The German Cinema sidebar at EFM will now feature films from the longlist for the German Film Awards.

The Berlin International Film Festival is overhauling the German Cinema sidebar for the next European Film Market in a bid to improve its support for local films.

Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick said the move is “another significant step towards promoting German cinema.

The Berlinale, the German Film Academy and German Films will be partners in a new section, to be renamed German Cinema – LOLA@Berlinale, and it will feature films, children’s films and documentaries that are selected by the Academy for the German Film Awards (Lolas).

The films will be shown once in each of the festival’s cinemas and screenings will be open to accredited national and international delegates, as well as members of the German Film Academy, who are eligible to participate in the nomination for the Lola short-list.

In addition, German Films, which has supported German Cinema in the past by subsidising the English subtitling of the selected films, will continue to provide support to the new section.

Until now, about 17 titles were selected for the showcase each year ranging from Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, Til Schweiger’s Rabbit Without Ears 2, Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck’s Pianomania, and Sönke Wortmann’s Pope Jean. Titles are selected by programmer Heinz Badewitz.

The new sidebar is expected to include more films as at least 20 titles are put forward for the Lolas in the feature category alone, a further five are selected for the documentary section and an additional four for children’s.

However, nominated films are not obliged to screen in the Lola sidebar and may be screened in other sections at the Berlinale or at other festivals. This would have been the case this year for Benjamin Heisenberg’s Competition film The Robber, Jo Baier’s Henry of Navarre, premiered in Berlinale Special, and Feo Aladag’s When We Leave (Die Fremde) which had its world premiere in the Panorama.

Encouraged by the late film critic Ron Holloway, Wolf Donner launched the German Cinema sidebar as an innovation in his first year as Berlinale festival director in 1977 at the small Filmbühne am Steinplatz cinema.

The programme had been curated ever since by Badewitz, who will continue to work in the new-look strand.