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Film or television festival? The Berlinale at crossroads

Film or television festival? The Berlinale at crossroads

Press release


Film or television festival? The Berlinale at crossroads

The International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) criticises that the 69th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival has included the film “Elisa y Marcela” by Isabel Coixet in the official competition, without proof of the rightsholder, Netflix ensuring a regular international release in cinemas.    

Should the film be released on a streaming platform without having been through a theatrical release, it could mean that the Competition of the Berlinale would – like earlier the Mostra de Venise, in contrast to the Festival de Cannes – open to a company that boycotts the international agreements related to the release windows of films. As the declared business model of Netflix is the exclusive exhibition of films and series on its own portal, Netflix endangers the structures of cinemas as places of culture and the cultural diversity of the film market. At the same time, the films would be withdrawn from the big screen and the public discourse.

“Either the Berlinale is a film festival and shows only works destined for the cinema or it’s not a film festival anymore and is on its way of becoming a tv- or platform-festival” says Detlef Rossmann, president of the CICAE.

The Berlinale is a publicly funded film festival and its competition should be reserved exclusively to films that will have a regular theatrical release. This is the only way to ensure that the works of film art can be admired on the big screen and can serve to enrich the public discourse. This corresponds to the conditions expressed by the German Minister of Culture, Prof.  Monika Grütters.

Accepting a film produced by Netflix goes against the rules and opens the competition to tv-productions. That’s why the CICAE demands that the Berlinale presents the Netflix film only outside of the competition program if no understanding in regard to adherence to a regular international theatrical release has been reached.

Besides this, CICAE asks the important film festivals of the world to assume responsibility for the visibility of film culture and to follow the example of the Cannes Film Festival to guarantee the exclusive premiere of films in cinemas all over the world.


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