The Grandmaster to kick off Berlin film festival tomorrow

The Grandmaster to kick off Berlin film festival tomorrow
Around 300 films over 10 days in 22 venues with 57 screens, ranging from 48 seater screening rooms in Cinemax to humongous 1895 seater Friedrichstadt Palast, with a festival

budget of Rs142.3 crore (¤ 19.5 million). Add to this European Film Market (EFM) screening a few hundred films for buyers, the ever growing Berlinale Co-Production Market and the most successful talent campus for young professionals. This is Berlin International Film Festival for the uninitiated. The 1600-seater Berlinale Palast hosts the opening ceremony and awards function and all the competition films are premiered here in formal red carpet screenings.

The growth of the Berlin International Film Festival, from its Zoo Palast period of the eighties to the Potsdamer Platz in 2001 and thereafter has been phenomenal. This can be gauged by comparing the Berlin Film Market in the foyer of the Zoo Palast with a score of stands in olden days to its present home in Martin Gropius Bau and other venues in Ritz Carlton and Marriott. Last year EFM screened 761 films in 1090 screenings and hosted 154 stands.

Every film festival is judged by the selection of films in its festival sections, especially the International Competition, the eminence of the Jury, celebrity participation, facilities to the growth of film business, networking opportunities for professionals, academic activities and excellent organisation. The Berlin Film Festival graph in this respect has been growing northwards every year.

The 2013 edition will open with the Chinese director Wong Kar Wai’s martial arts magnum opus The Grandmaster. Of the 19 films in competition, four are from the US, including Side Effects by Steven Soderbergh, Promised Land by Gus Van Sant and Prince Avalanche by David Gordon Green. Oscar winning Bosnian Danis Tanovic of No Man’s Land will present his new film An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker. South Korean Hong Sangsoo, whose In Another Country premiered in the competition section of Cannes last year, will feature his new film Nobody’s Daughter Haewon in Berlin competition. Incarcerated Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain will have its world premiere in Berlin.

And the jury! Wong Kar Wai is presiding over a seven member international jury, which includes Oscar winning Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, one of the most outstanding German filmmakers Andreas Dresen and American cinematographer-director Ellen Kuras, whose 2008 documentary Betrayal was nominated for Oscar. American actor-director-producer-musician Tim Robbins who won the Academy Award for the best supporting actor, Iranian visual artist-filmmaker Shirin Neshat and the award winning Greek director-producer Athina Rachel Tsangari are also on the jury.

Eminent international filmmakers Ken Loach, Jane Campion, Isabella Rossellini, Paul Verhoven and Nina Ross among others will be in Berlin.

Indian film Kai Po Che by Abhishek Kapoor will premier in the Panorama Special section. Other Indian films in Berlin this year are: Marathi short film Sonyacha Amba by Govinda Raju in the Generation K Plus (Children’s Film), Deepa Dhanraj’s 1986 film Kya Hua Is Shahar Ko in Forum Expanded, Saurav Sarangi’s Moddikhane Char and Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar’s Powerless.

We are ready with our warm clothes to partake the filmy feast on offer in Berlin.

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