Berlin film festival is postponed amid virus

2020-12-20 15:40:36 GMT2020-12-20 23:40:36(Beijing Time) Sina English

This file photo taken on February 17, 2020 shows people queuing as they wait for the 70th Berlinale film festival tickets to go on sale at a mall in Berlin.

Berlin’s international film festival postponed 2021’s event as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a harsh toll on the global entertainment industry.

Usually Europe’s first major cinema showcase of the year, the annual February Berlinale will now take place as a strictly digital event for industry players in March.

An international jury, whose previous presidents include Meryl Streep and Tilda Swinton, will choose the winners of the Golden and Silver Bear top prizes. Featured films will only be screened for the public in June.

“There is a great desire to meet face-to-face. The current situation does not allow a physical festival in February, at the same time it is important to offer the film industry a market within the first quarter of the year,” Berlinale Executive Director Mariette Rissenbeek said.

“With the change in the festival format in 2021, we will have the chance to protect the health of all guests and to support the restart of the cinema industry.”

The Berlinale, which ranks with Cannes and Venice among the top European film festivals, prides itself on being the only one of the trio to sell tickets to the public for nearly all screenings.

Rissenbeek said the June screenings, in open-air and indoor movie houses, would “offer the Berlinale audience the long-awaited community experience of cinema and culture.”

Germany closed all cinemas in the country in early November as part of a shutdown to tame the COVID-19 but the restrictions have failed to bring infection numbers down.