Berlinale Workers Call For “Immediate Ceasefire” In Gaza & Round On Leadership: “We Want To Hold The Festival To A Higher Standard”
13.02.2024 - 14:32
A group of Berlin Film Festival workers have released a statement calling for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza, the “release of all hostages”, and “stronger institutional leadership”, including from the Berlinale, in response to what they describe as the “current assault on Palestinian life”.
The open letter, published last night on social media and shared with industry as a google doc, comes just two days before the Berlinale gets underway. It is currently signed by 28 contractors, including programmers for Panorama, Generation, EFM, Forum, Berlinale Talents and Berlinale Goes Kiez. In particular, the group takes issue with a previous festival statement on the crisis.
“As Berlinale contractors, who admire the festival’s vocal, principled track record defending humanitarian values, we feel the need to offer a position that builds onthe festival’s statement concerning the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza (19 January 2024),” the statement begins.
“We are painfully aware of the unbearable dynamics of institutional inertia in the cultural sector in Germany, and we recognize the current limits imposed on speech. We want to hold the festival and ourselves to a higher standard. An international platform such as the Berlinale and we, in our roles as programmers, consultants, moderators, facilitators, and space holders, alongside further Berlinale workers, can and should voice dissent at the current assault on Palestinian life.”
The workers call out what they describe as a lack of debating opportunity within this year’s festival programme about the conflict: “We witness no initiatives that invite professionals and/or audiences into a dedicated space of discussion,” the statement says.
The Berlinale is hosting an “intimate”,