The Berlin International Film Festival will be celebrating its 70th anniversary edition next year and has decided to move to the later date of February 20 to March 1, 2020.
The Oscars are due to take place on February 9 in 2020 with BAFTAs on February 2. This is a significant move for the festival, giving it breathing room after Sundance and moving it away from the congestion of awards season. The BAFTAs tend to take place during the festival.
In recent years Berlin has become less of a launchpad for studio films. The event, which will have new leadership in 2020 (Locarno’s Carlo Chatrian is taking over the artistic director role), could be boosted by industry viewing the new date as a slightly better one from which to launch projects.
Echoing a common sentiment among those I canvassed about the change, one professional speculated that the demarcation with the Oscars could mean the festival is viewed as a “genuinely new start to the film year”, at least internationally. But given that new management will be coming in to the festival there is inevitably a degree of uncertainty (and anticipation) over the shape the festival will take.
There has been ongoing industry speculation in recent months that the festival could adopt a more radical date change, moving into November or December. But today’s announcement quashes that rumour for 2020.