Martin Scorsese, Radu June, Joanna Hogg Among 100 Signatories of Open Letter Urging for Prolongation of Carlo Chatrians Berlinale Leadership

Martin Scorsese, Radu June and Joanna Hogg are among the 100 international filmmakers who have signed an open letter in support of Carlo Chatrian whose mandate as artistic director of the Berlinale will come to an end next year.

As we reported last week, Chatrian had been expected to stay on beyond 2024, and was surprised to learn that the German body which oversees the festival, Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin (KBB), announced that it would no extend his contract. The org had previously said it would abandon the model of having an executive director and an artistic director and return instead to having a single director, following the next edition. The festival’s executive director Mariëtte Rissenbeek will also be leaving her post after the next edition.

Chatrian and Rissenbeek were appointed to their respective roles in June 2018 and led their first edition in 2020 after Dieter Kosslick’s tenure as festival director came to an end with the 2019 Berlinale.

Speaking to Variety last Saturday, Chatrian made it clear the culture ministry decision last week came as a complete surprise. “In March, I had a meeting with [Roth] where we agreed to renew my contract as artistic director. What was still to define was the structure of the leadership. I’ve always said that I was fine with other forms of governance, as long as my freedom in composing the program was preserved. The public announcement, on Aug. 31, made me completely aware that the conditions for me to go on as artistic director after March 2024 were no longer there.”

Here is the Open Letter in support of Carlo Chatrian, Artistic Director of Berlinale

We, a diverse group of filmmakers from all over the world, who have deep respect for Berlin International Film Festival as a place for great cinema of all kinds, protest the harmful, unprofessional, and immoral behavior of state minister Claudia Roth in forcing the esteemed Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian to step down despite promises to prolong his contract.

Carlo Chatrian may not be a showman but in his quiet ways, he and his team have chosen an open and artistically rewarding curatorial path, showing new directions in world cinema, challenging stereotypes, and connecting different strands of filmmaking.

Despite the most difficult circumstances all beyond Chatrian’s control—the pandemic,  financial restrictions, and a deteriorating festival center around Potsdamer Platz—the past editions under his guiding light were very much alive, full of positive surprises and, despite a smaller number of films shown, very popular, on par with pre-pandemic times.

Also, the films awarded with the main important prizes of the festival in the last four years are confirmed to be important films, as all of them are critically acclaimed and shown all over the world either in commercial circuits or in other important festivals.

Instead of rewarding Carlo Chatrian for his effort, dedication, and patience, the minister has chosen to further increase the difficulties until Carlo Chatrian was forced to announce that he will not continue after the completion of his current contract, as the position of Artistic Director has been dissolved.

Unsurprisingly, no better vision for the festival was presented or discussed, other than the questionable and politically backward demand for a strong hand the Berlinale supposedly needs in the form of an “Intendant”.

We strongly demand to prolong Carlo Chatrian‘s tenure and repair the damage done to this essential film festival.


      73. Benjamin Heisenberg

      74. Ulrich Köhler

      75. Max Linz

      76. Axel Koenzen

      77. Maureen Fazendeiro

      78. Florian Koerner von Gustorf

      79. Anton Kaiser

      80. Ramon Zürcher

      81. Ted Fendt

      82. Alexandre Koberidze

      83. Anna Sofie Hartmann

      84. Achinette Villamor

      85. Kirsten Tan

      86. Reinhild Blaschke

      87. Verena Paravel

      88. Cynthia Beatt

      89. Jonathan Perel

      90. Joanna Hogg

      91. Julian Radlmaier

      92. Nelson Yeo

      93. Lisa Bierwirth

94. Henning Beckhoff

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