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British Council Film at the Berlinale

  • Ken Loach

Ken Loach speaks to the UK 'Talents' during a celebratory Berlinale dinner © Stefan Maria Rother

February 2013

We’ve just concluded another successful partnership with Berlin’s international Film Festival, focussing much of our attention on up-and-coming UK talent.

Designed to raise the international profile of UK film, we joined forces with eight other UK film organisations to launch a new brand at the 2013 Berlinale. Reflecting the creative excellence and vibrancy of the UK’s film industry alongside its regional diversity, the new UK FILM brand will now be featured at future international film festivals, markets and online (via

19 UK films were selected for the Festival’s Official Selection including Michael Winterbottom’s The Look of Love, Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables and Ken Loach’s The Spirit of 45. Documentaries fared well in competition – and carried off several prizes led by Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing and A World Not Ours, whose director, Mahdi Fleifel, is a veteran of our own Short Support Scheme (with his short film Arafat And I).

The highlight of the festival was our association with the Talent Campus – Berlinale’s innovative six-day programme which brought together 300 emerging filmmakers from 96 countries for creative exchange with one another and to benefit first-hand from interaction with the best of the international industry. Together with our colleagues based at the British Council in Berlin, we've been involved with the Campus for over a decade and were delighted to see 34 UK ‘Talents’ joining the event with our support this year, a high profile group including writers, directors, editors, actors and distributors. They participated in nearly 100 workshops, masterclasses and panel sessions from some 150 renowned film experts from all over the world – and got to enjoy an intimate dinner at the stunning British Embassy, encouraged by a rousing pre-dinner speech from guest of honour, Ken Loach.

As the Festival drew to a close we were also happy to get involved with You Cannot Be Serious! a timely forum focussing on the status of women directors internationally prompted by the conspicuous lack of female directed films in the Festival (although in fact seeing three such films in the Berlinale is a better track record than at many international film festivals). Several international women’s film organisations, spearheaded by the Dortmund|Cologne International Women’s Film Festival and NY City's Athena Film Festival, invited an international audience to Berlin to discuss the current status of women filmmakers, and come up with strategies for the way forward. The UK's Women in Film & Television CEO Kate Kinninmont was there to steer the discussion - and you can read her blog here.