BERLIN – This month’s Berlin film festival, Europe’s first major cinema showcase in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, will shine a light on sexual misconduct in the industry, its director said Wednesday.
Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick told a news conference that the screenings and guests from Hollywood and the global film industry at the 68th edition would open up a long-overdue debate on rampant discrimination and abuse.
“The international resonance of #MeToo quickly made clear that the problem isn’t limited to Hollywood,” he said as he announced the some 400 films set to screen during the 11-day event.
“The Berlinale sees itself as a forum where problems can be aired and it will host a range of events that should contribute to concrete change.”
He said these would include panel discussions on fighting sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, generating financing for more female-led movies and getting more women into technical areas of filmmaking.
Berlin ranks with Cannes and Venice among Europe’s top film festivals and is generally considered the most politically minded.
Kosslick told a separate briefing for the foreign press that he had disqualified certain productions from participating this year – “less than five,” he said – because a director, screenwriter or star attached to the production was facing credible sexual misconduct allegations.
Kosslick added that four of the 19 films in competition for the Golden Bear top prize were directed by women: “not great but there you go”.
The star-studded event will kick off on Feb. 15 with the world premiere of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs”, an animated feature voiced by stars including Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig and Liev Schreiber — all expected on the Berlinale’s red carpet.
It will be Anderson’s fourth turn in competition at the Berlinale following “The Royal Tenenbaums”, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”, and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, which kicked off the festival in 2014.
Steven Soderbergh is set to unveil “Unsane” starring Claire Foy of “The Crown” in a psychological thriller filmed on an iPhone about digital stalking. – AFP