The Berlin Film Festival has appointed Tricia Tuttle, the former head of the BFI London Film Festival, to become the new director of the international film event starting in 2024.
Tuttle will succeed Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek who have co-led the Berlinale as artistic and executive directors since 2020 and will step down after this year’s edition when their respective mandates end.
The Berlin Film Festival is the world’s second biggest international film festival after Cannes. It also hosts the European Film Market, a crucial industry gathering where independent films are pitched and sold.
Tuttle was the director of the BFI London Film Festival during a fast-growing five-year era in which audiences nearly doubled before she stepped down after the 2022 edition. She worked as the festival’s deputy for five years before that to her predecessor Clare Stewart. She helped the festival expand outside of London with venues set up across the U.K. About one third of the festival screenings were outside London in 2021. Tuttle also worked for five years at BAFTA as film program manager.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Claudia Roth, Germany’s culture commissioner, in Berlin Tuesday, Tuttle started by apologizing for not speaking German. She added: “I will in a year have been attending the Berlinale for more than a decade. I have always loved that Berlin is glamorous, political and provocative. It’s a hugely important meeting place for the world’s film industry.”
Roth said: “In her interviews, [Tuttle] impressed us with her clear ideas to create a modern and team-orientated festival and timely sponsoring model. She’s the absolute best choice to lead the Berlinale. She brings 25 years of experience. The BFI London Film Festival not only had an enormous growth in audience but also importance. She made the festival more colorful and more diverse and opened it up to a wider audience.”
Tuttle was appointed by a six-member committee which included Oscar-winning director Edward Berger (“All Quiet on the Western Front”); producer Roman Paul (“Paradise Now”); Anne Leppin, the German Film Academy’s now sole managing director; actress and producer Sara Fazilat; State Secretary Florian Graf, head of the Berlin Senate Chancellery; and Roth.
While Rissenbeek decided to step down following the 2024 edition, Chatrian was not given the opportunity to serve a second mandate by the governing body of the Berlinale, the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes.
Explaining the decision to set a new leadership, Roth she said wished to see the festival be led and represented by one person instead of having a dual leadership.
More than 400 filmmakers and talents, among them Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, Béla Tarr, Olivier Assayas, Kirsten Stewart and Margarethe von Trotta, signed a petition to protest against the culture commissioner’s decision and demand a prolongation of Chatrian’s contract.
As announced on Monday, this year’s Berlin Film Festival jury will be presided over by Lupita Nyong’o, the Oscar-winning Kenyan-Mexican actor and filmmaker. The 74th edition will run Feb. 15-25.