Germany’s Books at Berlinale: Registration Opens to Producers, Rights Holders

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Registration for Germany’s annual Books at Berlinale event is open for film producers and publishing rights holders. The event is February 18.

At the entrance to the invitational 2023 Books at Berlinale event, the Berlin House of Representatives, which acts as a partner and main venue to the Berlinale Co-Production Market. Image: FBM, Ines Bachor

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

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Registration Opens for Film Rights Holders, Producers
At the heart of each year’s Books at Berlinale program is a rights market. Known as the Berlinale Co-Production Market, it’s one of several initiatives operating as part of the Berlin International Film Festival‘s “Berlinale Pro” framework, its sister operations being the European Film Market, Berlinale Talents, and the World Cinema Fund.

Today (January 12), the Books at Berlinale program is opening up for participation requests and announcing its list of projects. The Books at Berlinale event is set for February 18, again at the Berlin House of Representatives building. Film rights holders and film producers can register to participate until February 9 by writing to books@berlinale.de.

This year’s festival, the Berlinale itself, runs February 15 to 25. There are 34 projects being offered at this public- and industry-facing festival, from 27 countries and culled from an original submission count of 318 entries. As Melanie Goodfellow at Deadline has written this week, some of the 2024 Berlinale’s 18 official selection—the marquee features—have been made by Ukrainian, Italian, Serbian, Turkish, Chinese, and Japanese directors.

For our readers who annually are at various public-facing book fairs, you can think of the Co-Production Market as a parallel to a professional program at a public-facing book fair. The Co-Production Market runs its current-issues and networking programs from February 17 to the 21st this year.

One of those programs, Books at Berlinale, was opened in 2006 in cooperation with Frankfurter Buchmesse, and the annual project is still a joint effort of the trade fair and the C0-Production Market. The Co-Production Market is supported not only by Frankfurt but also by MDM (Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung) and the Creative Europe Media Program of the European Union

Books at Berlinale has become one of Europe’s better known books-to-film rights programs, combining an event in which a curated selection of books is pitched to producers. That session is followed by networking and a second “matchmaking” set of meetings in which rights holders talk with producers one-on-one. And this, of course, is a rights center, as is its counterpart at Cannes and other film-and-television based events of the year.

This year, the Books at Berlinale program will feature a selection of 10 international books deemed by organizers to have “special potential for literary adaptations and serial formats.” They’ve been drawn from nearly 100 submissions from more than 30 countries. Behind those 10 books selected for the event are submissions from six publishers and four literary agents. The authors come from Iceland, India, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Pakistan, France, Germany, and Switzerland.

The kickoff event is expected to feature Frankfurt’s Guest of Honor Italy (a market that knows a few things about film). This year, a total of 30 submissions were made from Italy, in fact, which is also the European Film Market’s “Country in Focus” this year.

You’ll find that Cesare’s Story is one of the 10 selected books originally known as La storia di Cesare: Scegliere a occhi chiusi la felicità (The Story of Cesare: Choosing Happiness With Your Eyes Closed.) The book is a memoir by Valentina Mastroianni, a September 26 release from DeAgostini Libri.

Again this year, Syd Atlas will host the presentation for an audience of some 150 filmmakers and rights holders.

Books at Berlinale: The 2024 Curated Selection

Kaiken Entertainment and Rovio’s Laura Nevanlinna in a 2015 pitch session with host Syd Atlas at the Books at Berlinale event from Frankfurter Buchmesse and the Berlinale Co-Production Market. Image: Berlinale Co-Production Market, Silke Heyer

  • The Secret of Nox: Light, Shadow, Bat Rats! Volume 1 / Das Geheimnis von Nox: Licht, Schatten, Flederratten! Volume 1  by Claudia Scharf (Germany); Carlsen Verlag, Germany
  • Me: In Between / Dazwischen: Ich by Julya Rabinowich (Germany); Carl Hanser Verlag, Germany
  • White Clouds / Weiße Wolken by Yandé Seck (Germany); Copywrite Literatur und Filmagentur, Germany (being published by Kiepenheuer & Witsch)
  • Cesare’s Story: Choosing Happiness With Your Eyes Closed / La storia di Cesare: Scegliere a occhi chiusi la felicità  by Valentina Mastroianni (Italy); DeAgostini Libri, Italy
  • Dissident Club by Taha Siddiqui and illustrator Hubert Maury (Pakistan/France); Éditions Glénat, France
  • History’s Angel by Anjum Hasan (India); Jacaranda Literary Agency, Singapore
  • Everything for Jo / Die Entflammten by Simone Meier (Switzerland); Kein & Aber, Switzerland
  • A Poisoner’s Tale by Cathryn Kemp (United Kingdom); Penguin Random House UK
  • The Áróra Investigation Series: Cold as Hell / Helköld sól by Lilja Sigurðardóttir (Iceland); Reykjavík Literary Agency, Iceland
  • Xerox: Hard Copy  / Xerox by Fien Veldman (the Netherlands); Sebes & Bisseling Literary Agency, the Netherlands

A note for Frankfurter Buchmesse trade visitors working in books to film and words to screen: At the 2024 trade show (October 16 to 20), Frankfurt Friday–October 19—is again designated “Book to Screen Day,” with a focus on film and series adaptations. Events being planned will offer filmmakers access to key players in world book publishing and facilitate interaction between participating professionals. More information will be available later this year.

One-on-one meetings, part of the Berlinale Co-Production Market for Books at Berlinale and other rights and professional development programming. Image: Berlinale Co-Production Market, Silke Heyer


More from Publishing Perspectives on Books at Berlinale is here, and more on adaptations of books to film and television is here and here. More on rights and licensing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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