Berlinale Declares Festival A Place Of Open Discussion Amid Middle East Crisis


The Berlinale issues a strong statement, positioning itself as a platform for open debate and expressing concern over the surge in hate speech amidst the Middle East crisis.


Festival Co-Heads Speak Out

The Berlinale, in its 74th edition, stands firm against hate speech, expressing solidarity with the victims of the Middle East crisis. Festival co-heads emphasize the role of film and open discussions in fostering empathy and understanding, addressing concerns over the spread of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim resentment in Germany and worldwide. Initiatives for open dialogue, including the "Tiny House" space, are announced to encourage peaceful conversations amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek, the festival co-heads, presented the statement at a press conference. They emphasized the festival’s commitment to providing a space for filmmakers from all sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Sundance Fallout

The Berlinale’s stance comes after demonstrations at the Sundance Film Festival, where pro-Palestinian protestors impacted the event. The festival acknowledges the global impact of the Middle East crisis on the film circuit.


Fostering Empathy Through Film

Chatrian highlighted the role of festivals in fostering empathy and understanding during challenging times. The festival expresses sympathy for the victims of the humanitarian crisis and addresses the concerning rise of anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim resentment, and hate speech globally.

Initiatives for Dialogue

Rissenbeek detailed various initiatives within the festival framework aimed at fostering open dialogue. These include a unique space called the “Tiny House” and a panel on “Filmmaking in times of conflict – future perspectives.”


Tiny House for Personal Dialogue

The Tiny House, a collaborative effort with individuals of Israeli and Palestinian background, aims to facilitate personal dialogues. Rissenbeek emphasizes its role in providing a space for individual conversations.

Festival Amid Ongoing Conflict

The Berlinale’s announcement comes as the Israel-Hamas conflict spills over into the festival circuit. The festival acknowledges the challenges faced by other events like the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and the Stockholm Film Festival.

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