Notes from the Field: Berlin

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Berlinale, Notes from the Field, PFS in Berlin, Programming for 21st Philadelphia Film Festival, Tags

Just got back from Berlin where the Berlinale and the European Film Market were taking place. It was the first PFS work outing for our new Associate Programmer, Dilcia Barrera, who’s background at Sundance, AFI Fest and Outfest have us all excited about having her on our team. She was covering the Forum and Panorama sections for us while I sifted through the competition and the market looking for the perfect picks for Philly.

It was a big year for searing family dramas. The competition included, from Swiss filmmaker Ursula Meier, ‘Sister,’ starring Léa Seydoux, Kacey Mottet and Gillian Anderson, about a young ski thief and his desperate attempts to support himself and his older sibling. Also in competition were two films surrounding problems in German families, Hans-Christian Schmid’s ‘Home For the Weekend’ and Matthias Glasner’s ‘Mercy.’ In Panorama, the opening night film was Umut Dag’s ‘Kuma,’ a gut-wrenching portrait of arranged marriage in a German/Turkish family and in Forum, an equally as gut-wrenching Romanian portrait of divorce and child custody in Radu Jude’s ‘Everybody in Our Family.’

Award winners we screened included the recipient of the Golden Bear, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s ‘Caesar Must Die’ about a group of convicts putting on a production of Julius Caesar, and Christian Petzold’s microcosm of a period piece about the worst effects of the Berlin wall in ‘Barbara.’ Between Dilcia and I, we saw around 60 films, took meetings with top sales agents to discuss upcoming projects and consumed a lot of Wiener schnitzel. Now we’ve returned to our desks to start the rush of booking some of the best titles for the festival in October. Stay turned…

Michael Lerman
Artistic Director

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