Bat­tle to find new Ber­lin Film Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor

Iran Daily - - Art & Culture -

With Dieter Kosslick’s con­tract run­ning out af­ter 17 years, in­sid­ers are de­bat­ing his legacy and scram­bling to find a suc­ces­sor.

Ac­cord­ing to hol­ly­, Dieter Kosslick, with his black fe­dora and bright red scarf, has been the en­dur­ing sym­bol of the Ber­lin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val for the 17 years he has served as fes­ti­val di­rec­tor.

But with his con­tract up in May 2019, he only has two fes­ti­vals left — in­clud­ing the one that kicks off on Fe­bru­ary 15. And al­ready a bat­tle has erupted over his legacy and what comes next.

In late Novem­ber, 79 di­rec­tors — in­clud­ing art house stars Fatih Akin (‘In the Fade’), Maren Ade (‘Toni Erd­mann’) and Os­car win­ner Volker Schlon­dorff (‘The Tin Drum’) signed an open let­ter calling for a post-kosslick trans­for­ma­tion.

When he steps down, the di­rec­tors wrote, the Ber­li­nale should ‘re­fresh and re­new’ the fes­ti­val and think about its ‘fun­da­men­tal di­rec­tion’. In­nocu­ous enough. But the let­ter, pub­lished by Spiegel mag­a­zine, has set off a wave of Dieter bash­ing.

“The Ber­li­nale has got­ten big­ger and big­ger [un­der Kosslick], but its pro­file con­tin­ues to di­min­ish,” said Ger­man di­rec­tor Christoph Hochhausler, a sig­na­tory to the let­ter and, Kosslick has sug­gested, a driv­ing force be­hind it.

Kosslick dismisses his crit­ics as “the same small group of peo­ple with the same old com­plaints: No Amer­i­can films or no Euro­pean films, too big or too what­ever”.

But he ad­mits that his Ber­li­nale is less stu­dio-heavy. This year fea­tures a soli­tary stu­dio ti­tle: Wes An­der­son’s fest opener, ‘Isle of Dogs’, from Fox Searchlight.

In his de­fense, Kosslick cites a poll of more than 1,000 fes­ti­val­go­ers by Ger­man sur­vey group the Forsa In­sti­tute, which found nearly all were ‘sat­is­fied’ with the Ber­li­nale and more than half ‘very sat­is­fied’ or ‘over­whelm­ingly sat­is­fied’.

“They want more films, not fewer,” says Kosslick. “They live in an en­tirely dif­fer­ent world than some crit­ics live in. … If peo­ple want a dif­fer­ent type of fes­ti­val, a smaller fes­ti­val with 12 films to watch over a week, they can go some­where else. The Ber­li­nale isn’t a small, sweet lit­tle fes­ti­val for five peo­ple.”

In­deed, un­der Kosslick, Ber­lin’s once-tiny Euro­pean Film Mar­ket has be­come the se­cond largest film mar­ket in the world, af­ter Cannes. The crit­ics may com­plain, but the mar­ket re­mains ro­bust, with no signs of com­pa­nies pulling up stakes.

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