A mass shooting in the West German city of Hanau has raised security concerns for the Berlin Film Festival, which kicks off on Thursday. At least nine people are believed to have been killed.
The 43-year-old suspect, who is reported to have later killed himself at his home, opened fire on a bar in the center of Hanau, and again at a second bar elsewhere in the city.
In Berlin, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “There are many indications at the moment that the perpetrator acted on right-wing extremist, racist motives, out of hatred towards people of other origins, religion or appearance.”
Most festivals have, in recent years, enforced strict security protocols, but fests generally roll out greater security measures around such terror attacks. The Cannes Film Festival spent millions in 2017 following the lorry terror attacks in Nice in July 2016. Similarly, the MIP and MIPCOM TV markets in Cannes continue to enforce extensive security procedures in the wake of the incident.
In a statement, a Berlin Film Festival spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened to hear what has happened in Hanau and our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.
“As always, the Berlinale has high-standard security measures in place and is in constant exchange with the security authorities in Berlin. This includes bag checks and the prohibition of large pieces of luggage at the Berlinale venues. In addition, the Berlinale and the individual venues are closely monitored and supervised by the security authorities.
“We are kept informed on a regular basis and are able to adapt our security measure at short notice. For the moment, we don’t have any indications to change the existing security measures. We hope you will understand that we cannot provide any information about further measures to not limit their effectiveness. We look forward to a peaceful and cosmopolitan Berlinale.”
The festival runs from Thursday to March 1. The fest will open with Philippe Falardeau’s “My Salinger Year,” starring Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver.