Set up for the 2023 Berlinale Film Festival

Aces sections of the Berlinale as budget cuts hit the festival

The Berlinale has announced that the film festival will make changes to its programming starting next year due to budget cuts leading up to the 2024 season.

The 74th annual festival will run from February 15 to 25 next year, but without arthouse programming such as the episodic section, German cinema spotlight and more. The Berlinale is the world’s largest public film festival and will reduce the total number of films to around 200, down from 287 films screened across all sections in 2023. Each section, except the main competition, will feature fewer films starting in 2024 Potsdamer Platz and the prestigious Berlinale Palast will remain the heart of the festival, serving as the central point for the city’s festival network.

“Like many other areas of society, cultural institutions and festivals are experiencing dramatic cost increases but unchanged budgets,” festival executives said in a statement shared with IndieWire. “With this in mind, we need to introduce structural adjustments to create a stable budgetary basis for the organization and implementation of the Berlinale in the future. This process brings with it the opportunity to optimize the presentation and perception of invited films using a more focused schedule.”

Cut programming includes the side section Perspektive Deutsches Kino focusing on up-and-coming German filmmakers and the Berlinale series for TV programmes. Instead, the Berlinale Series will be included in the Berlinale Special Gala section, which will be overseen by artistic director Carlo Chatrian after Julia Fidel steps out as head of the Berlinale Series.

The budget cuts are partly due to the German Ministry of Culture, which co-finances the festival to the tune of $11.8 million annually. An additional $2.4 million was spent in 2022 and 2023 to cover rising costs, but the extra funds won’t go forward in 2024.

This year’s Berlin jury was chaired by Kristen Stewart and awarded the Golden Bear to the French documentary “On the Adamant”, directed by Nicolas Philibert. The Silver Bear for Best Director went to Philippe Garrel for “The Plough”, while the Silver Bear for Best Performance in a Leading Role went in particular to child star Sofia Otero for “20,000 Species of Bees” . Steven Spielberg received the Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement.