Berlinale Series Head, Solmaz Azizi, Stepping Down

Solmaz Azizi, head of the growing Berlinale Series event that takes place during the Berlin Film Festival, is stepping down. Berlinale Series coordinator Judith Klein is also exiting. The organizers of the film festival confirmed the departures and said that the Series event will continue in the same format.

Azizi and Klein sent a joint statement to industry colleagues, Thursday, saying they had decided to leave. “After over a decade of Berlinale craziness, Judith and I have decided to move on to new challenges ahead,” they said.

The pair added: “We are very proud of having created a program for serial content that has established itself as one of the major premiere platforms worldwide and we do hope that it will have a bright future ahead. It has been a joy to have worked with you over the past years and we would like to thank you all for the great collaboration and the wonderful content you brought to the festival.”

Azizi has a long association with Berlin having been a program manager for the main festival competition before building the Berlinale Series. It is an independent program within the Berlinale Special section. Amazon’s high-concept thriller “Hanna” and Netflix’s Swedish original “Quicksand” were among the highlights this year, alongside Austrian thriller, “M – A City Hunts a Murderer,” inspired by a 1930s Fritz Lang classic.

“Solmaz Azizi has decided to leave the Berlinale Series team and to look for new professional challenges,” Berlinale organizers said in a statement to Variety. “The festival thanks her for her longstanding commitment and her successful work and wishes her all the best.”

The festival also confirmed that the Series event will continue and said: “In 2020, Berlinale Series will maintain its profile and continue in the same format as in previous years.”

Berlin has established itself as an important pre-MipTV date in the international TV calendar. The Berlinale Series screenings are part of a growing roster of TV events during the film festival. There are also the Drama Series Days, an industry-focused initiative from the European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents, which runs for three days.

There have been several personnel changes at Berlin in the wake of Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek coming in as co-chiefs after Dieter Kosslick’s tenure ended. An update on Berlinale Series is expected over the summer.

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