One of my favorite events in my year is beginning on Thursday (Feb 15, 2018): The Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale. For ten cold, long days, industry elites gather at Potsdamer Platz to showcase their upcoming releases. In addition to the films being screened for the press there is also a great deal available for the general public to enjoy, including film screenings, talks with industry professionals, food trucks, and red carpet events.
Despite being one of the most respected film festivals in Europe, things remain relatively low-key and it is simple for the general public to get tickets. In fact, the first batch of tickets went on sale today so be sure to check out the website for more information. While many of the events that went on sale this morning are likely to already be sold out, there are still plenty of opportunities for tickets.
For those who are new to this whole business, let me give you a quick run-down. It is possible to buy tickets for most screenings of films at the festival three days in advance. A limited amount of tickets are available online and more are available at four locations around the city: Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, at Kino International, at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, or Audi City Berlin. If you don’t particularly care what movie you go to see, it is worth it to go to one of these locations and check out what tickets are available. There is pretty much always something available, though be warned that you might end up seeing some very experimental films if you don’t pay attention. Also, tickets for repeat screenings of Competition films are available to be purchased four days in advance. Yes, this is confusing, sorry about that. Really, check out the website for more clarity and also check out this link for the online program.
I’ve been lucky enough to be an accredited journalist at the festival for the last five years and it never stops being an exciting experience for me. Potsdamer Platz always has such a great vibe at this time, different from its usual day-to-day feeling of artificial commercialism. Whether you get a chance to get tickets to a film or not, it can be fun to just turn up in the area throughout the day. There are some food trucks over next to the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, and at the Berlinale Palast (Theater am Potsdamer Platz) you can watch on a jumbotron the live press conferences with the filmmakers and actors of films from the Competition and Panorama sections. In the evening, it is possible to watch the red carpet as international stars pretend not to be freezing in all of their finery as they pose for pictures. Good fun for all.
Over the several days I will be posting my reports of the films I’ve seen, recommendations, and general tips about the festival so be sure to come back and check it out!