The Berlin Film Festival‘s new leadership duo of Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek have revealed some of their new programming team. As anticipated there is a strong Locarno (Chatrian’s former festival) flavour. Chatrian has appointed a seven-member selection committee. Locarno’s former head of programming, Marc Peranson, will serve as head of programming and chair of the selection committee, which will also include three former Locarno selectors in the shape of Lorenzo Esposito, Sergio Fant, and Aurelie Godet. Also joining the committee will be programmer Verena von Stackelberg and author and curator Barbara Wurm. The new chief for the festival’s Panorama section will be Michael Stutz, a former Panorama curator. He takes over from Paz Lázaro, who will also be joining the selection committee.
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Artistic director Chatrian and executive director Rissenbeek officially take office from outgoing boss Dieter Kosslick on June 1, 2019. They said, “We have different tasks, but the same goal: to successfully lead the festival into the future! We inherit a festival which is not only recognised as one of the biggest in the world but also plays a significant role in the international film industry; we are aware of the huge task we have in front of us and thank long-time festival director Dieter Kosslick for the work that he has done. We wish to maintain the Berlinale as an audience festival and as a festival for Berlin and we are looking forward to embracing the new challenges and opportunities that cinema in 21st century offers.”
“My focus is on financing and organisational as well as communication structures on the one hand and developing new strategies and the respective concepts on the other. This includes the support of the industry activities European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and World Cinema Fund as well as cooperation with our partners in fields other than programming,” commented Rissenbeek. “I’m responsible for the festival’s artistic profile. In looking after the programming work, supported by the selection committee, I wish to carve out the artistic shape of the entire festival programme,” added Chatrian.
Horror maestro John Carpenter is to be feted at the Cannes Film Festival with the 2019 Golden Coach Award (Carrosse d’Or), which is handed out by the festival’s sidebar strand the Directors’ Fortnight. Halloween and Escape From New York director Carpenter will receive the prize on May 15, on the opening night of the Directors’ Fortnight strand. The iconic director was selected by the French Directors’ Guild, who called Carpenter “a creative genius of raw, fantastic and spectacular emotions.” Carpenter, 71, is also well known as a composer and the guild praised his “great soundtracks [which] keep inspiring the French electronic music scene.” Past winners of the Golden Coach include Martin Scorsese (2018), Werner Herzog (2017), Jia Zhangke (2015), Jane Campion (2013) and Agnes Varda (2010).
In other Cannes-related news, the festival has confirmed the official selection will be unveiled in Paris on April 18.
Here’s an interesting development out of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is backing its first film festival, the Red Sea International Film Festival, according to a statement made by Prince Badr Bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture, at an event in the Saudi capital Riyadh. The festival will begin next year, held annually in Jeddah’s historic district. It will have a focus on emerging talents from Saudi Arabia, the Arab world and the ‘global south’, as well as new trends in international storytelling. The Saudi Prince said the aim is to help boost local production and to invigorate distribution in the country for local and international films, after a 30 year hiatus during which cinemas were banned in the Kingdom. There will be an industry component, including the Red Sea Film Lodge, an all-year incubation film lab aimed at projects from local and regional film directors. The Red Sea Film Festival Foundation, organizing the festival, is chaired by Prince Badr Bin Farhan Al Saud, the Minister of Culture with Saudi producer-director Mahmoud Sabbagh as its president. A date for the festival was not revealed. The international guest list for this one will be awaited with interest.
Meanwhile, in Italy Matteo Garrone’s Cannes drama Dogman won nine prizes at Italy’s David di Donatello awards in Rome last night (March 27), including best picture, best supporting actor, best cinematography and best original screenplay. Alessandro Borghi won best actor for his performance in Netflix’s drama On My Skin, which had a brief theatrical berth. Alessio Cremonini’s film about police brutality also won best debut director and best producer. Them, Capri Revolution and Call Me By Your Name won two awards while Paolo Sorrentino’s Silvio Berlusconi biopic Them won best actress (Elena Sofia Ricci) and best hairstyling.
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