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 problems.
“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 event's 11-day run.
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“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.
He declined to say what films were excluded.
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 event will kick off on February 15th 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.
Tom Tykwer, one of the German directors behind the blockbuster miniseries “Babylon Berlin” now appearing on Netflix, will lead a gender-balanced jury including Belgian actress Cecile de France (“The Young Pope”), “Moonlight” producer Adele Romanski, Time magazine critic Stephanie Zacharek, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamato and Spanish film historian Chema Prado.