The entire Berlin festival this year acknowledges the role played by German production houses in international projects.
Tom Tykwer's The International, Stephen Frears' Cheri and Lukas Moodysson's Mammoth all benefited from the German Federal Film Fund's incentives, as did a slew of Panorama titles including Michael Glawogger's Kill Daddy Good Night and Julie Delpy's The Countess. Co-productions with Germany are also found in the Generation section: Armagan Ballantyne's The Strength Of Water and Rene Bo Hansen's coming-of-age tale The Eagle Hunter's Son.
'This year we had at least twice as many German entries as we could programme,' says Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick of the record 98 German films or co-productions showing in the festival's various sections.
Two German films are screening in competition - Maren Ade's second feature Everyone Else and Hans-Christian Schmid's political thriller Storm - and there is an out-of-competition slot for the compilation film Germany '09. Kosslick has addressed the embarrassment of riches by offering gala screening slots in the Berlinale Special sidebar to Kai Wessel's Hildegard Knef biopic Hilde, Florian Gallenberger's Second World War drama John Rabe and Hermine Huntgeburth's Theodor Fontane adaptation, Effi Briest.
'There is a very diverse production landscape,' Kosslick acknowledged of the 21st century renaissance of German cinema, in a recent interview. 'And people are going to the cinema. On top of that, there's also an Oscar nomination (for The Baader Meinhof Complex).'
Alfred Holighaus, programmer of the Perspektive Deutsches Kino sidebar which is dedicated to showcasing the next generation of directors, sees a change in direction from the film-makers compared to last year's selection, where he believes the focus was on social themes. 'Private stories and issues are now garnering public attention in various cinematic forms,' he suggests, pointing to such films as Thomas Sieben's austere opening film Distance, with Ken Duken and Franziska Weisz, and two different approaches to the subject of father-and-son relationships from Michael Koch's Polar and Martin Busker's Roller Coaster.
The Panorama section will bear witness to the diversity of the German documentary scene. World premieres include Jochen Hick's The Good American and Helga Reidemeister's War And Love In Kabul, as well as Home From Home by the Korea-born, Germany-based film-maker Cho Sung-hyung whose Full Metal Village was shown at the 2007 Berlinale. Her new documentary is about ex-pat Koreans returning to Korea after 30 years in Germany to spend their retirement in a purpose-built 'German village'.