From the books to the big screens: Berlin International Film Festival promotes pitching among publishing professionals and filmmakers


The Berlin International Film Festival  begins on Thursday (7th) and brings another edition of the “Books at Berlinale”, a project organized in partnership with the Frankfurt Book Fair, which promotes a pitching for copyright holders to present their works to filmmakers. The session will happen next Monday (11th) at the Berlin state parliament building, the Abgeordnetenhaus.

The 2019 edition of Books at the Berlinale has set the record for 160 applications from 30 countries. Of that number, 12 titles were selected for pitching and include professionals from Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Republic of Korea, Syria, and Turkey. After the session, there will be an encounter for filmmakers, rights holders, publishers and literary agents to get together and talk.

In a press release, Dieter Kosslick, co-founder of Books on Berlinale, says he is delighted with the development of the project. “Our goal was to connect producers to the publishing industry based on a selection of international books that are particularly appropriate. It’s great to see that “Books at the Berlinale” is growing and enjoying increasing popularity”, he said.

“The selection consistently includes new releases, bestsellers and award-winning books with a high potential for audiovisual adaptation and once again shows the diversity of the international literary scenario”, says Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Juergen also highlighted one of the titles chosen. “I am particularly pleased that ‘Dance or Die’, a Syrian author’s title, is on display. It is important that moving stories of our time are told in different ways so they reach a large audience”, he added. “Dance or Die,” the true story of Ahmad Joudeh, who kept his dream of dancing despite the war in Syria and threats from extremists.

The selection also includes a book from Norway, guest country at Frankfurt Book Fair 2019. The work “Keep Saying Their Names” by Simon Stranger had its rights acquired in 11 languages. The book, presented by the Oslo Literary Agency, won the Norwegian Bookstore Award in November and is a success with critics and audiences.

Check the complete list of selected works below:

  • Dance or die, by Ahmad Joudeh (Syria), published by DeA Planeta Libri (Italy)
  • Love in case of emergency, by Daniela Krien (Germany) published by Diogenes Verlag (Switzerland)
  • Salt on our skin, by Benoîte Groult (France), published by Editions Grasset & Fasquelle (France)
  • The invisible girl, by Blue Jeans (Spain), published by Planeta (Spain)
  • The Wannsee murder, by Lutz Wilhelm Kellerhoff (Germany), represented by Elisabeth Ruge Agentur (Germany)
  • The girl with the leica, by Helena Janeczek (Germany), published by Gruppo editoriale Mauri Spagnol (Italy)
  • The guest, by Nermin Yıldırım (Turkey), represented by the agency  Kalem (Turkey)
  • Keep saying their names, by Simon Stranger (Norway), represented by Oslo Literary Agency (Norway)
  • Play dead, by A.F. Th. van der Heijden(Holland), published by Singel Uitgeverijen (Holland)
  • The good son, by You-jeong Jeong (Korea) represented by The Artists Partnership (United Kingdom)
  • Rightful blood, by Francesca Melandri (Italy), represented by The Italian Literary Agency (Italy)
  • Great, and you?, by Kathrin Weßling (Germany), published by Ullstein Buchverlage (Germany)