Berlinale to run physically and introduce gender-neutral performance awards
- The European Film Market will have a hybrid edition, while the Generation section will only screen feature films in its competition
Almost six months ahead of the festival’s scheduled dates, 11 – 21 February 2021, the directing duo of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, have announced a series of changes for the 71st edition of the large gathering. The most significant update is that the festival is planned as a physical event, while the European Film Market (EFM) will be scheduled to run in a hybrid model.
As expected, this decision must be taken in accordance with whatever the rules might be regarding the pandemic at that time, in order for the event to be safe for all guests. These limitations might also affect the number of invited films, and this will be clarified in the coming week by the festival. This year’s Berlinale and EFM were probably the last gatherings of that scale held in Europe before the lockdown and other restrictions imposed by the pandemic put a stop to physical film events.
Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian stated: “Festivals and markets are places of encounter and communication. This applies to the public as well as to the industry. We see an important and unique feature of festivals in their lively relationship with the audience. In times of the corona pandemic, it has become even clearer that we still require analogue experience spaces in the cultural realm. We are pleased that festivals with physically present audiences are slowly taking place again around the world, and we wish our colleagues much success.”
The other most notable news, one that has implications far beyond the corona era, is the introduction of gender-neutral performance awards. For the first time ever, the festival’s performance awards won’t be divided into male and female categories: in the Leading Role and Supporting Role categories, awards for Best Actor and Best Actress will be merged into a “Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance” and a “Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance” respectively. This reorganising of the awards follows the introduction of a new Silver Bear Jury Prize, after the latest findings – which will soon be updated – about the position under National Socialism of the first Berlinale director, Alfred Bauer, led to the official suspension of the former Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize.
“We believe that not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for a more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry,” commented the directing duo of the Berlinale.
With the new structure, the International Jury of the Competition will award the following eight prizes:
Golden Bear for Best Film (awarded to the film’s producers)
Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize
Silver Bear for Best Director
Silver Bear Jury Prize
Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance
Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance
Silver Bear for Best Screenplay
Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution
Finally, the section Generation will no longer screen short films in its two competition programmes Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus, but only feature-length films of a running time of at least 60 minutes. The official film registration begins on 1 September, 2020.
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