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Organisers of the Berlin Film Festival announced on Wednesday, January 12 that the event would go ahead next month with strict health guidelines. As the omicron variant spreads rapidly in Germany, the organizers stressed that the festival would have reduced seating capacity, social distancing and mask requirements. Attendees will have to show proof of vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19.
Festivities around the film screenings will also be scaled back, meaning no parties or public events, and a smaller-scale red carpet. The Berlinale, as it is also known, will run from February 10 to 16, when the Golden and Silver Bear prizes will be handed out. This marks a shorter program than usual, which was typically 10 days before the pandemic.
The festival's opening film will be "Peter von Kant'' by French director and screenwriter Francois Ozon. The movie is an interpretation of "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" by legendary German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
'We need cinema'
Germany's State Minister for Culture and Media Claudia Roth said of holding the festival despite the omicron wave: "We want the festival to send a signal to the entire film industry, to cinemas and moviegoers, and to culture as a whole. We need cinema, we need culture."
"Of course, in today's times, this can only be managed with some painful cuts and with constant vigilance,'' she added. "The pandemic situation is dynamic, and the Berlin Film Festival is adapting to the resulting challenges.''
Germany reported 80,430 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the highest recorded in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
es/sms (AP, dpa, Reuters)
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