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BERLINALE 2018 Market

Martina Bleis and Kathi Bildhauer • Co-directors, Berlinale Co-Production Market

“The projects benefit from having a stamp of approval from a big festival”


- BERLIN 2018: We spoke to Martina Bleis and Kathi Bildhauer, co-directors of the Berlinale Co-Production Market, about the new focal points of the long-running industry event

Martina Bleis and Kathi Bildhauer  • Co-directors, Berlinale Co-Production Market

The Berlinale Co-Production Market is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, and we had a chance to chat to Martina Bleis and Kathi Bildhauer, who, along with Miriam Agritelli, head up the most important co-production event in Berlin. Here they shed light on the new focal points of the market, the rise of TV series and their oldest sections, Talent Project Market and Books at Berlinale.

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Cineuropa: What does the 15th edition of the Berlinale Co-Production Market have to offer in comparison to previous years?
Martina Bleis: This year, we’re starting a day earlier; it’s the first time that we’ve started on the Saturday instead of the Sunday, which has been the case for the past 14 years. It’s a normal expansion, as we are getting more initiatives. So, in three days, we offer a full schedule, and on top of that, on the last day, we organise a follow-up, where the participants have extra meetings and consult with experts to get more guidance. Also, since last year, we have invited our past participants to visit us again to continue this consultation – we call it Refresh and Foresee. We are still trying to offer more slots for meetings, as the demand is quite high and many people want to participate, but we also want to keep our event more private.

Do you have any special subjects in focus at this edition?
Kathi Bildhauer: We are starting to explore VR, albeit on a small scale through our panel, Cinematic Virtual Reality and Immersive. Another special session that we have organised in conjunction with European Film Promotion (EFP) is to invite international casting directors and set up some targeted matchmaking with them and the producers. Thanks to Laura Bispuri’s film Daughter of Mine [+see also:
film review
interview: Laura Bispuri
film profile
, which is in Competition and was a past participant of ours, we are launching a discussion on green production, as the whole film was shot in an eco-friendly way in Sardinia. Finally, we are expanding the gender-equality discussion with a talk on the role of parents in the film industry.

Do you think that there is anything in common between your selected projects for the 2018 edition?
In terms of the subject matter, we have noticed that they deal with the feeling of security, of personal space or anchorage, in a world that feels insecure. There is also a trend towards social experimentation: two projects deal with people who are put into a closed environment and then you observe them. And there’s a trend towards horror and the supernatural. Production-wise, we see that more and more partners are boarding the projects. There are projects that already have two or three co-producers but still need more active partners, not just financiers.

What about the CoPro Series? What’s new this time?
We have one more project compared to last year, bringing it to eight in total; we are trying to keep it focused, as we also have a pitching session, and everything runs over the course of one day. It caters for the same people who attend the Drama Series Days, and we don’t need to have a long market on that. All of the meetings are also pre-booked so as to offer a better-structured organisation, and each of the projects will have 15 meetings, to keep it concise.

You also host two of the oldest sections of the Co-Production Market; do your expectations increase every year?
The Talent Project Market has been there since the very first year, and we have a really high success rate there. We have invited ten producers, who are already quite inspired, and they have their own personal mentor to take care of them. Books at Berlinale, which is taking place in partnership with the Frankfurt Book Fair for the 13th year, enjoys less visible success, as it takes much longer for a book to be adapted for film. Furthermore, the selection of a book gives a publishing house the chance to be here to present it and bring along its whole catalogue, so there are other parallel meetings, and in the end, different novels are transferred to the big screen. I think that the connections that are forged here are quite strong – even publishers that weren’t selected come here for networking and meetings.

What is the added value for a project when it participates in the Co-Production Market?
This year, we have five films in the festival; three of them are in competition, which is exciting, and three of them are directed by women. Certainly, the projects get a lot of additional exposure thanks to their participation in the Co-Production Market, even to people who are not actually in Berlin, so that might arouse the interest of potential partners. They can secure partnerships even before coming to us or later on, in order to get financed in their home markets, since they are internationally recognised. Of course, they benefit from having a stamp of approval from a big festival.

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