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Room for Complaints?
by Becky Tan

Our international colleagues bemoaned the fact that, according to some of them, the Berlinale is no longer a top festival compared to Cannes, Venice and Toronto. They argue that Cannes (May 11-22) is the venue for films coming up for the summer. Venice (August 31- September 10) and Toronto (September 8-18) are in the fall and therefore, the venue for films which are hot tips for an Academy Award. They say that no stars come to Berlin, although Liv Ullman, the Coen brothers, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter, Vanessa Redgrave, Ralph Fiennes, and Brendan Gleeson are certainly stars. Was the jury president, Isabella Rossellini, not a star? If you can manage to look beyond Hollywood, there were many, many international stars. Perhaps Berlin cannot offer a sunny beach or rides in a gondola, but it very successfully offers 100 percent access to anyone for the price of a ticket. As Hanns-Georg Rodek said in Die Welt, “The Berlinale has more paying customers in each single year then Cannes has had in its entire history.” For the first 25 years from 1950-1975 the Berlinale was actually in June, ergo good weather and possibly gondolas on the Spree, but that placed it too close to its competitors and therefore it was moved to February, which is the absolutely best time to sell films for the rest of the year.