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Berlin Film Festival

Berlin Film Festival

In 1952, one of the tensest eras between east and west, The Berlin International Film Festival (also called Berlinale) was created with the aim of regaining the importance that German cinema enjoyed on the 20s. The festival concedes the Golden Bear as its highest award.

It was Alfred Hitchcock the privileged to have the honour of having the first ever screened movie in the festival with his film Rebecca (1940).



The communism disputes

Despite the beginnings weren’t welcoming for soviet films due the high censorship the governments put under the filmmakers of the USSR countries, when the festival passed to private companies in the mid 60s, all restrictions were eliminated and films from Eastern Europe countries were allowed to take part on the Berlinale.

During the Cold War era, the festival was once again the perfect scenario for controversy. The most publicized and famous happened in 1970 when Michael Verhoeven’s O.K. caused the suspension of the festival because the jury was bound to award the Golden Bear to the film, a decision were the organizers were in total disagreement with as the film tells the story of a group of American soldiers in Vietnam who raped and murdered a local girl.

In recent years, two Latin American films have been awarded with the Golden Bear: the Brazilian Elite Squad (2007) by José Padilha and the Peruvian The Milk of Sorrow (2009), directed by Claudia Llosa, whose uncle is the prominent writer and Nobel Prize in Literature winner Mario Vargas Llosa.

The awards

In year basis, Berlinale juries concede The Golden Bears and Silver Bears as the highest awards given by the festival, and as in most of the important European festivals, the meaning of the bears is a tribute to the city’s coat of arms and flag.

The Golden Bear is awarded to the Best Feature Film and the Silver Bear to the Best Director and Best Actor.

Parallel events

Besides the festival and its competitions, the Berlinale promotes films selling and distribution in the European Film Market, one of the largest film markets in the world and which serves to producers, buyers, and agents to seal future production or distribution agreements.

In addition, The Berlinale Campus Talent (a winter film school) also joined the festival since 2003 to give lectures and seminars with leading figures of world cinema such as Ridley Scott, Raoul Peck, Tom Tykwer, Mike Leigh, among others.

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