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The Berlin International Film Festival – Berlinale

 In a few days all of Berlin will be ready for the Berlinale. Berliners will be talking about movies and rushing to get tickets, queuing for movies and hoping to get a glimpse of a star or two.

The Berlin International Film Festival is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. It is with the opening movie “Rebecca” from Alfred Hitchcock that the first festival was held on June 6th, 1951. It ended with fireworks.

Last year in 2009, despite the financial crisis, almost 275,000 tickets were sold.

To celebrate its anniversary the Berlinale will show the movie “Metropolis” (1927) by the well-known German director Fritz Lang. It will be shown at the Brandenburg Gate on February 12th.

Postdamer Platz from the street during the Berlinale


About the festival:


When: from the 11-21st of February

What: 26 movies will be competing for the Golden Bear. 2 Golden Bears will be given to two Germans this year for their lifework: Wolfgang Kohlhaase, a director, and to Hanna Schygulla, an actress.

There are 10 different categories of movies like German movies, Forum, Retrospective and short films.

World Premiere: “The Ghost Writer” from well-known film director Roman Polanski and “Shutter Island” by Martin Scorsese

Watch a movie:


Program: Available on-line and at the movie theaters at the beginning of February.

Tickets: you can queue to buy tickets starting February 8th at 10 a.m. or try your luck on the internet. Be aware that people queue quite early to make sure they get tickets. On the internet it also has become increasingly more difficult to get in.

Lindsay Lohan, Meryl Streep and film director Robert
Altman for Premiere of Prairie Home Companion


For films in competition, you can buy tickets 3 days in advance and for other movies 5 days in advance.

Don’t despair, if you didn’t get a ticket in advance, you can queue a few hours before the film at the Berlinale ticket booth at the Cinestar Imax near the McDonalds. If you don’t mind queuing up to a few hours, you will probably make it in for a seat inside of the Berlinale. Most of the time there are a few tickets sold at the last minute even if it was sold out.

I was able to sit next to Kevin Spacey, Keanu Reeves, Kate Winslet and other stars just by waiting at the evening ticket booth.

See the stars:


While in Berlin for the Berlinale, I have been quite lucky to see many movie Oscar winners, films directors, German actors and famous sport personalities and musicians.

You easily bump into someone you can recognize in restaurants, cafés, malls and in the streets.

Tim Robbins signing autographs at Gala Night
for Cinema for Peace


Berlin Talent Campus: there you can purchase tickets to watch interviews of actors, composers and film directors. I attended a lively interview one year of German director, Roland Emmerich.

Take a break: have tea at cafés: Einstein and Adlon (Unter den Linden) and at the Sony center.

Inside of the Hotel Adlon in Berlin at tea time


Have lunch or dinner at restaurants around the Sony Center, Postdamer Platz or Gendarmenmarkt: Borchardt and Lutter and Wegner

Have a cocktail at Billy Wilder Cocktail Bar: Potsdamer Straße 2

Where to sleep at?


Radisson Hotel

Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 3
Tel.: 49 (0) 30 23828 0�
USA: 1 800 3333 333

Located next to Alexanderplatz and the Museum Island. Hotel is very convenient to the Berlinale. In 5 minutes you are back to your hotel via taxi. There is an excellent bakery at the corner.

Aquarium inside of the Radisson Hotel in Berlin


Hilton Hotel

Mohrenstrasse 30

Tel.: 49 (0) 30 20 23 0

Located on the Gendarmenmarkt square and next to the Galeries Lafayette and nice restaurants.

Kempimski Hotel Bristol

Kurfürstendamm 27
Tel.:49 (0) 30 8843 40

Very nice hotel. With the S-Bahn from the train station Zoo you can reach the Berlinale very quickly.

Convenient places to eat while waiting for movies



Restaurant Biergarten and Café at the Sony Center

Postdamer Strasse 4


Specialties from Bavarian

Bellevuestrasse 3-5, Sony Center

Restaurant Cancun
Ebertstrasse 14, Postdamer Platz

Mexican food

Don’t stress too much in advance, you will get some tickets somehow or see some personalities without even looking for some.

Berlinale Palast Symbol, Berlin Postdamer Platz


I hope you will have as much fun as me at the Berlinale! Happy Travels!

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