Berlin International Film Festival

The Berlin International Film Festival (German: Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), usually called the Berlinale, is a film festival held annually in Berlin, Germany.[1] Founded in West Berlin in 1951,[2] the festival has been held every February since 1978 and is one of the "Big Three" alongside the Venice Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.

Berlin International Film Festival
LocationBerlin, Germany
AwardsGolden Bear, Silver Bear
Artistic directorDieter Kosslick
No. of films441 (945 screenings) in 2014

With around 300,000 tickets sold and 500,000 admissions each year, it has the largest public attendance of any annual film festival.[3] Up to 400 films are shown in several sections across cinematic genres. Around twenty films compete for the festival's top awards, called the Golden Bear and several Silver Bears. Since 2001 the director of the festival has been Dieter Kosslick.[4]

The European Film Market (EFM), a film trade fair held simultaneously to the Berlinale, is a major industry meeting for the international film circuit.[5] The trade fair serves distributors, film buyers, producers, financiers and co-production agents. The Berlinale Talents, a week-long series of lectures and workshops, is a gathering of young filmmakers held in partnership with the festival.[6]

The film festival, EFM, and other satellite events are attended by around 20,000 professionals from over 130 countries.[7] More than 4200 journalists produce media coverage in over 110 countries.[8] At some high-profile feature film premieres held during the festival, movie stars and celebrities are present on the red carpet.[9]

The 69th Berlin International Film Festival took place from 7 to 17 February 2019.[10]


The Berlin International Film Festival was founded in West Berlin in 1951, with film historian Dr. Alfred Bauer as its first director, a position he would hold until 1976.[11] Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca opened the first festival which ran from June 6–17th.

Bauer was succeeded by film journalist Wolf Donner in 1976.[12] After his first Berlinale in June 1977, he successfully negotiated the shift of the festival from the summer to February (February 22 – March 5, 1978), a change which has remained ever since.

After only three years in the role, Donner was followed by Moritz de Hadeln who held the position from 1980 [13] until current director Dieter Kosslick took over in 2001.[14]

Festival programme

The festival is composed of seven different film sections.[15] Films are chosen in each category by a section director with the advice of a committee of film experts. Categories include:

Competition: comprises feature-length films yet to be released outside their country of origin. Films in the Competition section compete for several prizes, including the top Golden Bear for the best film and a series of Silver Bears for acting, writing and production.[16]

Panorama: comprises new independent and arthouse films that deal with "controversial subjects or unconventional aesthetic styles". Films in the category are intended to provoke discussion, and have historically involved themes such as LGBT issues.[17]

Forum: comprises experimental and documentary films from around the world with a particular emphasis on screening works by younger filmmakers. There are no format or genre restrictions, and films in the Forum do not compete for awards.[18]

Generation: comprises a mixture of short and feature-length films aimed at children and youths. Films in the Generation section compete in two sub-categories: Generation Kplus (aimed at those aged four and above) and Generation 14plus (aimed at those aged fourteen and above). Awards in the section are determined by three separate juries—the Children's Jury, the Youth Jury and an international jury of experts—, whose decisions are made independently of one another.[19]

Perspektive Deutsches Kino: comprises a wide variety of German films, with an emphasis on highlighting current trends in German cinema. There are few entry requirements, enabling emerging filmmakers to display their work to domestic and international audiences.[20]

Berlinale Shorts: comprises domestic and international short films, especially those that demonstrate innovative approaches to filmmaking. Films in the category compete for the Golden Bear for the best short film, as well as a jury-nominated Silver Bear.[21]

Retrospective: comprises classic films previously shown at the Berlinale, with films collated from the Competition, Forum, Panorama and Generation categories. Each year, the Retrospective section is dedicated to important themes or filmmakers. The special Homage series similarly examines past cinema, with a focus on honouring the life work of directors and actors.[22]

In addition to the seven sections, the Berlinale also contains several linked "curated special series", including the Berlinale Special, Gala Special, Forum 5, Culinary Cinema and the Homage.[15] Since 2002 a 50-second trailer opens the performances in all sections of the festival with the exception of the Retrospective.

