Unlike last year when there were four German films in the Competition section, the 2007 lineup has only two German-language titles - Christian Petzold's Yella and Stefan Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiter - and the German majority co-production Goodbye Bafana by Bille August.
Festival director Dieter Kosslick had already intimated in interviews from the beginning of January that there might not be as many German films in the Competition as last year. He said 'the German cinema is so well positioned - internationally, too - that we can allow ourselves to again show two or three films from other countries without taking anything away from the German cinema.'
Nevertheless, German productions are well represented throughout the rest of the festival's programme.
The Panorama, for example, has world premieres of new films by Lars Kraume (Good Morning Mr. Grothe), Leopold Gruen (The Red Elvis) Thomas Arslan (Vacation) and Peter Kahane (Tamara), while the Forum will be screening films by such filmmakers as Angela Schanelec and Ann-Kristin Reyels. In addition, the Forum Expanded sidebar, which was launched last year and is dedicated to the 'critical commentary and expansion of cinematography', is featuring films by Tim Blue and Karoe Goldt, while the main focus is in the dedicated sidebars of Perspektive Deutsches Kino and German Cinema.
At the same time, this year's selection at the Berlinale shows how active German producers have become as minority co-production partners around the globe. There are more than a dozen such titles spread across the Berlinale's programme: from the Competition films The Other by Ariel Rotter and Irina Palm by Sam Garbarski through such as Panorama titles as Happy Desert by Paulo Caldas, Two Days In Paris by Julie Delpy and When Darkness Falls by Anders Nilsson, to the Forum films Armin by Ognen Svilicic, The Trap by Srdan Golubovic and Dol by Hineer Saleem.
Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily.com, festival director Dieter Kosslick explained that his efforts to give German cinema a broader platform at the Berlinale had been acknowledged and welcomed by the local industry. 'Whether it is the video industry, the exhibitors or the distributors, the industry is here and identifies itself with the Berlinale and the German films we show,' Kosslick said. 'Consequently, we have reached a dimension in the past five years which we would have never dreamed of when we started.'
'We are in the lucky position that people think about having their film ready for the Berlinale which is a compliment for the festival,' Kosslick continued. 'Along with people like Alfred Holighaus and Heinz Badewitz, we are very much in touch with what is out there and have good relations with the filmmaking community. Naturally, there will be critical voices about our choices of films, but one can't reproach us for not trying to show the broad range of German cinema. We show that we like German cinema and that's an extremely important thing for our foreign guests that we don't just put the German films in the programme because we have to. No, we really stand behind these films and are part of the film scene ourselves, that's where we come from.'