EFM non-buyer badge holders were relieved yesterday after a stressful couple of days in which they found themselves barred from the competition press screenings.

Yesterday (February 14) the festival reneged and allowed industry-pass holders in the rush queue into the morning screening. Although technically only press and buyers are allowed admission into these screenings, there has, for many years, been an unspoken agreement that other accredited guests could take any available seats shortly before the screening began.

The first two days of the festival, however, saw a change of staff at the Berlinale Palast from previous years and they were not aware of the flexible policy adopted in previous editions. They therefore adhered strictly to the access regulations as set out by the Berlinale, which excluded exceptions to the rule.

The rules state that “access to press screenings is only allowed to accredited press and EFM buyers’ badge holders (press has priority) but not to registered professionals with industry passes. The access regulation on your accreditation handouts are binding and there it does and did not state anywhere that you can go to competition press screenings in the Berlinale Palast.”

Non-buyer market badge holders were faced with the conundrum that they had to see competition screenings at venues far away from the market screenings at Martin-Gropius-Bau.

But after a wave of complaints, cinema staff at the Berlinale’s main venue have now been instructed to be “more accommodating” to accredited guests in the rush queue.

“At no other A-list festival am I aware of a situation where there is no access for industry/market guests to official competition films other than public screenings,” said one festival director.