Berlin Film Festival Appoints Joint Leaders

Posted June 22, 2018 7:50 p.m. EDT

Film festival director Carlo Chatrian and movie industry executive Mariette Rissenbeek were announced Friday as the new leaders of the Berlin Film Festival for 2020.

The German Culture Ministry said in a statement Friday that Chatrian would take up the role of artistic director and Rissenbeek would hold a newly created position of managing director for the festival, which is more commonly known as the Berlinale.

Monika Grütters, minister of state for culture and media, said in a statement: “With the new dual leadership, it is now guaranteed that the Berlinale will be preserved as a public festival with a political character and sophisticated film program.”

The practice of having two equal leaders at the head of an organization is not unusual in Germany, where it has been used by institutions ranging from the Green Party to Deutsche Bank.

The Italian-born Chatrian is director of the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, a position he has held since 2013. Rissenbeek, who was born in the Netherlands, is former managing director of the film production body German Films.

“The future direction will be more feminine with Mariette Rissenbeek,” Grütters said.

The statement went on to say the festival would take on a “younger, more international and more adventurous” direction under its new leadership. The appointment follows an announcement last year that Dieter Kosslick, who has led the festival since 2001, would not seek renewal of his contract when it expires in May.

This year’s festival, which opened in February with a screening of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs,” was marred by a debate about its direction under Kosslick. In recent years the sprawling festival, which takes over the German capital for 10 days, has drawn criticism for lacking the prestige of the other two major European festivals, Cannes and Venice.

Last year, 79 members of the German film industry called in an open letter for a “new start” at the festival when Kosslick’s contract expired. “The change in leadership offers the opportunity to renew and purify the festival’s program,” the letter read.

Chatrian and Rissenbeek will take up their positions in 2020 after shadowing the current festival leadership team for the 2019 edition.