Berlin: an exciting, cosmopolitan cultural hotspot with undiminished appeal. In the middle of it the Berlinale: not only the biggest cultural event of the city, but one of the most important in the international film business. More than 19,000 industry professionals from 120 countries, including 4,000 journalists, are accredited every year at the Berlin International Film Festival. A mammoth event—but also a festival of encounters and debates. With over 200,000 admission tickets sold, the Berlinale is not only an industry meeting, but also the biggest audience festival in the world. Art, glamour, parties, and business come together for the two weeks of the Festival.
Every year the Berlinale exudes an enormous appeal and gives an important fresh impetus to international filmmaking, while at the same time maintaining close ties with Berlin and Berliners. The Berlinale has shared in and reflected the recent history of the city like hardly any other cultural event. Founded in 1951 as a “showcase of the West,” the Festival from the Seventies on was considered a cultural bridge between the two political blocs. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, expectations of the Festival changed along with the climate in the city. The Berlinale rose to the challenge: with new initiatives and creative partnerships, the Festival is actively involved in a rapidly changing world. It is this world that the films at the Berlinale are about—its dreams and realities, its ruptures and conflicts, but also about the beauty and hope that the cinema in its strongest moments brings to this world. After all, what kind of film festival would it be if it did not believe in the magic and persuasive power of its films?