Berlin Film Festival’s Summer Screenings Event In Doubt Due To Covid-19 Restrictions

Berlin Film Festival
Berlin Film Festival AP

The Berlin Film Festival’s planned summer screenings event is in doubt due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in Germany.

The festival said today: “The restrictions set out by the recently updated Infection Protection Act now make the planning of the Berlinale Summer Special a bigger challenge. The festival directors are currently in contact with the authorities to determine the next steps for an all-outdoor event. The Berlinale also wants to explore the possibility of a pilot cultural event with mandatory testing. A final decision regarding the Summer Special will be made beginning of May. Everyone’s health and curbing the development of the pandemic is, of course, the top priority when making any considerations.”

“Postponing the Summer Special to a time other than June, or an online audience festival, has never been an option,” said the Berlinales director duo, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian. “From the start, what we’ve really wanted to do is present the Berlinale films to audiences at a shared cinema experience.”

The Berlin Film Festival was unable to take place this year as a physical event in February/March due to the pandemic. The festival instead staged a digital event and also planned a summer event between June 9-20, when audiences would be able to watch the majority of the festival films. The festival already announced its 2021 winners, with Radu Jude’s Bad Luck Banging Or Loony Porn scooping the top prize.

Germany recorded 19,000 new Covid cases yesterday and 354 deaths as the pandemic continues to hurt the country. Strict restrictions were recently implemented to help curb a third wave of the virus. These could last until at least June.

The festival added today: “The open air option unfortunately does not allow for presentations of 35mm prints. This is why it was decided to completely postpone the Retrospective of the Berlinale 2021, which is based largely on classic film footage, to the Festival in 2022 in order to preserve its curatorial requirements. The Forum Expanded exhibition that was planned to open on May 18 at SAVVY Contemporary will be cancelled for 2021. The artist group The Living and the Dead Ensemble will instead show from May 18 in the windows of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin. The selected works will be presented next year.”

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