BERLIN ( Associated Press) – The Berlin International Film Festival is going to take place in person next month, despite the rising virus numbers in Germany, especially in the capital, organizers said on Wednesday.
“We are aware of the challenges posed by the unpredictable course of the pandemic,” the festival management said in a statement, adding that strict pandemic measures will be implemented at the 72nd edition of one of the world’s most renowned film festivals.
Germany’s Minister of State for Culture and Media, Claudia Roth, said: “We want the festival to send a signal to the entire film industry, to the cinemas and film-goers and to the whole culture – we need cinema, we need culture.”
“Of course, in today’s time, it can only be managed with a few painful cuts and constant vigilance,” she said. “The pandemic situation is dynamic, and the Berlin Film Festival is facing the resulting challenges.”
Only people who have already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently recovered from an infection can access the festival grounds. In addition, a daily rapid test and masks will be required for all those present. Attendance at movie theaters will be reduced to 50% of capacity and all parties and receptions – usually a mandatory attraction of a film festival – will be cancelled.
Last year’s film festival was revamped due to the virus and split into two parts – one for the industry and the other which screens films during the summer.
German news agency DPA reported that the inauguration is still scheduled for 10 February and that the prizes will be given out on 16 February, slightly earlier than initially planned.
The festival’s opening film will be “Peter von Kant” by French film director and screenwriter François Ozon. The film is a free interpretation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant”.
The film, starring Denis Menochet, Isabelle Adjani and Hanna Shygulla, is part of the festival’s international competition and will have its world premiere on February 10, organizers said in a statement.
The festival’s jury will be chaired by American filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.
French actress Isabelle Huppert will be awarded an honorary Golden Bear for her lifetime achievement.
“Huppert is one of the most versatile actors in the world and has played influential characters in nearly 150 cinema and television productions,” the festival management wrote when announcing the nominations.