I (Carla) was lucky enough to attend the Berlin premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, alongside my fellow Germany staffer Vivien. You can watch some of the highlights of my experience that day in the video above!
Premiere day for me started around noon, when I first made my way to the Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz to see how crowds were looking at CineStar, the venue that would hold the event. When I got there, people were already lining up the area of the red carpet in order to get good spots. Most were good and covered up, camping with warm drinks and blankets because it was around 2 degrees Celsius at that point.
I walked around to take some pictures and then met up with Vivien to film a little introduction and get to know some of the fans who were there. There were several people already in costume, such as the group dressed in the Career costumes from the first movie, or several Effie costumes, as well as some really cool signs, which you can see in the pictures below. Very original! My personal favorite was the “One does not simply touch mahogany” one, it made me laugh a lot. I can’t believe the effort people put into their costumes.
At this point, the carpet area was still being set up. Vivien and I split up, so we could go get ready for the premiere. When I came back to Potsdamer Platz by 4 pm, it was already dark, and the crowd had at least quadrupled. The actual carpet was just being uncovered, but Sony Center was all decked out with torches and red lights for the event. After a quick pit stop at Starbucks to recharge my phone, I went into the press pen. A big shout out to the people who recognized me from the site, and said hi! That was really cool. Thank you all for being so awesome!
A few minutes before the official live stream coverage started, models walked down the red carpet showing off some really awesome Capitol fashion. The looks were amazing from head to toe (the shoes, you guys!). The models also got the chance to pose with Caesar Flickerman’s “brother,” who, of course, couldn’t miss the red carpet. The Catching Fire soundtrack was playing through the speakers for everybody to enjoy. Vivien got her turn to walk down the carpet and hand out some Mockingjay.net bookmarks to the fans.
Soon the live coverage started, and some local celebrities walked down the carpet. Then, several limousines began pulling up, meaning the cast had finally arrived. The noise from the crowd was so loud, I could barely hear what the announcers were saying. Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson walked down the red carpet first, and then Elizabeth Banks made her appearance– she looked so gorgeous in person! I completely admire her, Nina and Jennifer for wearing dresses and sandals in zero degree weather, particularly when I was freezing myself, and I was wearing about four more layers than they were.
Liam Hemsworth walked past us and into the theater as Elizabeth and Francis were being interviewed for the official live stream. I thought that meant he wouldn’t do press at all, but a bit later he came back out to talk to the TV stations. All of them spoke to the press, although the interviews were mostly kept short, maybe because of the weather or simply because they were running a bit late.
Sadly, I didn’t get to talk to any of them directly, because the official reporter for CineStar was standing right in front of me on the other side of the press barrier and she got priority (that would be Nina Eichinger, the blonde woman you can see in many of the pictures, with the awesome braid). I got to hear bits and pieces of their interviews with the local press, which you can see in the video at the top of this post. Jennifer commented on the fact that she was wearing sandals in freezing weather, and whether the reception by the Berlin fans was any different from the premiere for the first movie. Josh talked about the set and whether filming the second movie was any different from the first time around. I did get to tell Elizabeth Banks that she looked gorgeous, and she replied with a “thank you!” and a smile.
After talking to the press, Francis, Elizabeth, Jennifer and Josh signed autographs for the fans, and then they went into the theater to get ready to introduce the film. Josh was right in front of me on the escalator as I went up to the second floor, where the IMAX screening was; unfortunately by that point I had already been asked to leave my phone and camera at the entrance, so I couldn’t take a picture. Jennifer walked right behind me as I was getting popcorn; a man was handing her a white rose, which I thought was a nice nod to The Hunger Games, if a little creepy (they gave out white roses to all the female celebrity guests). Then they walked out to the balcony to wave to the fans, which was separated from the concessions stand where I was standing by just a prop wall.
The six of them walked into the IMAX theater just as I was getting to my seat. Francis was the one to introduce the movie to the audience. The screen behind him was showing the typical black-on-white movie countdown on repeat as he spoke, and Josh and Liam started making shadow figures with their hands. Jen joined in, too. Francis paused his introduction and said that that (them goofing off) was exactly what it was like on set every day, which made the audience laugh. Then he pointed out that this would be the first premiere for the franchise to be shown in IMAX, and said he hoped we loved the movie as much as they loved making it. They didn’t watch the movie with us because the room I was in got the movie in German, but when the introduction was over they moved to a different room, which I believe was showing the movie in English, and also did an introduction there.
All in all, it was a fantastic night, it was incredible to get to be so close to a cast I admire so much, and they were all so happy and motivated, it was a joy just to be in the same place as them; it was obvious they were really proud of the movie. I have no doubt Berlin will give them an even warmer welcome next year, when they (hopefully) come back for the premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, part 1.