A snug club is welcome the world over. At a film festival it is especially welcome as a refuge from the madding festival crowd. At the Berlin Film Festival it is doubly willkommen given the windy chill of February. The Berlinale is a festival especially blessed with club lounges. Throughout the festival they the location for are a merry go round of meetings, media events and film launches. They form a network which is the backbone of the business of the festival, who’s mission it is to bring together people, ideas and the means to make them a reality.
The Tesiro Golden Bear Lounge is the most strategically located of the pop up film festival lounges at central festival hotel, the Hyatt. It is to be found at very entrance to the press conference hall which this year saw stars from Meryl Streep, Jude Law, Colin Firth to Tilda Swinton and George Clooney field questions from the world’s eager media.
Prior to entering the hall for a press grilling the stars line up for the photo call. The bellows of ‘Tilda!!!’ And “George!!” can be clearly heard in the adjacent Tesiro Golden Bear Lounge. For a lucky handful in the far corner of the lounge it is even possible to view the paparazzi flash storm through a rectangular window. It is like something from a royal palace where the chamberlain can spy on proceedings in the next door room of the palace.
The Tesiro Golden Bear Lounge also has a commanding view of the red carpet leading into the Berlinale Palast, in pride of place on Marlene Dietrich Platz. The arrivals of the stars and industry folks and regular festival goers can be viewed from the this rather special vantage point. The most glamorous premiers start here. Ladies in their finest frocks with men in smartest black tie quaff champagne and nibble nibbles as they prepare to walk the red carpet. The Tesiro Golden Bear Lounge is the select venue of choice for the uptown festival guests before they walk across for their rendezvous with big screen glamour.
The Tesiro lounge is not only a focal point before the big evening screenings, it is also a key meeting point during the day. From breakfast meetings over croissants to press junkets and high powered meetings throughout the day. This is a favored spot for the festival big hitters.
But it is not the only contender for club lounge chic at the Berlinale.
Perched high in the sky is the 24th floor Glashutte lounge at No 1 Potsdamer Platz. This is reached by an swank ground floor reception and cloakroom via an express executive lift. The Glashutte is a most chic affair with views across the city to match. From this eagle’s nest you get a bird’s eye view of the city centre and beyond. Perched on high stools journalists and industry professionals rub shoulders. To quote the song when you get up there the air is rarefied but the atmosphere is all about the down to earth business of film. Deal makers can be seen huddled in discussions and journalists set up their microphones to record quotes in this most convivial of settings.
It is also the setting for press conferences and presentations. On Lussorian’s first visit to the five star venue a ceremony was underway to award a prestigious Glashutte prize worth €15,000 to an emerging filmmaker. The recipient of the Made In Germany – Perspektive Fellowship this year was Janna Ji Wonders. As a taste of things to come for the award winner who was introduced by none other than Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick. Industry figures of this calibre put a lounge on the map. There is no doubt that Glashutte has carved a place as meeting point of choice for key festival movers and shakers.
But Berlin also boasts lounges which have a longer history going back before the fall of the wall. One such place is the Pan Am crew lounge which now has a second lease of life as a chic rooftop bar just down from the former main West Berlin cinema showcase Zoo Palast, on Budapester Strasse. This year it hosted drinks for the first night party for John McDonagh’s War on Everyone.
No less authority than Dieter Kosslick himself knew all about the mythic history of the crew lounge for the now defunct airline. At the time flights were subsidized in and out of Berlin was cheaper tanks to the Yankee dollar. “To fly from Munich to Hamburg you would catch the flights in and out of Berlin because it was cheaper.” explained a nostalgic Dieter.
The Pan Am crew lounge is a vestige of the needs of the Cold War to keep the air bridge into the city. Along with sections of the old Berlin wall which are so much decor for snap hungry tourists, these vestiges of the dark days of the Cold War years have acquired a certain chic. So along side the very 21st century glamour of the Tesiro in the glittering new Hyatt and the sky high Glashutte the lounges of the Berlinale show in their own way show how the German capital has changed in a few short decades.
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