Berlin Film Festival Cuts Close To A Third Of Its Lineup, Including Berlinale Series Amid Budget Struggles

The Berlin Film Festival has said it plans to reduce the size of its 2024 program and cull two competition strands as part of a widescale restructure to tackle a serious budgetary hole.

From next year, the festival will screen approximately 200 films, reduced from 287 in 2023. The festival said all sections, excluding the Official Competition, will present fewer films. Elsewhere in the plans announced, the Perspektive Deutsches Kino sidebar, which highlights new German filmmakers, will be disbanded. Moving forward, films by German newcomers will be presented in the existing sections Competition, Encounters, Panorama, Generation, or Forum.

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The festival has also cut the Berlinale Series strand as an independent program. The TV-focused strand will instead be folded into the Berlinale Special Gala screenings. Berlinale Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian will now program the strand following the exit of Julia Fidel, who left in May after four years in the post. Fidel had been working with the Berlinale for almost two decades. Under her watch, the Berlinale Series – the Berlin Film Festival’s TV sibling – has grown rapidly. Berlinale Series issued its first Award last year in collaboration with Deadline.

Shows to have played in competition in recent years include HBO Max’s Lust, Netflix’s The Eddy, and Jason Segel’s AMC series Dispatches From Elsewhere, while Frank Doelger’s The Swarm played out of the competition earlier this year. The first Berlinale Series Award, meanwhile, was won by Disney+ Italy’s The Good Mothers, beating off competition from the likes of HBO Max’s Spy/Master and Chinese drama Why Try to Change Me Now. The Berlinale Series Market will continue without change.

“Like many other areas of society, cultural institutions and festivals are affected by considerable cost increases but unchanged budgets,” Executive Director Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian said in a joint statement.

“Keeping this in mind, we must introduce structural adjustments to create a stable budgetary foundation for the organization and implementation of the Berlinale going forward. This process brings with it the opportunity to optimize the presentation and perception of the invited films using a more focused program.”

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