Justine Barda’s Best of Berlinale 2024

Justine Barda | Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Justine Barda’s Best of Berlinale 2024

Berlinale wrapped its 74th annual festival last month, culminating another spectacular 11-day showcase of artistic, forward-thinking, and political films. Justine Barda, one of our Senior Programmers, was there to enjoy some exciting new releases and experience the jubilant atmosphere of this fixture of Berlin culture.

Justine recaps her experience for the SIFF Blog:

Berlinale was great – lots of meetings, lots of movies. My favorite thing I saw was the film that ended up winning the Golden Bear, Dahomey by Mati Diop, who made her feature film debut at Cannes in 2019 with Atlantics, winning the Grand Prix. Her new film chronicles the return to Benin of artwork stolen by France during its colonial occupation. What could have been a fairly standard-issue documentary in other hands really comes alive — literally: Diop gives voice to one of the statues being returned, and records a passionate, wide-ranging debate at a university conference.

Still from Dahomey directed by Mati Diop.

I also attended the EFP Shooting Stars Awards, a European initiative to recognize and promote up-and-coming actors from Europe, many of whom appear in SIFF films past, present, and future. But of course the highlight, as always, was hanging out with SIFF’s own Italian programmer, Angelo Acerbi, on his home continent. 🙂 

Hero photo caption: The 10 young European actors selected for the Shooting Stars program on stage at the Berlinale Palast for the award ceremony on Monday, February 19.

Justine Barda (she/her) has been with SIFF since 2008, programming film from France, the Middle East, and North Africa, and serving on the New Directors Competition committee. She has also consulted with the Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Dubai International Film Festival. In addition to festival programming, she taught in the Film Studies Program at Seattle University for a decade. In 2019, she founded Telescope Film, a discovery site for international film and TV. She is based in New York.

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