An expanding European Film Market which is increasingly flexible: this is the image that director, Matthijs Wouter Knol, and president, Beki Probst, present of the Berlinale market to be held from 11 to 19 February in the Martin- Gropius-Bau and the Hotel Marriott, which were already ‘sold out’ by mid-January.
The new features include a stand that, for the very first time, will group together nations from South East Asia (ASEAN): the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Brunei.
It will be located in Gropius Park, the space surrounding the Martin-Gropius-Bau, which already hosts a number of stands, and which, explains Knol “we are developing further in order to welcome a growing number of companies”. Gropius Park also contains another new feature for this edition, the EFM Cinemobile, “a kind of marquee with eighty places, equipped with DCP and all the latest cutting-edge technology”, announces BekiProbst.
Another theater for market screenings, 40% of which, continues Probst, “consist of titles from the Berlinale selection, which makes it much more interesting because it is a mark of quality, and even originality. In fact, we are always looking for new products that weren’t around in the last year”.
The screenings will not be restricted to cinema, after last year’s successful edition, the market screenings of drama series will continue as part of the Drama Series Days (15-16 February), which also include panels and events and that, in addition to the EFM, will involve the Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents.
This year the selection will also include documentary series, testifying to an attentive and growing interest (the participation of professionals in the Meet the Docs platform is also on the rise), in a genre that, underlines Probst, “often recounts and interprets reality better than drama cinema”.
The spotlight will be on documentaries at the festival as well, “as is natural, especially after the year we have just had”, adds Knol, citing Gianfranco Rosi’s film in competition “Fuocoammare”, about the inhabitants of Lampedusa and their relationship with the migrants during this long emergency period.
Among the documentary series at the screenings, the director of the EFM mentions “Truth and Power”, a ten part investigative documentary about left wing movements in the USA, produced by Participant Media for Pivot, which will air from 22 January, and the Danish “I Am The Ambassador”.
With regard to ‘drama’, there is France’s “Trepalium”, produced by Arte, the Australian series “Cleverman” or the “Kudamm 56”, produced by Ufa.
“There is a strong presence of British series, but there are also titles from Belgium”, underlines Knol. Plus the Danes, the true maestros of television drama series will be present with the second season of ‘Follow the Money’ “after we hosted the screening of the first series last year”, and “Splitting up together”.
And no wonder that the seven TV series projects that will be presented with a pitch at the Co-Production Market include a project from the Danish Oscar winner Bille August.
Returning to the expanding market spaces, this year the EFM will include an innovation, the ‘EFM PopUp Offices’, “small and short-term work and meeting spaces in the main hall of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, that can be rented for meetings by companies that are interested in having a contemporary workspace at the market but who still need to hold their meetings in privacy”.
It is also an opportunity available for the ten companies of the EFM Startups initiative, a networking platform launched last year that show- cases ten startups linked to the media or the film industry.
“This year the companies will not just be from Berlin, we have scouted them all over Europe”, concludes Knol, “for now the dominant presence is from Northern Europe, but we are interested to include Southern European countries, particularly France, Italy and Spain, where we know there are some very interesting entities”.