• Festivals

Berlin 2016: Business, Food and Social Justice

As the Berlinale enters its 5th day and film theatres are filling up with film critics and movie fans, the Berlin International Film Festival is hosting the European Film Market. In its tenth year at the Martin-Gropius Bau Center, this year’s EFM presented Industry debates focussing on current issues in the film and media industry. Among the panels are Korea’s Growing Influence on South East Asian Cinema, the Role of Producers as Entrepreneurs and the Boom in High-end TV Series in Europe.

The first industry event organized by the EFM dealt with the cross-border activities of the Korean cinema and film industry in South East Asia, questioning the effects this industrial outreach have on local industries and what is the dynamic between major industries in Asia at the moment.

The second debate was centered on independent producers and how, beyond having creative and content-related tasks, they must establish themselves as entrepreneurs and diversify to work across film, TV, advertising and digital media in order to survive in a fiercely competitive market.

The third Industry debate revolved around the recent boom in high-end TV series in Europe, which opened up new opportunities for producers and talent to sell their shows. The panel explored the ingredients that make a series internationally successful.

While at the film and TV industries debated about their future at the Martin-Gropius Bau, the 66th Berlinale has been whetting the festivalgoers' appetite for some good food. “Make Food Not War” is the motto of the 10th Culinary Cinema program, which takes place from February 14 to 19, 2016, presenting eleven feature-length films focussed on the relationship between food, culture and politics.

This year Culinary Cinema opened with Campo a través. Mugaritz, intuyendo un camino (Cross Country. Mugaritz, Sensing a Path). The documentary feature, directed by Pep Gatell (La Fura dels Baus), is a fascinating portrait of Andoni Luis Aduriz’s the two-star Mugaritz restaurant in San Sebastian, one of the ten best in the world, and its universe. Along with the screening of the documentary, chef Andoni Luis Aduriz and his Mugaritz team offered a dinner for 200 guests on February 14th at The Gropius Mirror Restaurant.

Since 2007, Culinary Cinema has been exploring the relationship between food culture and politics. A fact that is especially evident now, at this time of great migration. In collaboration with the Berlin-based refugee initiative, Über den Tellerrand kochen (Cooking outside the box) Sardinian star chef Roberto Petza offered Mediterranean food from a truck. He’s already cooked with refugees at the Italian food festival Il Pranzo di Babele. As Thomas Struck, Culinary Cinema’s curator commented during the inauguration, ”The Berlinale is simply the place for cross-genre taste and to enjoy communal experiences.”

To bring attention to the refugee crisis the 66th Berlin International Film Festival launched “Initiatives for Refugees.” Sixty six years ago, when the first Berlinale took place, there were millions of German refugees and traumatised displaced persons in Europe. The festival made a point of fostering understanding, tolerance and acceptance. Since then it has always been responsive to current events in society. As of last year, more than seventy nine thousand people sought refuge in the German capital, according to the Berlin Senate department of health and social services – and the festival responded by adding several projects aimed specifically at helping refugees. Among them, a request for guests and audiences to make a donation to the non-profit Berlin Center for Torture Victims, which provides support for people traumatised by torture, war, migration and persecution. In addition, the “Sponsored Cinema Visit” initiative asked Berlin non-profit aid programmes to nominate volunteers who would like to accompany a refugee to a screening. The initiative has also offered a chance for refugees to spend time in various areas behind the scenes in the festival offices.

Follow our Berlin 2016 coverage, here.