Berlin International Film Festival
The very first International Berlin Film Festival opened on the 6th of June, 1951 in the Titania-Palast cinema. The opening film was Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, starring Joan Fontaine, the most feted guest at the festival. Six years after the end of the Second World War, Berlin yearned for international attention and recognition. Large areas of the city still lay in ruin. Reconstruction had begun, but post-war Berlin was worlds away from the lively artistic centre that it had been in the Twenties.
Today the city is a cosmopolitan centre for culture. In the middle of it all: the Berlinale – not only the city's largest cultural event, but also one of the most important dates on the international film industry's calendar. More than 16,000 film professionals, including 3,600 journalists from about 80 countries are accredited for the Berlin International Film Festival every year. The Berlinale is truly a colossal event. It is also a festival of encounters and discussions. With 150,000 tickets sold, the Berlinale is not only a film industry meeting. It also enjoys by far the largest audience of any film festival in the world. For two weeks, art, glamour, parties and business meet at the Berlinale.
Around 350 films are shown every year as part of the Berlinale's public programme, the vast majority of which are world or European premieres. Films of every genre, length and format can be submitted for consideration. The Berlinale is divided into different sections, each with its own unique profile: big international movies in the Competition, independent and art-house productions in Panorama, movies for a young audience in the Kinderfilmfest and its 14plus programme, the most exciting German cinema productions in Perspektive Deutsches Kino, and an in-depth look at films from "distant" countries and experimental forms in the International Forum of New Cinema. The programme is rounded off by a thematic Retrospective and a Homage, which focuses on the lifework of a great cinema personality. Both of these sections, which are curated by the Berlin Film Museum, aim to place contemporary cinema within a historical context.