The Berlinale has introduced a 100% price hike for festival accrediation next year (February 5-15).

The fee for the general festival accreditation will increase from $64 (Euros 50) to $ 128 (Euros 100). The charges for the market badge and festival accreditation and EFM Screening Pass will remain stable at the 2008 prices of $513 (Euros 400) and $385 (Euros 300), respectively.

Commenting on the price increase exclusively to ScreenDaily, festival manager Johannes Wachs defended the rise: 'Costs are continually rising each year and the figure of Euros 100 is in line with what one should expect to pay at an A-festival. In fact, some other festivals charge even more for festival accreditation. The charge should be seen in relation to the services provided by the festival and the fact that many screenings are now using digital projection technology.'

Festival accreditation authorises access to festival screenings and also allows entrance to the Martin Gropius Bau and the EFM Marriott Offices throughout the duration of the European Film Market (EFM).

At the same time as the price rise however, the 2009 Berlinale will abandon weekend access restrictions to the EFM's main venue of the Martin Gropius Bau. Restrictions were introduced for the 2008 edition and attracted substantial criticism from accredited festival delegates who could not enter the market building until 16.00 on the first Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, festival director Dieter Kosslick will have to celebrate the Berlinale's 60th anniversary in 2010 without the festival's former flagship cinema, Zoo-Palast.

The cinema's operator UCI Kinowelt has announced that the cinema complex, including the legendary Zoo-Palast screen with 850 seats, will be closing its doors at the end of 2009 as part of plans for re-development of the area.

The Zoo Palast had been the festival's leading venue for the opening and closing films and Competition films until the move to Potsdamer Platz in 2000.