Carlo Chatrian, artistic director of the Berlinale: “My autonomy as a programmer was no longer guaranteed”

The announcement confused the cinema industry. The artistic director of the Berlinale, Carlo Chatrian, 52, appointed in 2019 for a five-year mandate, in tandem with the general director Mariette Rissenbeek, was pushed towards the door by the German culture minister, the ecologist Claudia Roth, who wants to put an end to a management tandem. Instead, Tricia Tuttle, 54, former director of the London Film Festival (BFI) – currently head of the feature filmmaking department at the National Film and Television School near London – was appointed, with the mission of making come more glitter on the red carpet. Carlo Chatrian, former boss of the Locarno Festival (Switzerland), will leave his position at the end of the 74th edition, which takes place from February 15 to 25.

Your departure caused some incomprehension, and generated a petition from more than 400 filmmakers, actors and actresses – Martin Scorsese, Tilda Swinton, Claire Denis… How do you explain it?

I had a five-year contract as artistic director of the Berlinale, it was in the order of things whether this mandate was renewed or not. For her part, Mariette Rissenbeek, who has co-directed the festival with me since 2019, announced in March 2023 that she would retire at the end of the 74th edition. At that time, I was in contact with the office of the Minister of Culture, and I had the feeling that there was a desire to maintain the position of artistic director. But it was decided otherwise, and my autonomy as a programmer was no longer guaranteed in the future team. So I decided that my experience in Berlin would end with the 2024 edition.

Programming is a delicate balancing act, between big names and emerging talent. What are your choices for this 74th edition?

The whole challenge is in fact to mix established authors and new faces. This year, we will find in competition the anticipated films of Olivier Assayas ( Hors du temps ), Claire Burger ( Language française ), Bruno Dumont ( L’Empire ), Abderrahmane Sissako ( Black Tea ), Mati Diop ( Dahomey ), etc., but also the feature films by the Iranian duo Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha ( My Favorite Cake ), by the Canadian-Tunisian director Meryam Joobeur ( Mé el Aïn ), by the filmmaker from the Dominican Republic Nelson Carlos de los Santos Arias ( Pepe ), or even the Nepalese Min Bahadur Bham ( Shambala ).

Other sections, like “Encounters,” give visibility to works with a more singular form or narrative. Let us also mention the “Panorama” section, which hosts more committed films, “Generation”, where the films have the common feature of having young people as the main characters, which does not mean that the works are intended for children. In the “Berlinale Special” section, we will discover, among others , Averroès and Rosa Parks , by documentary filmmaker Nicolas Philibert, the second part of his trilogy on psychiatry, the first, L’Adamant , in competition in 2023, having won the Bear of gold.

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