I’ve told you before and I’ll probably tell you a million times over, living in Berlin is awfully fabulous!
I mean, there’s just so much to do!
Only a few weeks ago I was telling you all about how I could afford to travel all over Europe, and that the last year was really exciting but also quite topsy-turvy.
In fact, in most cases I only managed to write one (1) or two (2) articles per month!
And why pray?
Well, my dad died!
I would like to thank you all, for the kind words and support that many of you gave me, at that most awful time.
And so we soldier on.
As soldier on we must.
Because ladies and gents, the red carpet has been rolled out yet again and Berlin is about to hobnob with the best of the best. I mean, if it’s good enough for Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Elle Fanning, Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. It’s surely good enough for you!
And why forsooth?
Now for those of you interested in getting a piece of the action it’s really quite easy.
Well, the Berlinale is simply, the world’s largest public film festival which provides an audience of interested film-goers, a city full of excitement, a diverse cultural scene, fascinating new films, up and coming artists, and an opportunity to see, talk to, and take close-up pictures, of international stars in the movie world!
The public programme of the Berlinale shows about 400 films per year of mostly international or European premieres of every genre, length and format!
Formats such as:
The Berlin International Film Festival is a source of inspiration in the global film community, encouraging the influx of film programmes, workshops, panel discussions, joint projects, and other creative outlets and networking possibilities via:
And with more than:
I’m actually in the video above. This was the first “star” Press Conference at the Berlinale, and I’m standing right behind the journalist who asked Bryan Cranston that super interesting question!
You simply can’t go wrong!
From the 20th of February to the 1st March, 2020, Berlin will be packed solid, with members of the film industry.
Alright, not in the same category, but still.
In my opinion, a festival to be proud of!
With more than four hundred (400) films, fifteen (15) categories sections, and more than half a million cinema visits, the Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference, but also a film festival that ordinary people can actually visit.
Yes, that means YOU!
A world international festival can sometimes be daunting, so I’m going to try and make it as easy as possible, so that you too can participate.
If you want to!
Read my beginners’ guide and find out how!
As I write this piece, the film festival hasn’t actually started yet so I can’t put in impressions of this year.
If you’ve never been to the Berlinale before or indeed, any other film festival, it can seem a bit overwhelming!
Not to worry, I’ve put in a few video clips of 2019 & 2018, so that you can see what to expect.
Let’s get the party started!
USE THE INTERNET:
GET THE PROGRAMME:
It’s free of charge. Just help yourself!
Watching a million #films at the #Berlinale is #hungry #thirsty work! What better than #Berlin's finest, #currywurst & #pommes! #Berlinale2018 #chips #frenchfries #sausages #champagne #chocolate #snack #foodie #eat @berlinale @visitberlin @QWoo @exberlinermag pic.twitter.com/KSGM0xYMvQ— Thebritishberliner (@britishberliner) February 23, 2018
Relax & check my social media feed about the Berlinale, on Twitter & Facebook!
USE SOCIAL MEDIA:
MAKE A LIST:
Then make a second list with different films. Just in case.
And a third one too!
CHECK THE FILM TIME:
Just because the film states a starting time of 20:00 doesn’t actually mean that it’s going to start at 20:00! Films start late, discussions over lap. Deal with it!
I find that putting films three (3) hours apart generally leaves more than enough room to manoeuvre. So, if for example, a film starts at 09:30, the next film I book is at 12:30 and not anything less! Most films tend to last between 80 and 100 minutes but you want to give yourself time for overlaps, and also for getting from A to B.
Berlin’s public transport system is fantastic but you still have to wade your way through the crowds to get out of the venue itself, and then go downstairs to your next train station, not to talk of wading yourself through more crowds, at the next film venue!
If you plan well, you can even use the Berlinale shuttle bus departing every hour which can be used by each and every Berlinale festival visitor travelling between Potsdamer Platz (Linkstraße, close to the entrance of U2) and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (main entrance), and is absolutely free of charge!
No seat is a dud in my opinion, but if you have preferred seating, or want to get comfy with the new plush seats available in some cinema venues, then get there early.
BUYING TICKETS IN PERSON:
This means that you’re going to have to gird your loins, get all your mates together and be smart and efficient. Each individual can only buy 2 tickets per film, except for Generation (children / youth films) which you can buy, 5 tickets at a time, and Culinary Cinema film screenings at 19:30, and you can buy as many as you like!
You can of course, cross your fingers and buy on the day if tickets are available at the box office of the cinemas themselves. Ticket counters open daily from 10:00 to 20:00, with people forming a queue from as early as 08:00!
Oh, and don’t forget.
For Same-Day tickets, credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, AmEx), girocard and cash, are now accepted!
BUYING TICKETS ONLINE:
On the programme page is an online ticket icon. If you click on it, you’ll be directed to the online ticket shop but be warned, the other buyers are keen film-goers and pros. at this game. You’ll need firm fingers to keep clicking and refreshing, in order to get those tickets. Or better still, allocate yourself an army of friends to help you.
You know how concert tickets sell out in just a few minutes? Yep! They use the same method. Friends! Mates! Neighbours!
Everyone you know!
If you click on the Online Tickets icon, you will automatically be forwarded to the website of the Berlinale ticketing partner – Eventim. You’ll have to create an Eventim account. There is no processing fee, so what you see is what you pay!
