Berlin Film Festival


Berlin Film Festival The Berlin International Film Festival or Berlinale, is a film festival held annually in the city of Berlin, Germany. It is one of the most important film festivals in the world. It has the highest public attendance of any film festival (between 300,000 and 500,000 tickets sold).





Complete list of editions of the Berlin Film Festival (1951 to 2024)




The first edition of the Berlin Film Festival was held on June 6, 1951, as an initiative of the United States Army officer Oscar Martay, who used his influence to obtain funding for the Festival in its early years. The first film screened at the festival was Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca at the Titania Palace. German film director Alfred Bauer was named the festival's first director.


A week later on the East German side, in response to the Berlinale, the Popular Democratic Film Festival was held, which screened only films from the East bloc.


During the first years of the Festival the winners were chosen by public vote. Then, in 1956, the International Federation of Cinematographic Producers Associations (FIAPF) granted the Festival Category “A”, allowing the convocation of an International jury, officially equating the Berlinale with the Cannes, Venice and Locarno festivals, becoming a A large audience and glamorous festival that attracted numerous film stars such as Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Henry Fonda, Jean Marais, Richard Widmark, David Niven, Jean Gabin, Errol Flynn, Giulietta Masina, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Michèle Morgan and Rita Hayworth).


In 1974 a cultural opening of the Eastern Bloc countries was allowed, showing for the first time a Soviet film "With you and without you" by Rodion Nachapetow and in 1975 with "Jacob the liar".


Main Awards

The Golden Bear (German: Goldener Bär) is the highest award given to the best film at the Berlin International Film Festival, It has been awarded since the first edition of the Festival. The sculpture was designed by the German sculptor Renée Sintenis.


Since 1951, the Silver Bear has been awarded in several categories, including the Grand Jury Prize (formerly the Special Jury Prize), which was presented in 1965 as an award for the second best film in the competition. In 1951, the award was given to three films in the categories of musical, drama, and comedy. In 1956, when an international jury was first convened, the Silver Bear awards individual achievements in various categories. Currently, in addition to the Grand Jury Prize, recognition is given to Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Script and Photography, Editing, Music, Costumes and set design ".


Others awards

Crystal Bear: awarded by a children's jury to the best feature film and short film in the Generation section.


Alfred Bauer Award: awarded since 1987 to competition films that opens up new perspectives for cinematographic art. It is also awarded the Honorable Mention.


The Grand Prize of the German Children's Fund: it has been awarded, since 1999, by an international jury of filmmakers and currently consists of 7,500 euros. It is also available as a special prize (2,500 euros) and Honorable Mention.


Best Debut Film Award: awarded since 2006, it consists of 50,000 euros and is donated by Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehhrechten (GWFF). An international jury selects the best debut film from the Competition, Panorama, Forum or Generation sections. Prize money is shared between the director and the producer.


Best Documentary Award (Berlinale Documentary Film Award): it has been awarded since 2017 to documentaries presented in the Competition, Panorama, Forum and Generation sections. The prize consisted of 50,000 euros and was donated by the watchmaker Glashütte. Since the company's retirement as a sponsor of the Berlinale, the current prize is 40,000 euros, donated by radio station RBB. Prize money is shared by the director and producer of the award-winning film.


Festival sections


The competition is the central section of the Film Festival, in which the Golden Bear and Silver Bear awards are presented. Films produced within the last 12 months before the start of the festival and which have not yet been released outside their countries of origin participate in this section.


In this section, approximately 20 films compete each year. The nominations for these films are made by the Festival Management. The winners are chosen by an international jury. The current venues for this section are the Berlinale Palast at Potsdamer Platz, the Kino International cinemas, CinemaxX and the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. Several important figures of international cinema have been presidents of the jury such as Tilda Swinton, Wong Kar-Wai, Meryl Streep, Darren Aronofsky, among others.



The International New Cinema Forum section has been held since 1971, as an initiative of the Friends of the German Cinematheque founded by Gero Gandert. This section serves as a platform for unusual films and for introducing new directors.


Another objective of the forum is the exhibition of non-European films, such as independent films from the United States, Latin America and independent cinema from Asia.



The retrospective section on the history of cinema has been running since 1951 and has been organized since 1977 by the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek (Filmmuseum Berlin - Deutsche Kinemathek).



The Panorama section belongs to the official Berlinale program and has been made since 1986. All films are shown as a world or European premiere. The main program offers around 18 feature films a year, and many other productions make up the supporting program.


