Emily Alden is back in Berlin this year, heading to its market in her role as vp of originals at Vancouver’s Brightlight Studios.
The Good Doctor producer had hired Alden in 2020 as vp of development with a mandate to expand its film and TV slate, which has also included the likes of Firefly Lane for Netflix and Upload for Amazon Studios.
The busy veteran took time to tell THR about her plans for and experiences in Berlin.
What’s your state of mind heading into the European Film Market?
I am optimistic – the market feels healthier than it’s been in a while, and there seem to be more sales projects coming together. The festival lineup up feels exciting this year and I’m looking forward to watching as many films as I can.
What have you missed most about the physical markets?
I’ve missed actual face time and not just over Zoom. Nothing new, we’ve been missing this and saying this over and over since the pandemic began. The face-to-face is such a welcome return and being connected to the community, in real-time, seeing what people are talking about and getting excited about … which just doesn’t happen from Zoom!
What have you missed most about the in-person Berlin market in particular?
Making new relationships, finding new partners, collaborators and talent is what I miss most. Now that we’re back, I’m excited to see more unique and international projects coming together.
What’s been your best and worst experience with the virtual markets of the past three years?
The worst was the juggle between everyday life and market life. It was difficult navigating the virtual markets from home with real life, family etc. surrounding, especially over the weekends. When you are at a market or festival, you are there and committed without any external interferences. It is basically what I imagine life is like for everyone who lives in L.A. during AFM! The best part is a nice slow-down and a little bit of a break from all the travel.
What has changed about how you do business?
I think we’ve all become a little more selective in where we spend our time, who we spend it with and what we are doing. And also learning to prioritize the things that really matter to us on a personal level.
What’s your favorite, only-in-Berlin moment from physical festivals/markets past?
It’s always fun and glamorous to see the stars run down the stairs of the Ritz on their way to a screening, or the jury coming back in from a screening. Always feels a bit surreal, you can really feel the energy.
What’s the first thing you’ll do after landing in Berlin for EFM 2023?
I go straight to the pharmacy to pick up a weeklong supply of liquid vitamin B shots that I haven’t found anywhere else in the world and which I’m convinced keep me alive for the week! Someone shared this with me in one of my first Berlin’s and I’ve lived by it ever since.
What restaurant or bar have you missed?
The schnitzel at Borchardt and local scene is a favorite. Grill Royal for the seafood tower and the overall ambiance is wonderful. It’s always great bumping into people you know there and combining dinners. The eggplant parmigiana at Sale e Tabacchi also deserves a special mention.
Best place to get away from the fest frenzy?
I’m always looking for places off the beaten path which gets more difficult each year. It’s been a couple of years since the last in-person Berlin, so I’m excited to try all the new places I’ve been reading about, especially a new Lebanese restaurant that just opened in Kreutzberg.
One thing you won’t travel without, besides your phone?
Would love to come up with something original here. Does a phone charger or passport count? Definitely can’t forget vitamins to stay healthy.
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