Now in his seventh year as festival director, the Berlinale's Dieter Kosslick is considering a later start for the European Film Market (EFM) during the festival.
Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily.com, Kosslick stated: 'all markets are too long. I think we should have the market not beginning until Friday or Saturday. Then the stress is gone and people can be there over the weekend and into the next week. The time is then better synchronised with the festival. We have had a development where people are coming even earlier: they would most like to start on Sunday and then leave when [the festival] begins! We will have to see that we organise it differently in future, but first I will want to see the results of this year.'
These considerations come after the EFM this year was, to all in intents and purposes, winding down on Tuesday and was very quiet from Wednesday onwards. This was despite the newly introduced 15% reduction on market screening charges for slots booked on Thursday 14th.
As several market participants observed, the restriction on market access to the Martin Gropius Bau for those with standard accreditation (the Euros 50 badges) on the first weekend before 16.00 seemed to have backfired on the EFM organisers. Many people decided to take their business elsewhere in the morning and early afternoon of Saturday and Sunday until the staff at the entrances were given the order to let all badge categories in after all to bring more life into the market.
Commenting on the feedback he had received about this year's EFM,
Kosslick remarked that 'people said that it was the best market ever and one person said it was first time that it was real market. The EFM is really exploding, but I am not that interested in us getting a tally like at other festivals where you are constantly hearing the numbers of how much was sold. Because then I would fall into the other trap next year and the films we show here would have to have box-office potential. We are not making this link and we won't do it in the future either. The market people should simply decide for themselves what is best for them.'
He added that a concept is being prepared for a new venue to house the companies working out of the EFM Exhibitor Offices in Potsdamer Platz 11 as the present office space will not be available to the Berlinale next year.
'We will perhaps be able to present in Cannes how we imagine the market can grow in the future, and grow in an organised fashion. It is a positive problem we have here with the Exhibitor Offices being booked up so quickly. I think the Berlinale has nothing but positive problems.'
Meanwhile, the search for a successor to EFM co-market director Karen Arikian will now begin after the festival with the publishing of a job advertisement for a deputy market director. Arikian is leaving the EFM to become the executive director of the Hamptons International Film Festival, and her successor could conceivably be announced at the forthcoming Cannes Film Festival.
As the awards ceremony approached on Saturday, Kosslick was remarkably bouyant after a punishing ten days of meeting and greeting living legends from the world of music and cinema on the red carpet as well coping with the fact that two members of his International Jury - Sandrine Bonnaire and Susanne Bier - had dropped out at the beginning of the festival.
'In general, it was entertaining and the groove was good,' Kosslick summarised the 58th edition. 'Music dominated the Berlinale, although it was only around 14 films from the 400-odd films. It was an interesting experience for me that nobody wanted those films about children [in the Competition]. The critics criticised the aesthetics and the cinema-goers couldn't cope with them. That's something I wouldn't have expected because the only possibility to show such films is at film festivals - I don't think you can a normal theatrical release with such films.'
As of Saturday afternoon, the festival organisation reported that more than 20,000 accredited visitors from 125 countries, including 4,200 journalists, had attended this year's Berlinale.
Moreover, there were approximately 430,000 admissions to the 1,256 screenings of 384 films in the festival programme, including around 230,000 tickets going for paying members of the public.
These figures however do not include additional admissions for the Cinema Day on Sunday when a selection of 75 films were being shown at a standard admission price of Euros 6. Among the films screening for local Berliners to catch were Lance Hammer's Ballast, Antonello Grimaldi's Quiet Chaos, Madonna's Filth And Wisdom, Steven Sebring's Patti Smith: Dream Of Life, Thomas Grube's Trip To Asia, and Hana Makhmalbaf's Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame.
Thus, by Monday, as Kosslick suggested, the festival could be reporting a record-breaking year for the overall admissions.
Next year's edition - the 59th - will be held from February 5 -15, 2009.