Carlo Chatrian is to step down as Berlin Film Festival artistic director after the next edition of the event when his contract expires. As previously announced, the festival’s executive director Mariëtte Rissenbeek will also be leaving her post at that time.
Chatrian had been expected to stay on beyond 2024, but on Thursday the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin (KBB), which oversees the festival, announced it would abandon the model of having an executive director and an artistic director and return instead to having a single director, following the next edition. News of the revamp was first reported by Screendaily.
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In a statement issued on Thursday, Germany’s minister for culture and media Claudia Roth said: “The discussions we have had in recent months at various levels with numerous people who work at, with or for the Berlinale have led us to the common conviction that the world’s largest audience festival should once again be led and represented by one person.”
“The necessary decisions for modernizing the Berlinale, for securing its future and sustainability should now once again be in the hands of one person, in order to further develop the Berlinale as an audience festival in the federal capital and to strengthen it in [its] position in the league of international A-film festivals.”
Speaking to Variety on Saturday, Chatrian made it clear the culture ministry decision last week came as a complete surprise. “In March, I had a meeting with [Roth] where we agreed to renew my contract as artistic director. What was still to define was the structure of the leadership. I’ve always said that I was fine with other forms of governance, as long as my freedom in composing the program was preserved. The public announcement, on Aug. 31, made me completely aware that the conditions for me to go on as artistic director after March 2024 were no longer there.”
In a personal statement posted on the festival website Saturday, Chatrian wrote: “For the past four years at the Berlinale, I have been fortunate enough to work along with extraordinary people, as in love with movies as I am, who are totally dedicated to revitalizing one of the world’s great film festivals. Together we have helped so many talents and great stories reach out to the world. And I am grateful to all the people who have supported and believed in me.”
“I thought that continuity could be facilitated if I remained part of the festival, but, in the new structure as it has been presented, it is quite clear that the conditions for me to continue as artistic director no longer exist. The next edition of the festival will be therefore the end of this rewarding journey.”
Rissenbeek and Chatrian were appointed to their respective roles in June 2018 and led their first edition in 2020 after Dieter Kosslick’s tenure as festival director came to an end with the 2019 Berlinale.
The 74th Berlin Film Festival will take place from Feb. 15 – 25.
This year’s edition attracted around 20,000 accredited professionals from 132 countries, including 2,800 media representatives. In total, 320,000 tickets were sold to the public.
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