Berlin Film Festival jury president Kristen Stewart doesn’t buy the talk that movies are dead. At a press conference in Germany on Thursday afternoon to commemorate the launch of the 73rd annual Berlinale, she declared that cinema will live forever.
“Take a quick glance at your rear view mirror,” said Stewart, taking questions from reporters. “We have never stopped telling each other stories.” She then nodded to headlines about weakened international box office receipts as a result of the pandemic. “How much it costs, obviously like we’re headed towards oblivion on that one. But I also think that there’s a sort of like vital, desperate need in all of us to create something. And yeah, I think when you start really fixating on like the industry of, it’s easy to be like, ‘Oh, God, it’s all falling apart!’ But I just think that there’s something vital that’s undeniable will never go away.”
Stewart first attended the Berlinale in 2010 with the independent production “Welcome to the Rileys” alongside director Jake Scott.
“I guess in full transparency, I’m kind of shaking,” she said about her role as the festival’s president. “It’s not a weight that I don’t fully understand. I’m just ready, ready to be changed by all the films and changed by the people around us. I think that’s what we’re here for.”
She also gave a very opened-ended, endearingly awkward answer — a characteristic of how Stewart has done press throughout her career — when asked to name some of her favorite international films.
“Yeah, wow. You know, it’s like I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t watch movies,’” she said, mocking what the headlines could say about her response. “To be honest, I don’t want to take up time sitting here fumbling around and reaching for titles and filmmakers. I’m so sorry I don’t have like the greatest answer to your question, but I do I kind of want to unpack the libraries of everyone sitting next to me. That’s something that’ll be fun to do. But yeah, sorry, I’m a loser, I don’t have like a great list of stock filmmakers in my pocket for you.”
The Berlinale international jury members also include actor Golshifteh Farahani (Iran/France), director and writer Valeska Grisebach (Germany), director and screenwriter Radu Jude (Romania), casting director and producer Francine Maisler (U.S.), director and screenwriter Carla Simón (Spain), and director and producer Johnnie To (Hong Kong, China).
The fest runs Feb. 16-26.
Stewart recently finished directing her first feature, “The Chronology of Water,” and she’s currently working on a paranormal reality series, for which she recently issued an open casting call. She is exec producing the project, which focuses on LGBTQ+ ghosthunters. She is also working on a project with her fiancée, screenwriter Dylan Meyer, with the duo writing an as yet unnamed TV series.