• Meta

  • « | Home | »

    BERLINALE 2011 — Golden Bear goes to Iran for first time, German films among the winners

    By Martin Blaney | February 21, 2011

    The Berlinale’s Golden Bear went this year for the first time in the festival’s history to Iran with the International Jury’s choice of Asghar Farhadi’s Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (Nader And Simin: A Separation).

    The family drama had been a hot favourite for the top honours from the moment of its international premiere in the Competition halfway through the Berlinale. It was warmly received by both critics and audiences alike as well as selling more than 70 territories for sales company Memento Films International. In addition, the distinction was also seen as having a highly political dimension which would be in keeping with the Berlinale’s tradition.

    Farhadi’s film also picked up both Silver Bears for the male and female acting ensembles who returned to Berlin for the awards ceremony on February 19.

    In his acceptance speech for the Golden Bear, Farhadi said that he had never thought that he would win and added: “I would like to take this opportunity to think of the people in my country, the country where I grew up, where I learned history. This is a great people, a patient people, a good people.” He also took a moment to think of his imprisoned colleague Jafar Panahi who had been prevented from coming to Berlin to serve on the International Jury. ”I really think his problems will soon be solved and I hope he will be standing here next year,” Farhadi declared.

    Apart from winning the prizes of the Ecumenical Jury and the Berliner Morgenpost’s Readers’ Jury, A Separation had previously been nominated in 12 categories at this year’s Fajr International Film Festival in Teheran and took home five awards for Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Cinematographer, Best Sound Recordist and the Audience Prize.

    Moreover, Asghar Farhadi, who previously won the Silver Bear for Best Direction for About Elly at the 2009 Berlinale, will be returning to Berlin later this year as a guest of the Berlin Artists Programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

    There were several prize-winning German films or productions with German involvement across the festival’s various sections.

    Another favourite among the critics, Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr’s Competition film The Turin Horse, which was co-produced by Berlin-based Zero Fiction Film, was awarded the Grand Prix of the Jury and the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, while Paula Markovich’s El Premio, a co-production with Nicole Gerhards’ Niko Film, took home the Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution for two collaborators on this film: El Premio’s cinematographer Wojciech Staron and production designer Barbara Enriquez.

    The two German films in Competition were also given nods by the International Jury headed by Isabella Rossellini: Ulrich Köhler received the Silver Bear for Best Direction for his Africa-set Die Schlafkrankheit (Sleeping Sickness), while Andres Veiel’s first fiction film Wer wenn nicht wir (If Not Us, Who?) picked up the Alfred Bauer Prize which recognises new perspectives in the art of film, as well as the Prize of the Guild of German Arthouse Cinemas.

    Meanwhile, the International Short Film Jury gave a Special Mention to Konrad Mühe’s Fragen an meinen Vater (Questions to my Father) about his late actor father Ulrich Mühe and the Europa Cinemas Label was awarded by a jury of European arthouse cinema-owners to Jan Schomburg’s Über uns das All (Above Us Only Sky) which had premiered in the Panorama section.

    Dirk Lütter’s feature debut Die Ausbildung (The Education) was chosen by a jury of young cineastes from Germany, France and Bosnia presided over by the filmmaker Romuald Karmakar, for this year’s Dialogue en Perspective award given to a film screening in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino, while costume designer Julia Brandes was selected for the Femina Film Prize for her work on Ziska Riemann’s Lollipop Monster, which also premuered in the Perspektive sidebar.

    At the same time, the PanoramaAudienceAward (PPP) in the documentary film category was presented to Britta Wauer’s Im Himmel, Unter der Erde. Der Jüdische Friedhof Weißensee (In Heaven Underground – The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery), and the Siegessäule Readers’ Award to Benjamin Cantu for his debut Stadt Land Fluss (Harvest).

    Finally, young German composer Felix Rösch was the winner of this year’s Score Competition at the Berlinale Talent Campus and has been invited by Dolby for a week-long tour of Los Angeles sound studios.

    A complete list of the prize-winners at the 61st Berlinale can be found at www.berlinale.de

    Topics: German Film, International Reports | Comments Off on BERLINALE 2011 — Golden Bear goes to Iran for first time, German films among the winners

    Comments are closed.