Tension at the Berlinale: Artistic Director’s Exit Reflects Trouble at Major Festivals

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The departure of Carlo Chatrian from the Berlin Film Festival has deepened tensions over whether film festivals can serve both local and international needs

International Film Festival Challenges
Carlo Chatrian's departure from the Berlin Film Festival has caused shockwaves through the community. (Getty)

As the Toronto International Film Festival opens, an uproar over the exit of the artistic director of the Berlinale, Berlin’s prestigious annual film festival, is laying bare the problems facing many international film festivals over finances, programming and the competing demands of government officials and artists.

On Wednesday, over 200 directors — including acclaimed filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader and Joanna Hogg — put their name to a petition asking for the reinstatement of the Berlinale’s artistic director, Carlo Chatrian, after the board that oversees the festival decided to change its leadership structure. Chatrian decided to walk away rather than take part in that transition in a diminished role.