Almost two weeks before its official dates – from 1-5 March – the Berlinale’s European Film Market (EFM) has launched its official schedule. Registered professionals are now able to log in and confirm their attendance at a variety of digital events.
It kicks off with the EFM Industry Sessions, which will be opened officially on 1 March at 4 pm by EFM director Dennis Ruh (see the interview), where more than 90 events – including talks, seminars, round-tables, pitches, podcasts, presentations, keynotes, workshops, think tanks, master classes and showcases – have been confirmed. These will complement the previously announced events related to the Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents, World Cinema Fund, and other partners’ and exhibitors’ activities. The programme will also feature a series of networking and well-being sessions along with the virtual Berlinale kindergarten. The Industry Sessions are supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.
Some of the key topics to be explored include the digitalisation of the film and media business, social sustainability, and diversity and inclusion in the film industry. In order to give a recap of the events of each day, the EFM Daily will provide a summary of the results of the previous sessions, while the EFM Morning Brief will offer a compact update of what has happened at the market and the upcoming highlights of each day. These daily episodes are part of the EFM “Industry Insights” podcast, which offers conversations on forward-looking industry topics. Apart from the four episodes that will be launched during the EFM, eight more will be published until the end of the year, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut.
Once again this year, EFM Startups will present ten selected innovative international entrepreneurs, while a special overview of virtual production, followed by a European case study – in cooperation with Explorer X – are two more of the highlights. Furthermore, for the second time, the Archive Day will focus on the latest ways to work with audiovisual archives, and an online discussion will investigate the framework for cinematic narration, and in particular the perspectives and stories of marginalised groups.
In addition, accredited professionals can already pre-register for the round-table sessions with experts from different fields, who will be offering consultations. Film commissioners will also present the ways in which they are supporting producers with film projects whose work was interrupted by the pandemic. Finally, the Bridging the Dragon initiative is once again organising the Sino-European Film Forum, and the International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA) is holding a Spotlight Session on the film business in Portuguese-speaking African countries.
Regarding the market screenings, a total of 780 titles are already registered, two-thirds of which are market premieres. Also, over 470 companies – with 200 coming along for the first time – are participating in the EFM, and the number of accredited guests is almost the same as last year. Dennis Ruh mentioned: “These positive numbers confirm that this year’s virtual edition of the EFM is also in high demand, and they reinforce the decision to go forward with the unusual format in an unusual year. In the first quarter of the year, the EFM is the focal point of the international film business.”