Berlin Film Festival 2021: in-person screenings to take place in June

Organisers confirmed an outdoor, open-air event will be held as Covid-19 infections drop in the German capital

An in-person event for the Berlin Film Festival will go ahead as planned this June. AFP
An in-person event for the Berlin Film Festival will go ahead as planned this June. AFP

Organisers of the Berlin Film Festival said pandemic conditions in the German capital have improved enough for them to hold a planned outdoor event in June.

The coronavirus outbreak forced the Berlinale, one of Europe's top cinema showcases, to push back its usual February event and split it into two parts.

It held an all-online programme for critics and industry buyers in March and will now press on with an exclusively outdoor festival for the general public from June 9 to 20.

"The Berlinale is pleased to be able to give audiences the enjoyment of an open-air cinema experience at 16 venues in total at the Summer Special," organisers said on Monday.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 17, 2021 bear trophies for the upcoming 71st Berlinale film festival are displayed during a media tour at the Noack foundry in Berlin. Organisers of the Berlin film festival said on Mai 10, 2021 that pandemic conditions in the German capital had improved enough for them to hold the exclusively outdoor festival for the general public June 9-20. The coronavirus outbreak forced the Berlinale to push back its usual February event and split it into two parts, with an all-online edition for critics and industry buyers which took part in February. / AFP / POOL / HANNIBAL HANSCHKE
Winners of the Berlinale's Golden and Silver Bear prizes will be awarded at a ceremony next month. AFP

The festival said Berlin's falling infection rate "as well as positive signals by government offices" led to the decision.

"Audiences will be getting a very special, collective festival experience – something we've all been missing for such a long time," organisers said.

The June event "is geared towards reigniting the desire to go to the cinema, and to contributing to the revival of cultural activities with an audience".

The programme will be made up primarily of films shown during March's online event, including the winners of its Golden and Silver Bear prizes, which will be awarded at a gala ceremony on Sunday, June 13.

Existing open-air cinemas throughout the city, as well as a specially created site on Berlin's historic Museum Island, will serve as venues. Ticket sales will begin on Thursday, May 27.

The global pandemic has dealt a blow to the cinema industry and created major complications for film distribution and production for more than a year.

Cannes, the world's top film festival, usually held in May, has been postponed to July this year, owing to the pandemic, and was cancelled outright last year.

Berlin on Monday reported a seven-day coronavirus incidence just over the 100-mark, meaning cinemas, restaurants and other facilities remain closed.

However, officials are hopeful that an accelerating vaccination campaign and tightened lockdown measures will bring infections down soon, allowing for at least partial reopening.

Updated: May 12, 2021 04:46 PM

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