Attendees of the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin are facing a stiff hike in fees to acesss the main market venues in the Martin Gropius Bau and the Marriott Hotel next February (February 7-15).
The EFM is introducing a new admissions policy requiring anyone who wants to enter these two locations to buy a market badge costing between €250 - €350. The restriction will apply only from Friday, February 8 to Monday, February 11, 2019.
Festival accredition will no longer be enough to access the main EFM locations over the first weekend. Press pass holders will continue to be allowed to enter the market locations but during peak times priority will be given, as usual, to those wih market badges.
The move is due to safety concerns following a steep rise in industry professionals attending the EFM in the past five years, the EFM said in a statement on Thursday (November 1).
A market badge provides access to platforms including EFM Horizons, Doc Salon, EFM Producers Hub, Berlinale Africa Hub and Drama Series Days. Attendees can apply at an ‘early bird’ rate of €250 until November 30. After that the regular €300 fee will apply until January 6, 2019 with a late fee supplement of €50 pushing the cost to €350.
The festival accredition fee remains stable at €125 until January 6 with a late fee supplement of €50 from January 7.
The restrictions could have serious repercussions for organisations such as Eurimages and Creative Europe’s MEDIA Programme which use the Martin Gropius Bau as a meeting place for their beneficiaries over the first weekend.
The status - or possibly the location - of various popular and longstanding intiatives now hang in the balance as participants have not previously needed market badges to attend them. They include Share Your Slate, run by the various Creative Europe desks in Germany, which is usually held at the MEDIA umbrella stand. Launched in 2004, last year saw 20 producers from 13 European countries meet at the stand over three days at the beginning of the Berlinale to discuss their projects with potential co-producers.
Further initiatives likely to be impacted include the Talent Market Hub in the Martin Gropius Bau and the EFM Discovery Tour which had been offered to participants of Berlinale Talents on the Monday afternoon.
Moreover, sales agents and national film institutions will have to urgently rethink any plans for cocktails, happy hours or any PR stunts scheduled to be held at their stands in the Martin Gropius Bau and Marriott Hotel in the crucial four days between 8-11 February 2019.
Indeed, the restrictions on entry to the market venue could trigger even more professionals attending the Berlinale to forgo applying for any kind of accreditation in the first place.
Recent years have seen more and more people, who were only coming to the Berlinale for a long weekend at the beginning, to arrange their meetings outside of the official EFM venues in hotels or restaurants around the Potsdamer Platz or elsewhere in the German capital.
The number of accredited Berlin visitors which could be accommodated at one time in the Martin Gropius Bau had been a bone of contention from the moment the EFM moved to the museum in 2006.
Due to strict German fire regulations, only around 2,000 people were allowed into the building at one time, which led to those accredited delegates without the market badge category having to wait temporarily outside in the cold until the numbers inside had subsided.
In subsequent years the number of people allowed to be in the Martin Gropius Bau building was reportedly increased and museum officials were posted at the market’s entrances/exits to keep a tally of the people arriving at or leaving the building. However some of the admissions registered by the scanning machines may just have been professionals exiting the buillding for a cigarette break outside the main entrance or visiting the bathrooms in the basement.
The EFM will run from February 7-15, 2019. The Berlinale takes place February 7-17, 2019.
UPDATE: This story has been revised as of Monday November 5 to clarify press pass holders will continue to have access to all market locations.