Martin Scorsese is among the signatories of the letter in support of Carlo Chatrian

Martin Scorsese, Radu June and Joanna Hogg are among 100 international filmmakers who have signed an open letter in support of Carlo Chatrian, whose mandate as Artistic Director of the Berlinale ends next year.

As we reported last week, Chatrian was expected to stay beyond 2024 and was surprised to learn that the German organization overseeing the festival, Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin (KBB), announced it would not be extending his contract extend. The organization had previously said it was abandoning the model of having an executive director and an artistic director, and instead returning to a single director from the next edition. The festival’s managing director, Mariëtte Rissenbeek, will also resign after the next edition.

Chatrian and Rissenbeek were called to their respective roles in June 2018 and directed their first edition of 2020 after Dieter Kosslick’s tenure as festival director came to an end with the 2019 Berlinale.

Speak with diversity Last Saturday, Chatrian made it clear that the culture ministry’s decision last week came as a complete surprise. “In March I had a meeting with [Roth] where we agreed to extend my contract as Artistic Director. What remained to be defined was the structure of leadership. I have always said that I am fine with other forms of governance as long as my freedom to shape the program is preserved. The public announcement on August 31 made me fully aware that the conditions for me to continue as Artistic Director after March 2024 are no longer met.”

Here is the open letter in support of Carlo Chatrian, the artistic director of the Berlinale

We, a diverse group of filmmakers from around the world, who have great respect for the Berlin International Film Festival as a place for great cinema of all kinds, protest against the harmful, unprofessional and immoral behavior of Minister of State Claudia Roth, who forced the esteemed people to der artistic director Carlo Chatrian resigns despite promises to extend his contract.

Carlo Chatrian may not be a showman, but in his quiet way he and his team have chosen an open and artistically rewarding curatorial path, charting new directions in world cinema, challenging stereotypes and bridging diverse realms of filmmaking.

Despite the most difficult circumstances that Chatrian was not responsible for – the pandemic, financial restrictions and a deteriorating festival center around Potsdamer Platz – the past editions under his leadership have been very lively, full of positive surprises and despite a smaller number of films shown, very popular, on par with pre-pandemic times.

The films that have won the festival’s top prizes over the last four years are also considered important films, as they are all critically acclaimed and screened around the world either in commercial circles or at other important festivals.

Instead of rewarding Carlo Chatrian for his effort, commitment and patience, the minister has opted to continue to aggravate the difficulties until Carlo Chatrian was forced to announce that he will not continue after his current contract expires, as this was the case with the position of artistic director.

Unsurprisingly, no better vision for the festival has been presented or discussed other than the questionable and politically backward call for a strong hand that the Berlinale supposedly needs in the form of an “Artistic Director”..

We urge that Carlo Chatrian’s term be extended and the damage done to this important film festival repaired.

Signatures: Martin Scorsese is among the signatories of the letter in support of Carlo Chatrian

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