The Berlinale is a truly cultural event and one of the most important dates in the film industry. The Berlin International Film Festival, as it is officially called, is known for giving the same importance to edgy, low-budget movies as to big-studio productions. It shows some 400 movies per year, most of them international or European premieres. Around 300,000 tickets are sold, and is attended by almost 20,000 professional visitors from 130 countries. Every genre, length and format is featured at the Berlinale. Whether its films for young audiences or the avant-garde and unfamiliar, the festival is famous for its unique approach, allowing works that are sometimes hard to classify, at the intersection between film and other creative disciplines. It also likes to feature the work of women and minorities.
This year one of the movies that has premiered at the Berlinale has been “TPB AFK”, a documentary about Swedish filesharing site The Pirate Bay, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at how a handful of very clever internet pioneers found themselves fighting a battle over access to information and creative content against the powerful movie and media companies who relentlessly hounded them. The documentary, by Swedish filmmaker Simon Klose, includes footage shot over four years and one of the central storylines of the film is the trial of Pirate Bay’s four founders. Although the men (Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström) were charged with facilitating illegal downloading of copyrighted material and sentenced to a year and hit with a 2.7 million euros fine, the website is still working. Not only that, the website claims to have today more than 25 million active users. It has been blocked by several governments, but access to it is relatively easy because censorship can be circumvented in many countries.
Klose, who does not hide his sympathy for the founders of The Pirate Bay and the ideas they defend, has released the film online under a Creative Commons license, which allows viewers to watch and copy the film for free. Watch the whole movie here: