Back to Berlinale to See More Films - From One Festival to the Next
by Alex Billington
February 12, 2016
Onward to Berlin! I'm off on my next adventure, just a few weeks after wrapping up my 10th year back to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, I'm headed over to Germany to attend the Berlin Film Festival (also known as Berlinale). This is my third year back to Berlinale since first attending in 2014, and I've grown to love the festival (they have amazing food trucks!). Berlin is a great city, and the fest runs between Sundance and SXSW, meaning it's the perfect time to catch more great films. During Sundance this year, I wrote a passionate editorial about how much I love film festivals to explain why I keep flying all over the world to see films. Over oceans, over valleys, mountains, rivers, and towns of all sizes, all for the love of storytelling.
When it comes to film festivals like Berlinale with so many films hidden in the line-up, I prefer to just jump in and start screening films without trying to plan too much at the start. I try to get a sense of the buzz from listening to discussions around me, following chats on Twitter, or asking my friends/colleagues what they've heard is good. It's the same at Berlinale. The festival embraces the excitement of cinema, and the crowds always seem enthusiastic and energetic. It's not as easy to listen in to conversations when most of them are in German, but it's still interesting to hear from movie lovers about the festival. You never know what you'll discover - my #3 of 2015, Victoria, premiered at Berlinale last year even though I didn't see it until the fall.
What am I most excited to see at Berlinale 2016? Jeff Nichols's long-awaited sci-fi feature titled Midnight Special is premiering at the festival. In addition to that one, I'm looking forward to catching: Mia-Hansen Løve's latest Things to Come (L'avenir), Alex Gibney's documentary Zero Days about a self-replicating computer virus, Michael McDonagh's new feature War On Everyone, Thomas Vinterberg's latest The Commune, Michael Grandage's Genius about editor Max Perkins, and a few other films that seem to have some promise. I've already seen the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar! which is the opening night film (it's okay but not that great). For more coverage of Berlinale including all the films I saw in 2015 or 2014, click here.
Here's a photo of the red bear from "Dancing Bears: A Photographic Look at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival".
Follow my coverage of Berlinale here on FirstShowing or on Twitter @firstshowing or view my photos on Instagram @abillington and stay tuned for reviews, blog updates, photos and more from the festival. Berlinale is yet another film festival that I've come to enjoy so much, and I'm genuinely looking forward to returning. It may be cold and snowy this year, but that doesn't stop me. Winter festivals are my jam. I love the winter, and I love seeing films in the snow and cold. Thankfully there was plenty of snow at Sundance this year, but I'll happily take more. My favorite memories at Sundance involve seeing films in the middle of a blizzard. It's crazy, but it's so much fun and I live for the days where we all find warmth under a projector.
For now, I'm traveling across the Atlantic over to Germany to start watching films as soon as I can. From one festival to another, continuing deeper into the world of cinema. What will we discover out there? What films are waiting to breakout? What filmmaker has made their next masterpiece? Let's find out. Stay tuned.