Berlin: Where to snag remaining tickets to the Berlinale film festival

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Berlin International Film Festival
The Berlin International Film Festival, held February 10-20, 2011. Photo: SpreePix-Berlin

By C H Kwak in Berlin—

Don’t make me drop names, darling, but I just came home from sipping champagne and chit chatting with a certain Austrian film actor. (Fine, he’s not exactly a star, but boy does he have some stories about Fassbinder!)

Yes, it’s that time of the year again in Berlin, when the Berlinale film festival unrolls the red carpet for regular folks like me. Unlike other premium film events, the Berlin International Film Festival is a true people’s celebration. As tickets are never more than €12, everyday people can attend premieres and bump into stars. (Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you about the time when Helen Mirren called me “you poor thing.”)

Remaining seats for this year’s Berlinale

This year’s festival runs from February 10-20, 2011, meaning that, if you’re here now, you still have time to take in a few films. By the end of the festival, 400 films will have been screened. By now, of course, most of the tickets are gone. However, savvy travelers still have a chance to snag some seats. Here’s how:

1. Buying tickets online

Tickets have been available on the festivals Web site since early February. Search for a film here. Click on the ticket icon next to the title to pay with a credit card. There’s an €1.50 service charge. (You’ll notice, of course, that most of the shows are sold out. Read on…)

2. Buying tickets in person

Trouble with the official site is, many of the shows are sold out and the lots of people are vying to get the remaining seats. Instead of cursing at the overloaded server, do as the Berliners do and head straight to the central box offices. Three days before the showing, additional seats get released for each film. The box offices are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and located at:

Potsdamer Arkade
Ground floor
Potsdamer Platz, U/S-Bahn Potsdamer Platz

Kino International
Karl-Marx-Allee 33, U-Bahn Schillingsstrasse

Urania
An der Urania 17, U-Bahn Wittenbergplatz

The lines can be long, but you’ll also get to talk to film fans from around the world.

3. Kinotag

A few years back, the festival’s organizers designated the last day of the festival as “Kinotag,” or Film Day. This year’s Kinotag is February 20, 2011. All tickets are discounted at €6 (plus €1.50 service charge).

4. International goes local

The “Berlinale Goes Kiez” program brings festival films to small local theaters scattered around the city. This is a great way to get off the beaten path and mingle with the locals. Read more here.

About the author

C.H. Kwak is a translator in Berlin.

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