×

Berlin Film Festival’s Incoming Co-Directors Unveil First Staffing Changes

Even before officially taking office June 1, incoming Berlinale co-chiefs Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek have unveiled a new team that includes the core of Chatrian’s programming staff when he headed the Locarno Film Festival.

Berlin’s new seven-member selection committee includes Locarno’s former head of programming, Marc Peranson – who takes on the same post in Berlin – and three Locarno selection committee members: Lorenzo Esposito, Sergio Fant, and Aurelie Godet. Variety reported exclusively last month that Peranson, Esposito and Fant would be among those making the move with Chatrian from Locarno to Berlin.

Rounding out the new selection committee are Paz Lazaro, who is stepping down as head of the Berlinale’s Panorama section; Verena Von Stackelberg, founder and managing director of Berlin’s Wolf Kino arthouse cinema; and Barbara Wurm, an expert on Eastern European film.

“I’m responsible for the festival’s artistic profile. In looking after the programming work, supported by the selection committee, I wish to carve out the artistic shape of the entire festival program,” Chatrian said in a statement Thursday.

He and Rissenbeek were tapped last June to take over from outgoing director Dieter Kosslick, whose role has been split into two separate positions.

“We have different tasks, but the same goal: to successfully lead the festival into the future!” Chatrian and Rissenbeek said. “We inherit a festival which is not only recognized as one of the biggest in the world but also plays a significant role in the international film industry; we are aware of the huge task we have in front of us and thank longtime festival director Dieter Kosslick for the work that he has done.”

The duo added that they wanted “to maintain the Berlinale as an audience festival and as a festival for Berlin, and we are looking forward to embracing the new challenges and opportunities that cinema in 21st century offers.”

Aside from the new selection committee, the new co-chiefs named Michael Stutz, a Panorama curator, as the section’s new head, replacing Lazaro. Also, Maike Mia Höhne, the longtime chief of the Berlinale Shorts section, will vacate her position following her appointment as artistic director of the Hamburg International Short Film Festival. Starting on June 1, the Berlin shorts section will be headed by veteran film programmer Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck.

The incoming head of programming, Peranson, is a Canadian critic and the editor and publisher of Canada’s Cinema Scope magazine, and until recently was also a programmer at the Vancouver International Film Festival. He was brought on board in Locarno by Chatrian’s predecessor, Olivier Pere. Peranson is considered an ardent cinephile who is well-wired into the global independent film community.

Esposito, who, like Chatrian, is Italian, is a former collaborator with the Venice, Turin and Rome festivals, and a producer on Italian pubcaster RAI’s cult late-night film-buff program, “Fuori Orario.” He is currently a consultant for the Karlovy Vary fest and France’s Cinema du Reel, which is dedicated to documentaries. Esposito also writes for several publications, including Cinemascope. Besides being in charge of the Italian cinema selection at Locarno, Esposito’s areas of expertise covered cinema from Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Arab world. 

Fant, who is also Italian, has long been based in Germany. Prior to serving on the Locarno team, he worked as a consultant for the Horizons section at Venice. His primary area of expertise is experimental cinema, but at Locarno he also oversaw German and Latin American movie selections.

Godet is a former deputy director of French promotional entity UniFrance’s New York office, a “Cahiers du Cinéma” writer, and a Locarno programmer since 2013.

Chatrian is under pressure to give Berlin’s competition new luster after some complaints that Kosslick, who had run the event for 18 years, let quantity outstrip quality. Bringing the core of his Locarno team to the Berlinale suggests that the soft-spoken Chatrian will continue to apply the same kind of auteur-driven criteria to his selection in Berlin as he did in Locarno, Europe’s preeminent indie cinema event.

In Locarno, Chatrian programmed an increasingly diverse mix of esoteric and more accessible titles, striving to maintain as high a level of quality as possible. He is also on good terms with streaming giants Netflix and Amazon.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rita And Tom Hanks Coronavirus

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Return to U.S. After Coronavirus Diagnosis in Australia

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are back home in the U.S. after they revealed they had contracted coronavirus and were quarantined in Australia. Hanks gave an update on Twitter Saturday morning, thanking everyone who had helped them in Australia and assuring people that they are still isolating themselves in the U.S. “Hey, folks…We’re home now [...]

  • Film Comment Magazine Goes on Hiatus

    Film Comment Magazine to Go on Hiatus as Film at Lincoln Center Lays Off Half of Staff

    Many companies are being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Film at Lincoln Center is the latest organization to have to lay off employees and pause some of their operations. On Friday, executive director Lesli Klainberg released a memo announcing that the center had to furlough or lay off about half of its [...]

  • "Birds of Prey" egg sandwich

    'Birds of Prey' Actor Bruno Oliver Recreates Harley Quinn's Famous Sandwich

    When actor Bruno Oliver booked the role of short order cook Sal in “Birds of Prey: (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” he had no idea how significant Sal and his breakfast sandwich were to the story. “You couldn’t tell from the audition necessarily and as actors, we always worry about our scenes [...]

  • Minyan

    'Minyan': Film Review

    Best known for the unexpectedly soul-shattering San Francisco suicide doc “The Bridge,” indie filmmaker Eric Steel came out and came of age in 1980s New York at a moment just before AIDS devastated the city’s gay community. Such timing must have been surreal, to assume something so liberating about one’s own identity, only to watch [...]

  • Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches

    Film New Roundup: Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches North American Distribution

    In today’s film news roundup, “The Queen’s Corgi” finds a home, the Overlook Film Festival is postponed and the California Film Commission adjusts its tax credit rules due to the coronavirus. ACQUISITION Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the animated family comedy feature “The Queen’s Corgi,” and plans to make it available on DVD and to [...]

  • APA Logo

    APA Sets Salary Cuts and Furloughs in Wake of Covid-19 Pandemic

    Following in the steps of several agencies dealing with the coronavirus, APA has informed all offices of upcoming salary cuts along with possible suspensions and furloughs for employees due to the pandemic’s economic effect on the industry. APA board of directors will make the largest financial sacrifice. The move has been made to avoid layoffs [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content