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Tanja Meissner Named Head of Berlin’s European Film Market

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Veteran European film executive Tanja Meissner has been named the new director of Berlinale Pro*, a newly-created position that will include running the Berlin film festival‘s European Film Market.

New Berlin film festival director Tricia Tuttle announced Meissner’s appointment on Friday, May 10, describing the Berlinale Pro* position as “a reshaped role [encompassing] the directorship of the European Film Market (EFM) while also taking a strategic lead in developing the Berlinale Pro consortium, together with the Heads of the Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and World Cinema Fund.” Meissner will report directly to Tuttle.

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Meissner takes over at the EFM from Dennis Ruh, who confirmed late last year that the Berlinale would not be renewing his contract.

Meissner brings more than 25 years of experience to the job, and a deep understanding of the business of European independent cinema. Her CV includes long stints in French outfits Memento Films International — where she was EVP of sales and acquisitions from 2007 to 2021 — and Celluloid Dreams, where she was head of sales from 2000 to 2007. Meissner, a German-French citizen, will take over her new job on May 13 and will attend the Cannes film festival with the Berlinale team.

Meissner “is immensely well-regarded in the international film industry, for her integrity, great taste and shrewd business sense,” said Tuttle. “She offers a rare combination of experience at the highest level in sales and distribution while also combining it with an understanding of how to nurture new talent and support green shoots in the industry. All of this is anchored by a genuine and deep passion for cinema. I am eager to use our platforms at the Berlinale to support the whole ecosystem from filmmakers and rights holders through to distributors, cinemas and audiences. And I can’t think of a better first Executive appointment to help achieve this.”

Meissner said she holds the Berlinale “deeply to my heart,” noting her first job in the industry was working in guest relations for the Berlinale’s Panorama sidebar. “Over the years I have participated in the festival in various capacities, such as team member, industry representative or guest, thus combining a maybe unusual 360° perspective. This new chapter brings together everything that I’m passionate about and that I have been cultivating over the years.”

Tuttle, formerly director of the BFI London Film Festival, replaced exiting co-directors Carlo Chatrian and Mariëtte Rissenbeek as sole head of the Berlinale. Her first festival will be the 75th Berlinale, which runs Feb. 13-23, 2005.

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