Perhaps thoughts of the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony have whetted your appetite for cinematic greatness. Treat yourself to a visit to Germany’s most prestigious film festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, or Berlinale for short, taking place in the country’s capital through Feb. 21.

One of Europe’s “Big Three” film festivals along with Venice and Cannes, this important event for the international film industry also offers ordinary folks the chance to watch about 400 films, among them many international or European premieres.

Films of varying genres, lengths and formats are found across the many sections of the program. While films included in the Competition vie for the prestigious Golden and Silver Bears, fans of independent, experimental, avant-garde, shorts and classics will find much to their tastes too. “Berlinale Goes Kiez” sees selected films from the festival appear at art house cinemas throughout the city; the “NATIVe” section is devoted to telling the stories of the world’s indigenous peoples; and “Culinary Cinema” pairs screenings with top chefs serving up menus inspired by the films.

There’s also a chance of spotting a star from afar. American actress and three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep will serve as Jury President of the 66th edition of Berlinale, her first time ever to take on the role of a juror at a film festival.

Screenings, unless otherwise specified, will generally cost 11 euros, or $11.92, to attend. Tickets can be purchased online, at one of four central sales points, or at cinema box offices on show days. Viewers must be at least 18 years of age. See the program and buy tickets at

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