The 2015 Berlinale proved to be everything I had ever dreamt it could be and more!
For the past 25 years people have responded with varying degrees of surprise when I admit that I’ve never been to the Berlin Film Festival. Sundance, Cannes, Edinburgh, Cork have all featured in my film past, each offering different experiences as I visited as a programmer, film producer, media executive or ordinary punter! Some were designated festivals for watching new films while others were places to do business and close deals, almost divorced from any screenings.
Berlin for a number of reasons was never on my list. What a mistake that was!
I was able to rectify this omission and spend 3 days at the 2015 Berlinale thanks to the support of Film Hub Wales. The dates were carefully selected to co-inside with the annual Queer Programmers Meeting co-ordinated by the Teddy Jury. This proved to be the largest gathering of queer programmers and festivals I had ever attended.
With the potential to be completely overwhelmed by the whole experience I kept reminding myself of my objectives for attending:
- Meeting people – new contacts, sponsors, partners for collaborations!
- Seeing films and meeting film makers to expand and enrich the Iris programme, especially now that we have increased the number of feature film screenings from 8 to 20!
- Promoting the Iris Prize to encourage submissions and increase the international audience for the annual Cardiff festival.
I’m pleased to confirm I achieved all my objectives and more by attending the Queer Programmers Meeting, hanging out at the Market Place, attending meetings which I had organized before leaving Cardiff, leaving space in my schedule for unexpected meetings and watching films (not as much as I would have liked).
What was unexpected during my packed 3 days in Berlin was finding the time to “think” – considering how busy and frantic the Berlinale can be – but I found the moments between meetings an opportunity to focus the mind.
I’m already looking forward to returning to Berlin for the 2016 festival.