Main competition jury presidents

Since 1956, the jury of the Festival has been chaired by an internationally recognized personality of cinema.[23]

Year President Profession Nationality
1956Marcel CarnéDirectorFrance
1957Jay CarmodyFilm CriticUnited States
1958Frank CapraDirectorUnited States
1959Robert AldrichDirectorUnited States
1960Harold LloydActorUnited States
1961James QuinnFilm AdministratorUnited Kingdom
1962King VidorDirectorUnited States
1963Wendy ToyeDancerUnited Kingdom
1964Anthony MannDirector, ActorUnited States
1965John GillettFilm CriticUnited Kingdom
1966Pierre BraunbergerFilm ProducerFrance
1967Thorold DickinsonDirectorUnited Kingdom
1968Luis García BerlangaDirectorSpain
1969Johannes SchaafDirectorGermany
1970George StevensDirectorUnited States
1971Bjørn RasmussenPoetDenmark
1972Eleanor PerryScreenwriterUnited States
1973David RobinsonFilm CriticUnited Kingdom
1974Rodolfo KuhnDirectorArgentina
1975Sylvia SymsActressUnited Kingdom
1976Jerzy KawalerowiczDirectorPoland
1977Senta BergerActressAustria
1978Patricia HighsmithWriterUnited States
1979Jörn DonnerDirectorFinland
1980Ingrid ThulinActressSweden
1981Jutta BrücknerDirector, ScreenwriterGermany
1982Joan FontaineActressUnited States
1983Jeanne MoreauActressFrance
1984Liv UllmannActressNorway
1985Jean MaraisActorFrance
1986Gina LollobrigidaActressItaly
1987Klaus Maria BrandauerActorAustria
1988Guglielmo BiraghiFilm CriticItaly
1989Rolf LiebermannComposerSwitzerland
1990Michael BallhausCinematographerGermany
1991Volker SchlöndorffDirector, ScreenwriterGermany
1992Annie GirardotActressFrance
1993Frank BeyerDirectorGermany
1994Jeremy ThomasFilm ProducerUnited Kingdom
1995Lia van LeerFilm Programmer, Film ArchivistIsrael
1996Nikita MikhalkovActor, DirectorRussia
1997Jack LangPoliticianFrance
1998Ben KingsleyActorUnited Kingdom
1999Ángela MolinaActressSpain
2000Gong LiActressChina
2001Bill MechanicFilm ProducerUnited States
2002Mira NairDirectorIndia
2003Atom Egoyan DirectorCanada
2004Frances McDormandActressUnited States
2005Roland EmmerichDirectorGermany
2006Charlotte RamplingActressUnited Kingdom
2007Paul SchraderDirector, ScreenwriterUnited States
2009Tilda SwintonActressUnited Kingdom
2010Werner HerzogDirector, ScreenwriterGermany
2011Isabella RosselliniActressItaly
2012Mike LeighDirector, ScreenwriterUnited Kingdom
2013Wong Kar-waiDirectorChina
2014James SchamusScreenwriterUnited States
2015Darren AronofskyDirector, ScreenwriterUnited States
2016Meryl StreepActressUnited States
2017Paul VerhoevenDirector, ScreenwriterNetherlands
2018Tom TykwerDirector, ScreenwriterGermany
2019Juliette BinocheActressFrance


The Golden Bear (German: Goldener Bär) is the highest prize awarded for the best film at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Golden Bear (Goldener Bär)

Silver Bear (Silberner Bär)

The Silver Bear was introduced in 1956 as an award for individual achievements in direction and acting, and for best short film.

In 1965 a special film award for the runner-up to the Golden Bear was introduced. Although its official name was the Special Jury Prize from 1965 to 1999, and has been the Jury Grand Prix since 2000, it is commonly known as the Silver Bear (just like the awards for individual achievements) as it is regarded as a second place award after the Golden Bear.

In 2002 a Silver Bear for best film music, and in 2008 an award for best screenplay.

