2017 is upon us, and with a new year comes a slew of awards ceremonies to honor cinematic achievements throughout the previous year. The Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTAs may hoover up most the attention for celebrating what came before, but what of those who look to the future? The 67th Annual Berlin Film Festival, which will screen around 400 different films from 13 different categories between February 9th and February 19th in 22 different venues, will showcase a diverse range of cinematic endeavours from a variety of filmmakers.
The ceremony will open on the 9th with Back for Good, a graduation film directed by former student Mia Spengler. Back for Good will be screened at the Kino International on Karl-Marx-Allee, which is considered by many Berliners to be the most eminent and beautiful cinema in the city. Spengler will join illustrious company, as the very first Berlin Film Awards back 1951 were opened by none other than Alfred Hitchcock, with a screening of his 1940 classic Rebecca – the first opportunity German audiences had to experience the picture.
Despite being a gathering of the great and the good of the European film industry, the public can also purchase tickets to any of the screenings at the Berlin Film Festival. A full programme will be available online from the beginning of February, and there will be availability for a full festival pass or individual screenings. It will also be possible to purchase tickets over the counter at any of the 22 cinema venues on the day of the screenings, availability permitting. There will also be a number of marketplaces taking place throughout the festival, where deals for distribution rights will be brokered, contacts and working relationships forged, and ideas and experiences exchanged.
In addition to screening and showcasing any number of screen art undertakings, the Berlin Film Festival will dole out awards. The Golden Bear is the most prestigious, presented to the films declared Best Picture (decided by an international jury, notable previous winners include works by Ang Lee, Paul Greengrass and Paul Thomas Anderson) and Best Short Film, while a Golden Bear will also be presented as a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Silver Bears are handed out to the winners of the Jury Grand Prix (another Best Picture award, though this time assigned by a panel of attending judges of the festival); the Alfred Bauer prize for a feature that provides a new and original insight in the art of cinema; Best Director, Actor, Actress, Script and Music; the Silver Bear second-place award for Best Short Film; and the Silver Bear Outstanding Artistic Achievement Award.
Other honours include the Panorama Publikumspreis for the film voted as best by the audience; the Berlinale Camera, for services to the festival; the Teddy award for films that focus upon LGBTQ themes; the Shooting Star Award, for young acting talent; and Crystal Bears for talented children that produce the Best Film and Best Short Film.
The Berlin Film Festival is the largest celebration of the screen arts in the world, attracting the most notable filmmakers and critics in the industry. It promises to be an event not to be missed.