WARSAW: The cinema industry is an event industry and we are already feeling the impact of the Coronavirus crisis much more strongly than many other industry sectors as festivals are cancelled and cinemas are closed. Some big film productions have shut down. There is no doubt our industry is struggling across Europe as isolation and quarantine become the norm as the necessity to keep the public safe rightly takes priority.

FNE asked Elisabetta Brunella, head of Milano based Media Salles, about the latest trends in cinema admissions, especially in Central and Eastern Europe and what this can tell us about the future of the industry.

BERLIN: The 70th Berlin Film Festival (20 February - 1 March 2020) awarded its top prize the Golden Bear for Best Film in the main competition to the German/Czech/Iranian coproduction There Is No Evil / Sheytan vojud nadarad directed by Mohammad Rasoulof and produced by Cosmopol Film (Germany), Europe Media Nest (Czech Republic), Filminiran (Iran).

BERLIN: This year, the European Film Forum (EFF) season starts at the Berlinale. The forum will be held on 24 February, from 14:00-16:30 at a new venue the Landesvertretung Schleswig-Holstein, In den Ministergärten 8, 10117 Berlin.

Film New Europe would like to thank all its sponsors, supporters and readers and to wish them a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

TBILISI: Inhale-Exhale by the acclaimed Georgian-born Berlin-based director Dito Tsintsadze was awarded best feature film at the 20th edition of the Tbilisi International Film Festival. The festival ran from 1 to 8 December 2019.

TALLINN: The Grand Prix of the 23rd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival went to the Japanese feature film Kontora directed by Anshul Chauhan, while Motherland directed by Tomas Vengris won the Baltic Film Competition. The festival was held from 15 November to 1 December 2019. One of the unique new events this year was the new two day VR workshop sponsored by Film New Europe.

VENICE: Director Steven Soderbergh’s film The Laundromat, which screens in the main competition in Venice, is based on the book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite by Jake Bernstein. The book and a series of exposes articles in 2015 came into being when documents that became known as the Panama Papers were leaked to journalists by someone inside the Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca, one of the world’s largest providers of offshore corporate services. The documents revealed information about more than 200,000 offshore companies and set off an avalanche of scandal and money laundering investigations around the world, although no one is assuming that anything has changed in this system that aides the super-rich in hiding their money from tax-authorities and government officials.

VENICE: American indie filmmaker James Gray is not the first name that springs to mind when you think of a Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, but Ad Astra, which boasts Hollywood mega-star Brad Pitt in the leading role, is an accomplished film with enough artistic backbone to score a slot in the main competition in Venice.

VENICE: Director Todd Phillips enters the Venice competition lineup with what just might be the first Batman film that is for non-Batman fans. His film Joker takes the usual Hollywood comic book franchise into much deeper and more interesting psychological territory than the usual special effects laden star vehicles. while still managing to deliver all the expected Gotham City sets and characters in full regalia. Set in a thinly disguised New York City of either the late 1970s or the not distant future, when the city is overwhelmed with crime, greed, filth and society’s breakdown, we see the origins of the famous characters of the later films.