chatrian rissenbeek 2

Source: Locarno Festival, Michela Di Savino / German Films, Kurt Krieger

Carlo Chatrian, Mariette Rissenbeek

Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek, managing director of German Films, have been officially confirmed as the new dual heads of the Berlinale to take over from the present festival director Dieter Kosslick when his contract expires in May 2019.

The appointment of both an artistic director and festival manager – an innovation for the 68-year-old festival, but general practice at many other international film festivals – was announced in Berlin today (Friday) by Monika Grütters, the state minister for culture and media who lead the hiring committee. Rissenbeek was a member of the three-strong committee, along with Björn Böhning, the former head of the Berlin senate chancellery.  

Chatrian, presently artistic director of the Locarno Festival, will be the second Berlinale director to have come from Locarno following Kosslick’s predecessor, Moritz de Hadeln, who was the artistic director at the Swiss festival from 1972 to 1977.

Locarno speculation kicks off

Speculation is now ramping up on over who will succeed Chatrian as artistic director at Locarno once the 71st edition is over there this August. 

Locarno-born Nadia Dresti is an obvious frontrunner. Dresti was appointed deputy artistic director of the Locarno Festival last year in addition to her duties as head of Locarno Pro.

Dresti’s connections with her hometown’s film festival stretch back to 1984. She was appointed as a member of the selection committee and head of the industry office in 1999.

Another possible candidate is Seraina Rohrer who has been director of Solothurn Film Days, the annual showcase of Swiss cinema since 2011. She headed Locarno’s press office between 2003 and 2009.

 Asked by Switzerland’s Nordwestschweiz Zeitung newspaper whether she had been approached by Locarno’s president Marco Solari about the potentially vacant post this week. “Locarno is,

nationally and internationally, an extremely important festival,” Rohrer told the newspaper. “I find the position of artistic director fascinating. But I can only speak in the conditional tense.”

International tributes to Kosslick in the works

Preparations for Kosslick’s 18th and final Berlinale are in full swing as the festival director works away on his autobiography for Hamburg-based Hoffmann und Campe. It will be published on November 8 after its presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

Before that Kosslick is the recipient of the first ‘Force of Nature in Filmmaking Award’ from the Sam Spiegel International Film Lab during its pitching event in Jerusalem (July 5-9).

The distinction is in recognition of his role “as a cultural master builder who changed world cinema,” said Lab organisers. “For his ground-breaking canvas changing the infrastructure of German cinema via the Hamburg Film Fund, the NRW Fund [Filmstiftung NRW], the international film school Cologne, and opening the accordion of the Berlinale – the cherry being Berlinale Talents in five countries – to this Magnificent Man in His Flying Machine“.

Kosslick will deliver a keynote speech and receive the award on July 6.

A day later, he will give a masterclass with Q&A at the Film Lab to be moderated by Katriel Schory and French film producer Michèle Halberstadt.

Kosslick is also to receive the Honorary Prize at the annual First Steps awards ceremony for emerging filmmaking talents from Germany, Austria and Switzerland “for the openness and resoluteness with which he has made young filmmakers welcome at the most important German film festival since 2002“.

The 19th First Step Awards will be held in Berlin’s Theater des Westens on 24 September.

Read more: Berlinale expected to appoint female executive for dual leadership role