Berlin International Film Festival is Europe’s first major film festival of the year, and starts on Thursday.
Founded in 1951, The Berlin International Film Festival is one of the world’s leading film festivals and most reputable media events. Every year, the festival showcases up to more than 400 films across several genres, representing a comprehensive sampling of the cinematic world. Around 20 films compete for the top awards, called the Golden and Silver Bears. It’s also one of Europe’s three major film festivals, which also include the Venice International Film Festival and the Cannes International Film Festival.
Now in its 65th year, the festival will be showcasing a number of new movies, which will put women in the spotlight. A number of leading female actress, directors and producer are expected to be in attendance, premiering their latest films.
Dieter Kosslick, who has run the festival since 2001, told reporters that many of the more than 400 films that will screen focused on “strong women in extreme situations”.
Who to look out for…
The festival will begin with Oscar winner Juliette Binoche playing Josephine Peary, a woman who accompanied her explorer husband, Robert, on treacherous Arctic expeditions, in Nobody Wants the Night. The film is directed by Spain’s Isabel Coixet, only the second woman in the history of the Berlinale, as the event is known, to hold the coveted opening-night slot.
Nicole Kidman plays British adventurer and spy Gertrude Bell opposite former Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson as TE Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, in German veteran Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert.
Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett has two Berlin entries. She closes the festival as the wicked stepmother in Disney’s live action Cinderella and is featured alongside Christian Bale and Natalie Portman in Terence Malick’s long-awaited Knight of Cups.
Portman, now Paris-based with her choreographer husband Benjamin Millepied heading the Paris Opera Ballet, will visit Berlin for Knight and as executive producer of The Seventh Fire documentary about Native American gangs.
Lea Seydoux, the latest Bond girl in the British spy franchise, returns to Berlin with French director Benoit Jacquot in Diary of a Chambermaid, based on a novel already adapted by cinema greats Jean Renoir and Luis Bunuel.
British actress Helen Mirren stars in Woman in Gold, the true story of Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann who fought the Austrian government for nearly a decade for restitution of valuable Klimt paintings that the Nazis stole from her family.
Although the proportion of female directors has not yet taken a 50-percent stake, women are heavily featured in the 2015 festival, and the red carpet appearances of these female stars have been long anticipated by the public.