The biggest perk of living in a monster size city like Berlin is that there’s always something going on. ALWAYS. Winter or Summer, Tuesday afternoon or Saturday night, it takes little to no effort to have an epic time. It’s also one of the most budget friendly party cities, so when we say epic, we don’t mean späti hopping (though that one actually IS epic). From free midnight movie screenings, shows during Fashion Week that are open to the public and street parties, Berlin brings on the fun for everyone and anyone all year round.

But there are a few specials that are worth keeping in mind. Karneval Der Kulturen is one of them. Myfest is another. Fete de la Musique yet another. Filling the streets with color, music, drinks, food, and, most importantly, people, Berlin’s festivals add to an already too long list of reasons to visit. In case you actually needed them…

And then there’s Berlinale.

If you really know movies, you know movie festivals. And if you know movie festivals, you know they run around the world all year round. From Sundance through Tribeca to Cannes, the cinematographic pattern we all know and love is always somewhere. And the possibility of celebrity sighting makes everything even better. Let’s be real, nothing beats starting your dinner talk with: “So I just ran into George Clooney on the way over.” Stars give the red carpets extra sparkle and the carefully selected program guarantees high quality cinematography. What more do you need?

This year, the official program includes more than 20 venues and an endless list of projections to sift through. Having options can be fun, but there’s a reason for the coining of the famous “tyranny of choice” phrase. There really can be too much of a good thing. Not to mention that we live in a time of review-driven decision making, and when there are no recommendations available, making choices tends to require more time and effort than most of us are willing to put in. Just saying.

So, to save you from the last-minute headaches and decisions made in crunch time, here are a few survival tips that will help make this year’s Berlinale as fun and stress-free as possible.

Mark February 6th in your calendar!

With the launching of the official and full program, it’s a Tuesday you’ll want to use wisely. Make yourself comfortable, get a cup of tea, dim the lights. Dedicate this special time to watching trailers, plots and casts. The attention you give this phase has the biggest impact on the satisfaction rate of your selection. So, once more, February 6th. Red circle around it!

Do the first step before buying tickets. Just….do it.

Because when it comes to Berlinale, tickets sell faster than it takes to refresh a web page and the chances of breaking your laptop/keyboard/smartphone are peaking. Knowing what you want to see when tickets go for sale is beyond crucial. And then there’s the queueing. Waiting in lines for such a long time will test your patience more than watching paint dry. Stay strong, stay motivated. Maybe bring snacks, they help.

Make sure your dinner is secured

Dinner-and-a-movie isn’t just for dates. Sinking into a comfy cinema chair and tuning out of your everyday life is the best way to spend an hour or two at the end of your day. Any day. And during Berlinale, this becomes the behavioral pattern of more people than you’d like to know, and if you don’t make reservations on time, you WILL be having popcorn for dinner. And what’s worse than watching a movie hangry? Just make those reservations, thank us later.

Choose your company wisely

Another major downer to an otherwise awesome night is going to see a movie with someone who doesn’t share your taste in films. So make the extra effort and find out who to bring with you for each of the screenings. There’s nothing worse than enjoying a great projection while listening to the sly comments and unnecessary critisism coming from the seat next to you. Picking the right company is just as important as picking the movies you’ll see. Don’t slack on this one.

So there, we gave you the tools, now go make February the month of great movies, celebrity sightings and good times with friends. See you there!