Berlinale Talent Campus celebrates milestone

The Berlinale Talent Campus has plenty to celebrate on its 10th anniversary: More than 10% of the 395 films screening at the fest this year originated from former participants of the educational platform.

Campus alumni were behind three films in Competition, the German titles “Mercy” and “Home for the Weekend” and the Indonesian production “Postcards From the Zoo.”

Other pics unspooling in the Berlinale and the European Film Market with former Campus participants in key roles, such as producer, director or screenwriter, include “A Secret World” (Generation), “Dollhouse” (Panorama), “Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods” (German Cinema) and “Rent-a-Cat” (Panorama).

“We’re very happy that 10% of the films at the Berlinale this year are made by alumni of the Campus,” said Campus program manager Matthijs Wouter Knol. “It’s a huge amount — that’s 40 films. 10% in 10 years is not a bad result.”

The number has been increasing steadily over the years as the Campus alumni community continues to grow. The program has served some 4,000 participants over the past decade, not only supporting and helping to improve film projects, but also helping to finance and produce projects by putting filmmakers in touch with the right people, said Knol.

The Campus has been so successful in helping participants make films that one of this year’s main topics will focus on a problem made relevant by the very fruits of its labors, namely what to do with all the films being made.

“It’s becoming more and more of a problem, and not only for emerging filmmakers, where to put all these films that are being finished.”

While some are selected for festivals, a much higher number are not and don’t even make it into cinemas, Krol added.

“Many films that are being made and also supported by training initiatives like the Campus never really find an audience. We want to address that issue and also do our best to make emerging filmmakers aware of the fact that they need to already think about who their audience is and how they want to reach that audience at the development and production stage of their film,” said Krol.

As a result, growing opportunities in digital distribution will be a major topic at this year’s Campus and for the first time the event has added up and coming film distributors to the program, underscoring the importance of distribution to filmmaking.

Industry experts at this year’s edition include Oscar-winning director Volker Schloendorff, Juliette Binoche, indie producers Christine Vachon and Ted Hope, Keanu Reeves, costume designer Sandy Powell (“Hugo”), Andie MacDowell, Chinese screenwriter Yan Geling (“The Flowers of War”) and cinematographer Ed Lachman (“I’m Not There”).

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