Festival Finances

Berlinale's Balancing Act

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Film festivals are a difficult business and most rely on sponsoring and subsidies for more than half of their income.

  • Facts


    • Film festivals generally receive higher subsidies in Europe while an countries pay higher subsidies for film festivals while in the United States.
    • Europe’s biggest film festivals are Cannes, Venice and Berlin.
    • The Berlin film festival’s budget was €24 million in 2017.
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Model Toni Garrn poses on the red carpet for the screening of the movie ‘Django’, during the opening gala of the 67th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin
Can the Berlinale thrive as the number of festivals multiplies? Source: Reuters

On Sunday, the 67th annual showing of the Berlinale, one of Europe’s quirkiest, biggest film festivals, closes with a flourish, topped by the award of its famous Golden Bear for best film.

Over 10 days, this year’s event is expected to draw more than 500,000 visitors, pull in about €2.6 million in ticket sales, €6 million from corporate sponsors and its biggest chunk, more than €8 million, from governments.

While other film festivals fight for survival, the financial bottom line at the Berlinale, which is supported by the German government, the European Commission and local governments, appears assured.

The event’s budget this year was €24 million – 50 percent more than 15 years ago. As in the past, the non-profit gala event will dutifully spend exactly as much money as it pulls in.

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