The European Film Market studio in Berlin, used to shoot many of the virtual event’s online sessions, has been temporarily shut down following a break-in on Thursday night.
Sources tell Variety that key pieces of equipment were stolen from the Berliner Freiheit studio near Potsdamer Platz — the festival’s busy hub in central Berlin — rendering it impossible to go ahead with planned shoots. All sessions that were set to be filmed there on Friday have been transferred to a different location.
A spokesperson for the Berlinale has said that the EFM program will be broadcast as scheduled from the new location. “For formats of the following days, we will be able to continue as planned from our regular EFM studio,” they told Variety.
The festival is currently liaising with the EFM and the police, who are expected to clear the area soon.
It’s still unclear how much equipment was stolen or its value. A spokeswoman for the Berlin police confirmed to Variety that the break-in took place and that unspecified electronic equipment was stolen. No arrests have been made and there were no details on the number of burglars involved. Police are still investigating the incident. More information may be available once the investigation is wrapped in the coming days.
Although the break-in is a blow to EFM organizers — who have worked tirelessly in the last two months to move the market online — it shouldn’t be too detrimental to the planned activities, given how easily participants can pivot on Zoom. Indeed, a number of EFM speakers were taking part remotely anyway, which makes it easier to navigate.
As revealed by Variety, the EFM made the decision to go online in January following the rise of omicron in Germany. The festival component of the Berlinale, however, has gone ahead in person, and officially kicked off on Thursday with Francois Ozon’s “Peter von Kant.”
The film suffered technical issues 30 minutes into the screening and audiences were waiting for around 15 minutes in total for the movie to resume, which it ultimately did.
Ed Meza contributed to this report.