The subsections are the Documentaries, Panorama Special and Panorama Short Films series.



This section of the Festival has been held since 1978 and is dedicated especially to children and adolescents, showing a current selection of international feature films and short films. The section has become one of the most important cultural and market platforms in the world. In 2004 the 14plus youth film contest was held. The current competitions are called Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus.


In the "Generation Kplus" contest, they choose a feature film and a short film, through an eleven-member children's jury, awarding the prize to the "Transparent Bear". An international jury of film experts also awards the German Children's Fund Awards.


In the Generation 14plus competition, the Crystal Bear for Best Feature Film is awarded by a jury of seven young people.


Berlinale Special


Berlinale Special is a new section created since 2004 in the official program, in which current works of the main filmmakers are shown, as well as repetitions of classic works from the history of cinema and productions for the focuses of the festival or the current issues.


German cinema perspective

The Perspektive Deutsches Kino section is dedicated to current German film production and complements the German Cinema series; Around a dozen experimental games, documentaries and films are on display, selected from around 250 applications.


Berlinale Shorts

It is a section created in 2006, to present only short films. Every year approximately 30 short films compete in this section.


Berlinale Special Series

In 2015, the Berlinale became the first Type A festival in the world to include a television series on the official program. Previously, series formats were released in 2010.


Other events

Berlinale talents.

German series (German cinema).

Culinary cinema.

Berlinale Keynotes.


European film market

Simultaneously with the Festival, the European Film Market (EFM) film fair is held, which brings together distributors, film buyers, producers, financiers and co-production agents. Lectures and workshops for young filmmakers are also held in association with the Festival.


The EFM is one of the three most important meetings of the film industry, in addition to the Marché du Film in Cannes and the American Film Market.



Berlin Film Festival statistics

Below we present updated reports and statistics from the Berlin Film Festival, taking into account the editions made from the year 1951 to 2024.


Which director has won the most Silver Bear Awards for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival?

The directors who have won the most times at the Berlin Film Festival for Best Director between 1951 and 2024 are: Mario Monicelli (3 awards), Richard Linklater (2 awards) and Carlos Saura (2 awards).


Director Awards  
Mario Monicelli Mario Monicelli 3
Richard Linklater Richard Linklater 2
Carlos Saura Carlos Saura 2
Satyajit Ray Satyajit Ray 2
Roman Polanski Roman Polanski 1
Asghar Farhadi Asghar Farhadi 1
Norman Jewison Norman Jewison 1
Joseph Cedar Joseph Cedar 1
Ricky Tognazzi Ricky Tognazzi 1
Wes Anderson Wes Anderson 1


Which actor has won the most the Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival?

The actors who have won the Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival the most times between 1951 and 2024 are: Denzel Washington (2 awards), Fernando Fernán Gómez (2 awards) and Jean Gabin (2 awards).


Actor Awards  
Denzel Washington Denzel Washington 2
Fernando Fernán Gómez Fernando Fernán Gómez 2
Jean Gabin Jean Gabin 2
Sidney Poitier Sidney Poitier 2
Sebastian Stan Sebastian Stan 1
Sam Rockwell Sam Rockwell 1
Leonardo DiCaprio Leonardo DiCaprio 1
Sean Penn Sean Penn 1
Emily Watson Emily Watson 1
Iain Glen Iain Glen 1


Which actress has won the most the Silver Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival?

The actresses who have won the Silver Bear award the most times at the Berlin Film Festival between 1951 and 2024 are: Shirley MacLaine (2 awards), Sachiko Hidari (2 awards) and Sebastian Stan (1 awards).


Actress Awards  
Shirley MacLaine Shirley MacLaine 2
Sachiko Hidari Sachiko Hidari 2
Sebastian Stan Sebastian Stan 1
Birgit Minichmayr Birgit Minichmayr 1
Emily Watson Emily Watson 1
Julianne Moore Julianne Moore 1
Sareh Bayat Sareh Bayat 1
Holly Hunter Holly Hunter 1
Sally Hawkins Sally Hawkins 1
Charlotte Rampling Charlotte Rampling 1


Which countries have won the most Golden Bear awards for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival?


Country Awards  
United States 14
France 10
Italy 7
United Kingdom 5
Spain 5
West Germany (BRD) 4
Romania 3
Iran 3
China 3
Sweden 3