The Berlin Film Festival has confirmed that its in-person ‘Summer Special’ will go ahead as planned as an exclusively outdoor event.
The decision comes just under a month after organizers revealed that staging the event in cinemas and outdoors was proving to be a “bigger challenge” than anticipated given worrying COVID-19 figures out of Germany. The fest said it would make a final decision in May, and in a refreshing turn of events, it’s good news for the international film industry.
Organizers said the event will run from June 9-20, albeit without the planned indoor screenings. “The Berlinale is pleased to be able to give audiences the enjoyment of an open-air cinema experience at 16 venues in total at the Summer Special,” reads a statement.
Organizers cited Berlin’s falling 7-day incidence for COVID-19, as well as “positive signals” by government officials to support the request for a pilot project with mandatory testing as reasons for the June confab going ahead.
Berlin confirmed in December that it would take place “in two stages” in 2021 — first with a virtual European Film Market in early March, and then as a summer event with film screenings for public audiences.
The festival program will be on offer to Berlin audiences across the city at a total of 16 venues, including a specially created outdoor cinema at the historic Museum Island Berlin as the main venue. The “Kiez-Kino” local cinema screenings will also take place as outdoor events.
The open-air venues include: Freiluftkino Museumsinsel, Freiluftkino Friedrichshain, Freiluftkino Rehberge, Freiluftkino Kreuzberg, Freiluftkino Hasenheide, ARTE Sommerkino Kulturforum, ARTE Sommerkino Schloss Charlottenburg, Open Air Kino HKW, silent green, Atelier Gardens Freiluftkino @ BUFA, Freilichtbühne Weißensee, Freiluftkino Biesdorfer Parkbühne, Freiluftkino Friedrichshagen, Freiluftkino Pompeji, Freiluftkino vom Filmrauschpalast and Frischluftkino@Studentendorf.
Organizers said the fest is now working “at full speed” to put measures in place for the outdoor festival. The Summer Special will open on June 9 at the main venue at Museum Island Berlin, while a June 13 awards ceremony will honor the films selected by official juries in March.
The program will be unveiled on May 20, while ticket sales will begin May 27.