Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick declared himself "very pleased" with the running of this year's edition which had "conceptually achieved everything we wanted to."
Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily.com, Kosslick described the official competition as a "varied programme of old masters and young first-time directors" and pointed out that the focuses on South Africa and Latin America had "functioned very well" as had the second outing for the Talent Campus with a 552 participants from over 80 countries.
He rejected the claim that the introduction of new sidebars such as 14plus, Berlinale Specials and the Marshall Plan retro in the German Historical Museum had unnecessarily inflated the Berlinale's programme. "We want to tap into new target groups and however many [additional] cinemas we have in the Berlinale, they are always sold out," Kosslick said.
He explained that the festival's European Film Market was "the only thing left where we will be concentrating our efforts in the next two years", although he would not be drawn on whether the EFM might expand on to the drained lake next to the Debis building or move lock stock and barrel to the Renaissance-style Martin Gropius Building, just five minutes from Potsdamer Platz.
The Martin Gropius Building, which has hosted several international exhibitions and is currently housing the 3rd Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Arts, has 4,900 square metres of exhibition space and, along with the Berlinale, is one of the divisions of the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin (KBB) organisation.
"We are looking at all of the possible locations and think we will have found somewhere by the middle of the year," Kosslick observed. "Then we will have to wait and see what happens in 2005 and what effect the move of the AFM has."
According to Kosslick, the Berlinale's dates for 2005 would be decided after March 15 "when we'll see what happens with the Oscars, whether they stay at these new dates or changes are made. In any case, we will stay in February, that's clear, but we have to solve the problem of the nominated actors."
"We are now going to analyse the actual effect of the Oscar nominations on the festival, to see if it was the Oscar or if there were other reasons why people didn't come. Thank goodness, it only affected one film and everything else worked out."
With Rotterdam International Film Festival's 2005 dates set at January 26 - February 6, it would seem probable that the 55th Berlinale would open on Thursday February 10 and continue to Sunday February 20. This year's opening on February 5 was the earliest in the festival's history and is about as early as programmers are prepared to go given the tight time schedule to organise the festival after the Christmas holidays. Therefore, it looks unlikely that a February 3 would have many supporters..
"It would be bad if we were to clash [with Rotterdam]. I don't want us to cut each other off. But we have different target groups," Kosslick observed.
Meanwhile, the Berlinale is to stage a series of Specials in other countries - the first will be a selection of festival titles in Rome's Auditorium - Parco della Musica between March 7-9 - and has received many enquiries from festivals wanting to stage their own versions of the Talent Campus. "We don't want to have to organise these events ourselves, but are interested in franchising the idea", he said. Gatherings of the next generation of filmmakers will be held in New Dehli, Kiev (at the Molodist Festival for the second time) and South Africa's Sithengi.