Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Berlinale 2011: The Countdown's On

With the 61st International Berlin Film-Festival about to kick off, this afternoon I snatched my camera and took a stroll across the festival's main artery, Potsdamer Platz, to see how things are progressing.

This year's official Berlinale poster was designed by the Berlin-based Boros agency and is without a doubt the most tasteful poster the festival has had in years. The Boros Agency is owned by Christian Boros who also owns the legendary Boros Collection, a collection of contemporary art, located in a converted bunker from WWII in central Berlin:

Unlike Venice or Cannes - which are Berlin's main competitors - the Berlinale is an audience festival, meaning that not only journalists and people from the film industry are able to attend Berlinale screenings, but ordinary cinema-goers as well, subject to availability of course! It has been reported, that on the first day alone, which was Monday, 32,000 tickets have been sold. Ticket sales were close to half a million at last years festival, a number which is expected to be topped this year. The photo below shows the queue outside one of the ticket booths for advance ticket sales on Potsdamer Platz:

The red carpet including spots and floodlights and some basic heating equipment to keep the stars (moderately) warm, are still being installed outside the Theater on Potsdamer Platz which doubles as the home of the Berlinale for the duration of the festival as it has done for the past nine years:

This year's Berlinale poster as seen on the Boulevard of the Stars on Potsdamer Platz:

The historic Martin Gropius Building, built by Walter Gropius' father, is currently receiving a facelift, though it'll still be home to the European Film Market, as it has been for the past five years ever since its previous location proved too small. Outside, everything appears to be ready to roll with all Berlinale flags and banners already up and waving in the brisk Berlin air. Inside, though, it's a different story as hundreds of craftsmen, handymen and electricians and so on are still busy setting up shop for several hundred film companies from all over the world:

Opposite the European Film Market located in the Martin Gropius Building is the Gropius Mirror Restaurant, a fancy eatery based in a 19th century tent imported from Belgium, set up only for the duration of the film-festival. It is currently receiving the finishing touch in order to look its grandest for tomorrow's opening. The building in the back is the Berlin Senate: