Eventful Berlinale

Ten facts about the film festival in Germany and its fascinating history.

72th anniversary of the Berlinale bear hunt
72th anniversary of the Berlinale bear hunt dpa/pa

The bear was always there, right from the beginning. So the Berlinale trophy would certainly have many a tale to tell. After all, 2022 marks the 72th anniversary of the Berlin International Film Festival. äuft das Filmfestival deutschland.de has gathered ten fascinating facts. For instance, did you know that …

…the Berlinale is the world’s biggest film festival for the public?

…the festival was founded in 1951 by a member of the US military government? At that time, Oscar Martay was the film officer who monitored and promoted the Berlin film industry.

…in the early years the public decided who would be the prize winners? The first International Jury was introduced in 1956.

…the Berlinale bear statue was designed by the German sculptress Renée Sintenis? She created the original statue in 1932.

…the Noack art foundry in Berlin-Charlottenburg has manufactured the Berlinale bear awards from the very first one?

…nowadays there are only Golden and Silver Bear awards? The Bronze Bears only existed in the early years of the festival.

…the Berlinale was once cancelled midstream? In 1970 the jury was so divided over the Vietnam War film o.k. by Michael Verhoeven that the members resigned.

…during the 1986 Berlinale the prizes had to be awarded under police protection? The jury had previously received death threats for choosing Stammheim as the best film. It focuses on the trial of leading members of the Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Group) and their deaths in Stuttgart-Stammheim prison.

…one seat on the jury remained empty at the 2011 Berlinale? As a critic of the Iranian regime the filmmaker Jafar Panahi had been sentenced to six years in prison and a 20-year professional work ban. In 2015 he managed to smuggle his film Taxi to Germany. It won the Golden Bear.

…the popular German crime format Tatort has also centred on the Berlinale? In an episode from 2018, Meret Becker and Marc Waschke carried out murder investigations at the film festival.


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