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Report from the Berlin International Film Festival

Date posted: 20.02.2015

Nico Marzano, Film & Cinema Manager at Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), attended the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on a Film London Training, Accommodation and Travel Bursary. Read about his experience here.

Receiving a Film London Training, Accommodation and Travel Bursary allowed me to attend the 65th Berlin Film Festival for the initial 5 days of Berlinale 2015. This provided an opportunity to engage with the European Film Market (EFM) – the business centre of the festival which represents one of the largest and most significant film markets in the world.

The ICA prides itself in offering our audience a great variety of arthouse films and documentaries. Participating in the courses and workshops offered by the EFM allowed the ICA to extend its profile at an international level and further develop our film programme. The EFM Industry Debates were particularly valuable in bringing together industry professionals to discuss current movements within the film sector and strategies surrounding audience development. The 'Meet the Docs' events cultivated networking opportunities around independent documentary filmmaking, connecting exhibitors and distributors. 

As expected, traveling to Berlin also offered a chance to discover significant films that will find their way into the ICA programme to be shared with our audiences. This included:

  • The Night and the Kid stands out as my favourite. David Yon centres the tale upon a man and a child who trek across the Atlas Mountains in darkness as the film alternates in tone between dark memories and expressive beauty.
  • Jafar Panahi's Taxi did not disappoint, and rightly took home the Golden Bear. Despite remaining banned from filmmaking in Iran, Panahi films from within a taxi - as the name suggests - and shares the variety of viewpoints that its passengers confide. Taking to the streets, rather than the privacy of his own home, Taxi recalls Abbas Kiarostami's Ten by shooting in the open streets of Tehran.
  • In The Club by Pablo Larraín, several priests and a nun live together on the coast of Chile, their religious duties intermixed with the training of a greyhound ahead of its race. A new priests arrives at the door, but is pursued by his past troubles. Larraín uses this plot device to present a finely crafted critique of religious inconsistencies that uncovers his own judgments.
  • Finally, The Mud Woman is a film that I would love to see screened at the ICA. Single mother Maria finds herself in need of money, leaves her child in the care of a friend as she looks for work. Finding employment brings her back under the gaze of her past tormentor, and she distances herself from both him and those she works alongside. However, when her only confidant befalls a severe accident, Maria seeks revenge for both past and present. Sergio Castro San Martín makes excellent use of a contemplative style that employs the atmosphere of Chilean summer to great effect.

Again thanks to Film Hub London for your support which made possible this invaluable Berlinale experience.


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