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German directors demand new scope for Berlinale

November 24, 2017

Trouble is brewing as people wonder who will follow in Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick's footsteps. Will there be a major change for the Berlin International Film Festival? A group of directors say there should be.

Kino Berlin Das "Arsenal"
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/G.Breloer

Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick has been under fire for quite a while. He has been primarily responsible for the course the renowned international film festival has taken for years. Though his contract does not terminate until the end of 2019, the unofficial search for a suitable replacement has already begun.

With a look to Berlinale's future, 79 well-known German directors are now calling for a dramatic artistic realignment for the film festival. The aim should be "to modernize and purify the festival program," the directors wrote in a statement published by Germany's leading new magazine Der Spiegel.

Berlinale competition veterans Maren Ade, Fatih Akin, Dominik Graf and Volker Schlöndorff are among the prominent directors who have signed the statement. Other signatories include Andreas Dresen, Caroline Link, Simon Verhoeven and Rosa von Praunheim.

Dieter Kosslick
Dieter Kosslick started out as speechwriter for the mayor of HamburgImage: DW/P. Kouparanis

German Culture Minister Monika Grütters is responsible for the selection of the next director of Berlin film festival. The group of directors who have signed the above-mentioned statement, however, are calling for the creation of an international commission composed of an equal number of women and men who would redefine the film festival for the future.

Looking towards the future

The now 69-year-old Dieter Kosslick started his journalistic career in 1982, writing for leftist magazine Konkret.

He has directed the Berlinale since 2001 and has markedly influenced its brand, creating the "Perspektive Deutsches Kino" and "Talent Campus" sections, among others, within the festival's program.

Berlinale 2016 Meryl Streep and Dieter Kosslick
Meryl Streep has been one of the most prominent Berlinale jury presidents under Kosslick's reignImage: picture alliance/ZUMA Press

These new demands by the directors place Kosslick under even greater pressure for the upcoming Berlinale in 2018. "The aim must be to find an exceptional curatorial person who is passionate about film, has extensive international connections and who will be able to promote Berlin to the level of Cannes and Venice," the directors wrote in their ambitious statement and list of demands.

hm/pg/als/eg (KNA/AFP/dpa)