  • Jury Grand Prix (since 1965)
  • Alfred Bauer Prize (since 1987)[25] – in memory of the Festival Founder – for a feature film that opens new perspectives on cinematic art
  • Best Director (since 1956)
  • Best Actor (since 1956)
  • Best Actress (since 1956)
  • Best Short Film (since 1956)
  • Outstanding Artistic Contribution (since 1956)[26] – not awarded every year, and in some years more than one award is made.
  • Outstanding Single Achievement (since 1956)[26] – not awarded every year, and in some years more than one award is made.
  • Best Film Music (since 2002)
  • Best Script (since 2008)

Other awards at the Berlin International Film Festival

  • Panorama Publikumspreis, the Audience Award
  • Berlinale Camera, a special award for services to the Festival
  • A Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the 14plus section of the Generation Competition
  • A Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the children's section of the Generation Competition
  • Teddy Award for films with LGBT topics
  • Shooting Stars Award for young European acting talent, awarded by European Film Promotion

European Film Market

The European Film Market (EFM) is one of three largest movie markets in the world.[27] It is the business centre during the time of the Berlinale Film Festival. The EFM is the major venue for film producers, buyers, financiers, sales agents, and distributors. It is a professional trade event, so is open to registered industry insiders. In 2011, 400 companies registered and 6,982 market badges were issued; 1,532 buyers have registered.[28]

The trade fair provides exhibition space for companies presenting their current line-up. It organizes over 1000 screenings of new films, which take place at movie theatres around Potsdamer Platz. In 2007, the CinemaxX and CineStar were used to showcase new productions. In 2010, the Astor Film Lounge showed market screenings in three dimensions using digital RealD technology.

The Berlinale Co-Production Market is a three-day networking platform for producers and financiers, as well as broadcasting and funding representatives who are participating in international co-productions. At the Berlinale Co-Production Market, producers can introduce selected projects and find co-production partners and/or financiers in one-on-one meetings.

Berlinale Talents

Commencing in 2003, the Berlinale has partnered with the Berlinale Talents (previously Berlinale Talent Campus), which is a winter school for "up-and-coming filmmakers" that takes place at the same time as the festival. The Talent Campus accepts about 250 applicants each year; the attendees come from around the world, and represent all of the filmmaking professions.[29]

The event runs six days during the Berlinale and features lectures and panel discussions with well-known professionals addressing issues in filmmaking. Workshops, excursions, personal tutoring, coaching, and training of participants from different fields of work are part of the programme.

The proceedings include presentations by distinguished experts,[30] who have included Park Chan-wook, Frances McDormand, Stephen Frears, Dennis Hopper, Jia Zhangke, Walter Murch, Shah Rukh Khan, Joshua Oppenheimer, Anthony Minghella, Charlotte Rampling, Walter Salles, Ridley Scott, Raoul Peck, Tom Tykwer, Mike Leigh, Tilda Swinton, and Wim Wenders. Many of these presentations and lectures are archived, both as video recordings and as transcripts, on the Talent Campus' website.

See also


  1. China film wins top Berlin award, BBC News
  2. "Oscar Martay". Archived from the original on 26 April 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  3. Facts and Figures of the Berlinale,
  4. Speed Interview with Dieter Kosslick Berlinale Chief,, 18 February 2008
  5. Berlin Film Festival a market force, Variety, 13. February 2008
  6. Berlin Talent campus wins hearts,
  7. 2009 Berlinale Press release,, 18. February 2008
  8. Kosslick zieht positive Berlinale-Bilanz Archived 17 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine(German),
  9. Madonna at the Berlinale on YouTube, 19. February 2008
  10. "Teddy Award - The official queer award at the Berlin International Film Festival". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  11. "Archive 1951: The beginnings". Berlinale Press Office. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  12. "Archive 1977: A promising start for Wolf Donner". Berlinale Press Office. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  13. "Archive 1980: Moritz de Hadeln's first year: Consequent Renewal". Berlinale Press Office. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  14. "Archive 2002: All remains new". Berlinale Press Office. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  15. (2010). "The Festival Sections: An Overview". Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  16. (2010). "Competition". Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  17. (2010). "Panorama". Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  18. (2010). "Forum". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  19. (2010). "Generation". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  20. (2010). "Perspektive Deutsches Kino". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  21. (2010). "Berlinale Shorts". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  22. (2010). "Retrospective & Homage". Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  24. "THE HONORARY GOLDEN BEAR". Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  25. Prizes of the International Jury Last accessed 20130116
  26. Berlinale. Archive. Prize winners 1956. Retrieved 27 January 2019
  27. Kodak Cinema&Television Press Release,
  28. EFM Facts and Figures Archived 3 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, 14. November 2011
  29. Berlinale Talents, berlinale-talentcampus
  30. Talent Campus adds to lineup, Variety
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