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The 2009 Berlinale Awards revealed

The jury declares that this year’s competition presents a broad range of films whose central aim consists in exploring ways to further the interpretation and understanding of important topics of our time.
Therefore the jury has decided to award prizes to those efforts which achieve a balance between the political statement and the poetic form.

Silver Bear - Best Actor 

Sotigui Kouyate in London River by Rachid Bouchareb

Silver Bear - Outstanding Artistic Contribution 

We filmmakers, sometimes we forget the power of sound to create atmospheres and more often we use it in a predictable way. There’s a tremendous originality and risk in the experimental and original way this film builds up its somber narration around its powerful sound design.
We give the Silver Bear for an outstanding artistic contribution to
Gábor Erdély and Tamás Székely
for the Sound-Design of Katalin Varga by Peter Strickland

Silver Bear - Best Script 

The role of a film-script when telling human stories starts with the decision of whose eyes to look through in the first place.
For a script that takes us into a particular experience – one all too often ignored and obscured from us - towards the encouragement of producers, distributors and audiences across the world to keep looking for a wider horizon and to honour the possibility that cinema holds for us to tell the stories that no other medium may be free enough to touch,
the jury awards the Silver Bear for Best Script to

Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon for The Messenger by Oren Moverman

Alfred Bauer Prize 

The jury has unanimously this year decided to give the Alfred Bauer Prize to two films and two directors. One of these directors is an old master with 60 years of experience in film-making. But he is still young and courageous in mind when developing new ways of film-making. He does not even hesitate to involve himself in his movie.
The other director is a young man, here in Berlin with his first feature film, but imbued with the same passion to use cinema to do what cinema can do best: to tell important stories about our time and the human condition.
The jury awards the Alfred Bauer Prize to

Gigante by Adrián Biniez

ex aequo

Tatarak (Sweet Rush) by Andrzej Wajda

The International Jury of the Berlinale 2009 

(photo: Sandro Kopp)
Jury President and Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton is one of her generation’s most sought-after performers. She gave her film debut in Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio which won a Silver Bear at the 1986 Berlinale. Since her international breakthrough with Orlando she has alternated with ease between European arthouse films and big Hollywood productions. Until Jarman’s death she appeared in all of his films. Her film portrait of him was shown in the Panorama at the 2008 Berlinale. In 2008 she received an Academy Award for best supporting actress in the thriller Michael Clayton.
(photo: Daniel Riera Compte)
The award-winning Spanish writer and director Isabel Coixet has been a guest with her films at numerous international festivals, including four times at the Berlinale: 1995 in the Panorama with Things I Never Told You, 2003 in the Competition with My Life Without Me, 2007 in the Panorama with the compilation documentary Invisibles and 2008 with the moving bestseller interpretation Elegy. Isabel Coixet is currently realizing the romantic thriller Map Of The Sounds Of Tokyo.
Gaston Kaboré is one of the most important people in his country’s film scene. Following his studies in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Paris his feature film Wend Kuuni marked a breakthrough for African cinema in 1982. He combines the skills of screenwriter, director and producer and has realized numerous documentary films. In 1997 he received the Pan-African Film Festival (FESPACO) Award for his historical drama Buud Yam. In 2005 he founded the Imagine Film School in Ouagadougou which trains new filmmakers in Burkina Faso.
(photo: Lina Bergmann)
The award-winning, bestselling author Henning Mankell is especially famous for his Inspector Wallander mysteries which have been published in 38 languages. The highly productive author and theatre director focuses on political and social themes, but he is also acclaimed as a writer of children’s books and plays. Mankell lives alternately in Sweden and Mosambique where he works as director of the “Teatro Avenida”.
(Photo: Hörnemann)
Christoph Schlingensief, a leading personality in Germany’s cultural scene, is renowned as a film, theatre and opera director, radio play writer and artist. His works repeatedly challenge the frontier between politics and art and provoke public debate. As a filmmaker he first became known between 1989 and 1992 with what is known as his German Trilogy (including The German Chainsaw Massacre). His opera productions include “Parsifal” (Bayreuth 2004), „The Flying Dutchman“ (Manaus 2007), „Jeanne d’Arc“ (Berlin 2008) and „Eine Kirche der Angst vor dem Fremden in mir“ (Duisburg 2008).
Hong-Kong-born director Wayne Wang has lived and worked in the USA since his youth. In many of his films he confronts American society with the world of Chinese immigrants, as in the bestseller adaptation The Joy Luck Club (1993). His arthouse film Smoke (Silver Bear at the Berlinale 1995) brought him major success in Europe as well. His latest film A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers received several festival awards.
(Photo: Platon)
As a keen film aficionado, food activist, author and star chef Alice Waters named her legendary restaurant in Berkeley Chez Panisse after one of Marcel Pagnol’s film characters. Alice Waters, vice president of Slow Food International, works in the renowned Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley and for various film festivals. She also has collaborated on projects such as the documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. The multiple award-winning gastronomy expert recently joined the California Hall of Fame.
The International Jury considers only films in the Competition section and awards the festival's main prizes:
  • the Golden Bear for the best film
  • the Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear)
  • the award for the best director (Silver Bear)
  • the award for the best actress (Silver Bear)
  • the award for the best actor (Silver Bear)
  • the award for the best script (Silver Bear)
  • the award for an outstanding artistic contribution in the categories camera, editing, score, costumes or set design (Silver Bear)
  • The Alfred Bauer Prize – in memory of the festival’s founder – for a feature film that breadens the horizons of the art of filmmaking.
The Bears inspired the Berlinale logo and were designed by the Berlin sculptor Renée Sintenis (1888-1965). They have been produced by the Noack Foundry in Berlin since the beginnings of the Berlinale. The bear is also the official symbol of the city of Berlin.

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