Berlinale: Your Guide to Getting Tickets

February 7, 2013

in Entertainment, Germany, Travel, Web Tips

The days are getting longer and lighter.  The New Year’s debris has finally been cleared from the streets.  Snowfall has turned to rain.  And so, once again it is time for Berlin to put giant bears on posters, roll out red carpets across town, and welcome the glitterati of the film world to the city.  That’s right:  early February means BERLINALE!

As the festival becomes more popular, it is increasingly difficult for pedestrians to score tickets to film showings.  What was once a matter of scheduling various showings into one’s calendar and standing on line for tickets has become an involved matter of sitting online days before your showing, hoping that your film of choice hasn’t yet sold out (and paying  a pretty penny for the privilege).

The Berlinale has once again changed their ticketing practices.  Here’s what you need to know to have the best opportunity to pick up some seats.

Standing in line, advance purchase
THREE LOCATIONS now serve as general ticketing outlets for all Berlinale films and events.  They are open every day from 1000 to 2000.

Most convenient, of course, is Potsdamer Platz.  Expect extraordinary waits.  Haus der Berliner Festspiele is not as conveniently located — head there for the shortest lines!

Tickets may be purchased up to three days in advance, four days in advance for repeat screenings of Competition films only.

Advantages:  save €1.50 per person per ticket — if you’re attending multiple showings or attending with friends, this can quickly add up, ec-cards accepted
Disadvantages:  must wear pants, travel time, waits in line can be long, might have to repeat multiple times depending on time window before your preferred showings, no credit cards accepted

Tickets are also available at all 91 EVENTIM ticket offices across the city (link > enter “Berlin” in the search field).

Advantages:  locations close to you all over the city, shorter lines, credit and ec-cards accepted
Disadvantages: mostly same as above, €2 per ticket service fee is the highest of all fees

Online, advance purchase
Limited allocations of tickets for each show are available for online purchase.  You can view if/when tickets are for sale for each showing by browsing on the Berlinale’s programme page.  Tickets for purchase (or sold out) are visible on the far right of each listing.

Even if you purchase online, however, you must pick up your tickets in person (print your confirmation and bring ID) at the internet counter at the Potsdamer Platz main ticket office ONLY.  Open 10-1930 daily, 10-15 Sunday, February 17th.

Advantages:  convenience, clear picture of availability, reasonable likelihood of securing tickets, lowest effort threshold, credit cards accepted
Disadvantages: €1.50 fee per ticket, must queue in potentially long lines anyway, credit card payments only

Standing in line, day of showing
If you haven’t managed to secure tickets in advance, your last hope will be the box office of the theater where your film will be showing that day.  Note that every theater has different hours for lining up.

Advantages: last opportunity for remaining tickets, students get half-price tickets on anything still available
Disadvantages: highest potential for standing in line, lowest potential of seeing the film

Tickets for Berlinale showings range from €9- €13, before fees.  The Generation series, with films targeted at children and youths, is priced at a bargain €4 per ticket.  This year the festival is having a special discount day on the close of the festival — Sunday, February 17th.  All films this day at all venues are just €6 per ticket!  These tickets are already available online.  Check out the discount showings here.

Who do you think will win this year’s Golden Bear?  Leave your Berlinale 2013 thoughts in the comments.

photo credit: flickr/bloggingdagger

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