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Everyone's Berlinale
by Becky Tan

The Berlinale has always been popular with the man on the street and it’s not unusual to meet people who have taken a week’s vacation just to go to the movies. Why not? It’s a relatively inexpensive holiday which transports us out of a dark, wet February to fascinating locations and interesting people. It’s a good escape, not only from the weather, but our own everyday lives. An estimated 300,000 tickets were sold for 1,119 (I counted them) showings of almost 900 films (including short films) in over 30 cinemas. Add to this, 20,000 participants from 115 countries, including 3,900 from the press.

Parallel to these films, there is a whole other festival, namely for the 6,900 film marketing people who come from 90 countries to see 741 films in 1,046 screenings, half of which were premieres. These films are for sale, to be snatched up and sent back to various countries to fill out the 2011 film season. Sometimes, I think it would be fun to be a marketing person and have film agents persuade me to buy their film. Sometimes I think those films must be very interesting, after all they have to appeal to a general public, which not all “artsy” art films do. This year the marketing people saw twice as many films in 3D, i.e., 30. Also, 47 films came over straight from the Sundance film festival.
The 62nd Annual Berlinale is February 9 -19, 2012