A celebration that aims to pay tribute to the president Beki Probst who founded the EFM in 1988 “when”, she says, “the world was very different. We began modestly, with a small market, thinking that a festival needed industry and that in order to attract this it would be necessary to create a space where professionals could exchange ideas with people doing the same things as them.”
Giving importance to everything that revolves around films: this is how, albeit in a world that is technologically light years away, the EFM preserves its identity and it is for this reason that the director Matthijs Wouter Knol, who took over from Probst in 2014, with “the task of placing the market on the world map of cinema today”, decided not to change the name, rather placing some other words next to “Film” in order to better specify its evolutions. Evolutions which have seen the strengthening of what Knol defines as the niche markets within the EFM, and which are increasingly incorporated within the festival.
Like the Drama Series Days which will be held at the Zoo Palast where this year it will be possible to attend the screenings of the Berlinale Series and, on 21 February, the 8 pitches of the projects selected at Co-Production Series.
Knol comments: “Together with Dieter Kosslick we decided to bring together all the content related to series in the same location. It is a relatively small program, but with a group of participants – 500 last year – that is easily identifiable”.
Also within the EFM is DocSalon that is replacing Meet the Docs on its tenth anniversary: “we took advantage of this occasion to make it even more professional, to expand the space and strengthen the links with the festival which, since last year, has dedicated a Golden Bear to documentaries, the Glashütte Original – Documentary Award”.
Film remains at the center but the public attending the market has diversified to include the producers of TV series, virtual reality, app developers…
Moreover, this year EFM Horizon – the platform dedicated to the future of the film and media industry of tomorrow – is getting bigger, with a five day program (on digital innovation, virtual reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence as well as diversiy and future-proof business models…) held inside the new EFM Berliner Freiheit, within walking distance from the Marriott Hotel.
Beside latest developments in VR technology and storytelling being showcased at EFM Horizon, a selection of companies producing virtual reality will exhibit at the Marriott Hotel where a new state-of-the-art VR cinema at Marriott will be based, that’s where the VR market screenings will take place.
Also receiving a boost is the EFM Producers Hub, the networking platform for producers created with the arrival of Knol, in 2015, that from this year can count on the collaboration of the association of independent producers, ACE, and the Co-Production Market.
The latter is becoming increasingly incorporated into the festival also thanks to the extreme variety of the participants, from new talents to well-established names (like Todd Solondz, for example), and vaunts a high number of completed projects (around 260) which are often then hosted in the various sections of the Berlinale.
This is the case this year for “Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot” by Philip Gröning, and the aforementioned “Daughter of mine” by Laura Bispuri, in competition.
Another italian at EFM is Rosella Pastorino, who has been invited to Books at Berlinale together with the publisher Vicky Satlow Literary Agency, to present, before an audience of producers, her novel “Hitler’s Feast”, inspired by the true story of Margot Wolk, one of Hitler’s “tasters”.