The P&P/ AMIA Student UvA had the pleasure of attending Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival from February 8-16th, 2017. During our visit we made time to not only see many films in few days, but we also were invited to visit Labor Berlin, a filmmaker cooperative and laboratory, and the Deutsche Kinemathek Archive for tours.
We hope over the coming weeks to bring up updates and observations from the festival, as well as an in-depth view of our visits to both Labor and the Kinemathek.
A NOTE ON BERLINALE QUEUES (& NAPS)
The festival itself is always hard work as those lucky to hold accreditation have to get up early each morning to line up for a small pool of student tickets. Where in previous years students would line up with the accredited professionals and be processed quickly, this year the students had a separate queue in the arcade. I am sure this was done to keep the queues shorter at the ‘professionals’ accreditation desk but instead limited our opportunities to network and put us in a much slower queue manned by 2.5 staff members. Which meant that queuing time was more than double of the professionals (who have about 20 staff members processing tickets) and by no means satisfactory. Each morning we tried to get in the queue much earlier only to discover everyone else had the same ideas and be further back in the line.
As for the successful collection of tickets, some days you are lucky and get all of the tickets you want, and other days you were left to brave the queues at the cinemas and hope you can get in with just your badge. This tactic is always hit-and-miss, as some sessions you can saunter in a half hour early and find many seats available, and other times even people with tickets can not get into the theatre. For me the most unsuccessful wait was for Michael Radford’s 1984 classic, 1984 on 35mm. Many people in the queue attributed the unsuccessful wait to the popularity of Orwell’s book since the rise of the 45th American President and the sad loss of John Hurt just weeks earlier. The silver lining was that missing the film meant that I had time for a real meal, which is also hard to do during such a busy festival. Another way to combat missing a screening is to simply wander into any cinema available and to see something new.
Is such a prestigious festival worth the hard work? I believe it is if you network right, attend a lot of screenings, a few parties and see what the European Film Market is all about. This insight of how the festival is run will inform whether we might bring films, or other business, to the festival in the future. Just remember to survive bring lots of food and to nap wherever possible. Sleep is your friend.
Thank you to the Berlinale for giving us this hard but wonderful opportunity and we hope to be back in the future.