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Berlin Film Festival To Make Acting Awards Gender-Neutral; Planning Physical Fest & Hybrid EFM

The Berlin International Film Festival has opted to make its acting awards gender-neutral, meaning the prizes for Best Actor and Best Actress will be condensed into a Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance. and the supporting awards will become a Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance.

“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 director duo of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.

The festival has also confirmed that the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, which was suspended this year after Nazi allegations were made against its namesake, the first Berlinale director, will be named the Silver Bear Jury Prize on an ongoing basis. The fest added that a historical evaluation into Bauer will be published later this summer.

From 2021, the Berlinale’s international jury will award the following 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

For next year, the festival said it was pressing on with plans to stage a physical festival. It is, however, planning the European Film Market (EFM) as a hybrid model of online and offline activities, with an in-person market still held at the MGB as per normal. The org said it will changes plans in accordance with the then-applicable rules and regulations regarding coronavirus. This year’s EFM will be under new stewardship after Matthijs Wouter Knol left to run the European Film Academy.

Elsewhere, the Generation section will only show feature-length films with a running time of at least 60 minutes – and no short films – in its two competition programs Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus from next year.

“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,” said the directors. “We are pleased that festivals with physically present audiences are slowly taking place again around the world, and we wish our colleagues much success.”

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