2021 Berlinale to take place in theatres

Acting awards to be gender-neutral. And a prize honouring the problematic first festival head Alfred Bauer has been cancelled for good.

The Berlinale bosses pose on the red carpet in gender-typical eveningwear. Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.
The Berlinale bosses pose on the red carpet in gender-typical eveningwear. Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.

Berlin-The Berlin International Film Festival in February 2021 won't just be a virtual affair and will take place in actual cinemas, festival managers Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian announced on Monday.

“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,” the two festival bosses said in a statement.

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

A hybrid model is planned for the European Film Market (EFM), an industry meet-up that runs parallel to the Berlinale. Adjustments in the festival structure, the film programming and the total number of invited films will be announced by the festival management in coming weeks.

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They’ve already decided that the Generation section in the Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus 2021 competitions will only show features with a running time of at least 60 minutes and no short films. Online submissions for the 2021 festival are being accepted from 1 September 2020.

Gender-neutral acting awards; Alfred Bauer cancelled

At the Berlinale 2021, the awards for the best actors will not take gender into account for the first time.  The Best Actor and Best Actress awards will be replaced by the “Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance” and the “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,” the management duo added. Another new addition is the "Silver Bear Award of the Jury”.

The Alfred Bauer Award, which was suspended in 2020 due to new revelations about the role of the first Berlinale director, Alfred Bauer, in Nazi Germany, has been cancelled for good. The results of historical research on Alfred Bauer by historians at the Munich Institute for Contemporary History will be made public in late summer.