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11 reasons to look forward to the Berlinale 2020

Happy Birthday Berlinale

Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin
Berlinale Film Festival

On 20 February the Berlinale will start. And this year is a very special vintage: The International Film Festival is celebrating its 70th birthday! And the Forum also has a round birthday and is already turning 50.
The anticipation is great for a festival with exciting films and stars on the red carpet. Here is our Top 11, why we are looking forward to the Berlinale 2020.
By the way, ticket sales start on 17 February at 10 am.

1. The Berlinale celebrates its birthday

Berlin: Party in a club
Party in a club ©, Foto: Photolyric Stock Productions (Klöpper & Eisenschmidt GbR)

This year the festival will be 70 years old and will celebrate its anniversary with a series of events, concerts, exhibitions and film screenings.
In the special programme "On Transmission", renowned filmmakers, including Ang Lee, Claire Denis, Paolo Taviani and Margarethe von Trotta, enter into dialogue with one another.

2. Berlin plays the leading role in the competition

International Film Festival Berlin
In front of the Berlinale Palace © KARSTEN THIELKER

18 films enter the race for the silver and golden bears. Among them are exciting productions from all over the world such as The Roads not taken by Kelly Reichardt, Sheytan vojud nadarad from Iran, or Siberia by Abel Ferrara. Three films in the competition alone are set in Berlin and show the different facets of the city:

  • Berlin Alexanderplatz by Burhan Qurbani
  • Little sister with Nina Hoss and Lars Eidinger
  • Udine by Christian Petzold with Paula Beer

3. New management with new ideas

Berlinale: Roter Teppich vor dem Berlinale Palast in Berlin
Roter Teppich vor dem Berlinale Palast i © KARSTEN THIELKER

With Carlo Chatrain and Mariette Rissenbeek, the Berlinale has a double top for the first time. Mariette Rissenbeek is the managing director, while Carlo Chatrian has taken over the artistic direction. The two bosses have already made some changes and are setting new accents. Samuel Finzi, for example, will moderate the opening gala. And there is no doubt that many other things will be new, different and exciting!

4. VIPs on the red carpet


George Clooney has not yet been announced for this year, but besides Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons other stars are coming to present their films. Officially the expected stars are still being announced, but hopefully they will come to the premieres of their films. Johnny Depp is starring in the movie Minamata. Javier Bardem, Salma Hayek, Elle Fanning play The Roads not taken in the competition entry. For the screening of the French film Police we can hopefully look forward to Omar Sy (from Ziemlich beste Freunde) and Virginie Efrira, who is very popular in France at the moment. And at the Berlinale Series Cate Blanchett will be hopefully present by the screening of the Australian series Stateless.

5. Helen Mirren gets the Golden Bear of Honor

The Berlinale honours Helen Mirren with a Golden Bear for her life's work. Of course the festival will show the film The Queen, for which she won an Oscar and the Golden Globe. Also screened are last year's The Liar and Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, which caused a scandal back then.

6. The retrospective shows great Hollywood cinema

In the cinema
In the cinema © Getty Images, Foto: David Saium/EyeEm

The retrospective is dedicated to the work of the American director and producer King Vigor. Among his most famous films are the love drama Duel in the Sun and War and Peace with Audrey Hepburn. A total of 35 films are screened, including lesser known but still worth seeing works.

7. Tickets are also available at the Berlin Tourist Info

Missing media item.

You can get tickets at the ticket counters and advance booking offices. You can also buy them online on the Berlinale website. Tip: Tickets without long queues are available at the Berlin Tourist Info. The BTI in the Europa Center opens from 17 to 29 February at 9:30 am, half an hour earlier than usual.

8. Berlinale goes Kiez

Kino Intimes in Berlin - Friedrichshain
Kino Intimes © Cine Logistics GmbH

The Berlinale goes Kiez screenings are very popular, when selected films are shown in the smaller cinemas right on the doorstep, spreading glamour. These cinemas will be there this year: City Kino Wedding (Wedding), Thalia Programme Cinema (Potsdam - Babelsberg), Filmrauschpalast (Moabit), Xenon Kino (Schöneberg), b-ware! Ladenkino (Friedrichshain), Moviemento (Kreuzberg) and Neue Kammerspiele (Kleinmachnow). 

9. You can discover new series

Small Hall at the Zoopalast Cinema Berlin
Small Hall at the Zoopalast Cinema © visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

In recent years it has become an insider tip: It's worth taking a look at the series, which has already featured exciting formats such as Bad Banks, The Nightmanager and The Terror. Dispatches from Elsewhere, for example, sounds promising, with top-class cast including Jason Segal, Sally Field and Richard E. Grant.

10.  There's a new competition

Press conference at the Berlinale
Press conference © Credit: T.O.Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the biggest changes of the new management: Besides the classical competition there is a new one. The Encounters Competition awards prizes to works by independent, innovative filmmakers who break new ground. It includes fifteen premieres of both feature and documentary films.

11.  Jeremy Irons will be Jury president

Golden Bear: The main award at Berlinale film festival in Berlin
The Golden Bear © Berlinale/Foto: Ali Ghandtschi
Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

The jury president is actor Jeremy Irons, who can look back on a long and successful career. He was already at the festival in 2011 with the competition entry Margin Call and two years later with Night Train to Lisbon.

Kristin: visitBerlin-Bloggerin unter


doesn't smile on fotos. But in real life she enjoys with a smile in her face Berlin's rich cultural life - the metropolis both in front of and behind the scenes. Her favourite season is the Berlinale, then she spends 10 days watching movies and writing about them in the blog.