-space for the Berlinale? Book a Red Tape Translation Service and get your to-do’s checked in no time!