You can also use a major credit card and the tickets will be delivered to you by either Email, on your mobile phone, or you can simply pick the tickets up at the Online Ticket Pick-up Counter in the Potsdamer Platz Arcade shopping centre, by showing your printed confirmation and some sort of ID.
There’s also an exclusive ticket counter for punters with MasterCard who then save €1.00 per purchase to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Berlinale. This saving is credited back to you in March / April. For more info, click here!
If you register by telephone for Generation tickets, groups of at least 6 people or more, can buy their tickets at a cost of just €3.50 – €4.00 each!
Oh, and you need to be at least 18 years old to see any of the films (except for Generation screenings)!
The whole point of a film festival are the intriguing films that are made available. Every film has passed muster, and outside of your own personal preference, none of the films are duds.
Go on live a little!
If you’re still unsure, then go to the venue of your choice and either hold out a sign that you’re looking for an extra ticket, or look for individuals who might want to sell theirs. Don’t deal with touts!
If the individual looks nice enough and has 1 or 2 tickets rather than 20, and is willing to sell it at market price, or even cheaper, then go for it!
WATCH YOUR THROAT:
In 2018, a dedicated Press Screening Guide was introduced. And was a godsend!
The press-screening guide has information about press screenings, and other events that are available to accredited journalists and media representatives.
And I used the Press Screening Guide to the full!
Nevertheless, even press people have to organise themselves, as film tickets are only made available one (1) day prior, and so I found myself checking into the Grand Hyatt Berlin on a daily basis!
At 08:00 in the morning.
On the other hand, free water, free coffee (Ouch!) free WiFi, a press room, comfy seats, and a quick means of getting all the press stuff and press tickets that you need, are provided.
Everyone is always so helpful and kind because I’m a professional!
I usually manage to get 99% of the film tickets that I want. However, on the very last film festival day, I sometimes end up buying tickets from my own pocket at the cinema box office, as press tickets are sometimes in limited supply, especially if I really, really, really want to watch something!
All in all, I pretty much get every film ticket that I want.
Thank you Berlinale Press Team!
BE OPEN TO A NEW EXPERIENCE:
I mean, I hardly doubt that a film about a young boy who saved a village such that there was not a dry eye in the room, and various sounds of sniffing and blowing of handkerchiefs, a quirky tale of how a tiny rural village in Greece – with a population of just a mere 33 elderly inhabitants – engaged in organic farming, not by the use of any added ingredient but by literally, the sound of music, a Chinese film about an adopted son. which I didn’t completely understand but somehow I still happily sat and watched it for 3+ hours, is going to be shown at a local cinema near you!
I really don’t think so!
p.s. Netflix did eventually buy the film – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – which was excellent!
In my case, I aim for weird Asian films, obscure East European films, Anglo-American films with controversial topics, German films with a twist, and films over issues that I would never usually go for, ‘cos they’re just not shown at your local flick!
STAY FOR Q&A:
You get stars such as Johnny Depp, Chris Pratt, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sigourney Weaver, Elle Fanning, Salma Hayek, Jonny Lee Miller, Tom Holland, Octavia Spencer, Bill Nighy, Ben Whishaw, Richard E. Grant, Matthew Macfadyen and Dominic West.
And directors such as Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Idris Elba (Luther), Rupert Everett (The Importance of Being Earnest), Steven Soderbergh (the Ocean’s Trilogy), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), Sally Potter, as well as other other directors, producers, and actors.
In fact, everyone!
A few years ago, Helena Bonham Carter sat behind me and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!
Actors, directors and producers tend to go out to the front and apart from staring at them really closely, you can ask them questions about their films or their thoughts surrounding that film. And being that this is Berlin, everyone’s really chilled and not freaking out, or going crazy!
Not inside the cinema theatre in any case.
If there’s a hottie on the red carpet like George Clooney, Robert Pattinson, Idris Elba, or Natalie Dormer, all that flies out of the window, and people start screaming!
I mean, it sometimes goes insane.
The actors are always calm, professional and charming (especially George, Robert, Idris, Helen & Natalie. We’re on first name basis now of course!) but the audience just lose themselves with star-lust, over-whelmingness, or the fact that film premier tickets can sell out surprisingly quickly, and not be found for love or money.
If you didn’t know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody way up there, chances were, you wouldn’t get a look in!
The atmosphere once you get indoors, really is comforting and quite frankly, it’s nice.
And all for the price of a cinema ticket.
Less in some cases!
Find your friends and partners and go for a well-deserved late night drink!
See you at the Berlinale!
This article is not sponsored and even though I receive press tickets, all opinions and the brilliant festival films that I choose, are my very, very own!
I went to Norway. Watch out for the details!
I’ll be continuing my How To Visit India posts in March / April!
I’ll be at the 70th Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival taking place between 20.02.20 – 01.03.20.
Everyone who is anyone will be in Berlin!
Save the Date!
February is delightfully rushed!
Catch me if you can!
Watch this space!
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In short, there are three affiliate link companies connected to this post! Every time one of these services is used, booked, and paid for via my link, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
So what are you waiting for?
Let’s get ready for the Berlinale!
Thanks a million!
See you in Berlin.
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