Berlin Film festival Launches New Competitive Section ‘Encounters’

Under the new leadership of artistic director Carlo Chatrian and executive director Mariette Rissenbeek, the Berlin Film Festival is launching a new competitive section, along with a few other changes in the Berlinale programme.

On top of the international competition and Berlinale Shorts sections, the Berlin Film Festival will now boast a competitive roster called Encounters which will aim at showcasing “daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers,” as well as “give more room to diverse narrative and documentary forms in the official selection,” said the festival in a release.

The Encounters lineup will comprise of 15 titles maximum, either fiction or documentary films of at least 60 minutes in length, which will have their world or international premieres at Berlin. A three-member jury will choose winners for best film, best director and a special jury award.

“The 21st century with its technological and economical shifts has changed film production in many ways, making boundaries between fiction and documentary, film essay and genre, less stable and more porous,” said Chatrian.

Chatrian, who used to run the Locarno Film Festival, said the Berlinale is “committed to propelling the market and discovering new cinematic visions.”

Rissenbeek said Encounters was “an ideal supplement for Competition and the whole of the festival’s programme spectrum.”

The pair also unveiled a new selection committee which will now take on film scouting in Europe and other countries. Aside from the previously announced members, Jacob Wong (China, Taiwan and Hong Kong), Ryan Werner (USA), Paz Lázaro (Latin America), Eduardo Valente (Brazil), Meenakshi Shedde (India and South Asia), Maryanne Redpath (Australia and New Zealand) and Dorothee Wenner (Sub-Saharan Africa) have been appointed in their respective region.

In addition, Norman Wang, Luciano Monteagudo, Dennis Lim, Jason Ryle, and former long-time EFM director Beki Probst will be working as advisors and will be relaying information on the state of culture and cinema, as well as facilitating relationships with filmmakers and/or the film industry.

The Berlin Film Festival, meanwhile, is axing the Culinary Cinema section and will look to incorporate eventual culinary-themed films in the existing festival sections.

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