Finally the Berlinale is back and Berlin will be topsy-turvy, as bystanders and movie stars from all over the world are visiting the city.
But the Berlinale is not only about movie stars, it’s about small stories on big screens. The best thing to do is, to check out the films in Competition. Blockbusters you can always catch in regular rotation during the year.
Now here are some tips, how you can score tickets for the Berlinale with the least amount of frustration.
Film Categories of the Berlinale
Before studying the program, you have to know, that there are different categories:
- Competition films are the ones in competition ;)
- Panorama films are by semi-established international filmmakers
- Forum (Expanded) has younger and artier films
- Generation films are (not only) for kids, and offered quite cheap.
You can download the program brochure at the Berlinale website, or pick up a paper copy for example at the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden. Now, when you picked out your favorite films, and please make a wish list, as you might not get your first choice, you can buy your ticket.
How to get the ticket at the Berlinale?
Welcome to Berlin. To buy a ticket for Berlinale can get really crazy German. But I will try to explain it, as simple as possible.
- If you can make time, you could volunteer at the Berlinale. You just apply to Berlinale directly by writing an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- You can try to buy tickets online. The Berlinale releases a limited number through their website. You will have to pay a 1,50 Euro extra per ticket ;and you need an Eventim account, which you should set up beforehand. When you are very lucky and successful, you can either print them out, get a mobile ticket, or pick them up with your printed confirmation at the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden. The third option is not recommendable, as you have to stand in line FOREVER.
- If the online contingent is sold out (which most likely will be the case), you have to make the trip to Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, Kino International, Haus der Berliner Festspiele or Audi City Berlin out west and get in line. Bring a picnic, music or something to read. It will take a while.
- Also, you can go to the box office at any participating theater on the day of and try to get a ticket for the upcoming film just on the spot.
- If you are a journalist or you do work in the industry, you can register for a press ticket, with which you are able to visit all screenings without buying a ticket.
Hot Tip: For a 2 Euro extra you can get tickets for any screening that is for sale at any Berlin ticket office. Just be sure to note down the ticket code for your chosen screening beforehand.
How many tickets can you buy?
For each screening you can only buy two tickets.
If you need four tickets, you have to go with another person or catch one ;).
Exceptions are screenings of the category Generation, for which you can buy up to four tickets and for the Kulinarisches Kino screenings at 19:30h, for which there is no ticket limit.
How to pay at the Berlinale?
Attention please: If you did not buy the ticket online, it is CASH ONLY. Students and other disadvantaged folks pay half price for same-day tickets, and starting half an hour before every screening.
When to buy the Berlinale tickets?
This is maybe the most complicated aspect of this article.
The ticket sales started already. Since then you are able to get tickets for all screenings at
- the Friedrichstadt-Palast,
- the Volksbühne, and
- those in Culinary Cinema and
- Berlinale Goes Kiez.
AND you can also buy tickets for all screenings on the Berlinale Publikumstag, when the awards have been awarded. Then the movie stars left, and we can get in (8 Euro per screening).
Spoiler Alert: Many tickets won’t be on sale today on February 6th, as they only go on sale three days in advance (again, they offer a small amount of tickets online and the rest at the ticket offices). Only to make life more complicated: Tickets for repeat screenings of Competition films may be purchased four days in advance.
Meanwhile showing up and catching whatever ticket sounds pretty good, or? But really, Berlinale is not only about watching a movie, it is an adventure which you should not miss. I love it and rise to the challenge every year. Good luck!
If you want to find more hidden gems of Berlin, check out my folding maps BertaBerlin. They are available in well-chosen locations all over Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg and online. But for those of you, who want to stay up to date, feel free to follow me on Instagram, Facebook or register for my newsletter.