Gotta love Berlinale comments.
Berlin Film Festival 2008
The British Council Films Department once again made its involvement felt at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival (7-17 February 2008).
Following preview screenings which the department set up for selectors Wieland Speck and Dominique Green in December a total of 21 titles screened in the various official sections of this year’s Festival including John Crowley’s Boy A which went on to win the Ecumenical Jury Prize for Best Film in the Panorama Section and in Competition, Mike Leigh’s new film Happy-Go-Lucky which saw newcomer, actress Sally Hawkins land the coveted Silver Bear gong for Best Actress.
The Festival was awash with visiting glamorous British talent including pop stars the Gorillaz there to support their documentary, Bananaz, Madonna (OK, honorary Brit!) with her directorial debut feature Filth And Wisdom and Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton in support of Isaac Julian’s Derek Jarman documentary Derek, whilst all four Rolling Stones were in town for the opening film Shine A Light, the Martin Scorsese-helmed doc about these giants of rock.
However one person who sadly wasn’t in attendance was Boy A actor, Andrew Garfield. Andrew was following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz as the British candidate (selected by British Council’s Film Department) for 2008’s Shooting Stars (EPP) talent parade – one of nine actors chosen from a total of 27 European Union countries to participate in this fiercely-competitive event. His commitments to the new Terry Gilliam film meant that he was unfortunately stuck in Canada and therefore unable to attend.
The British in Berlin Stand funded by the British Council and the UK Film Council returned to the European Film Market and its prime location at the entrance of the Martin Gropius Bau, maintaining its provision of information for the British film industry and home to a record 15 UK sales agents. The Market now second only to Cannes on the international film industry calendar had a record year and though precise statistics have yet to be provided, this was reflected in the brisk business done at the Stand.
The British Stand also co-hosted a small but successful drinks reception for Russian buyers in conjunction with Film Export UK and the UKTI, whilst Tuesday 12th saw over 600 guests attend the Council’s annual party, a jewel in the Berlinale’s social crown, this year taking place in the Gruener Saal of the Volksbuhne in former East Berlin.
Rounding off an all together successful Berlinale, 2008 saw the British Council provide travel grants for 37 British filmmakers to attend the sixth edition of the Berlin Talent Campus, the Festival’s highly-acclaimed, week-long international film school which plays host to over 350 emerging talents picked from the whole array of filmmaking from production to cinematography from 120 countries.
Thank you v. much, British Council. Good party, too.