70th Berlin Film Festival draws to a close…

Farzad Pak, Baran Rasoulof, Kaveh Farnam. The leading actress and daughter of the director (middle) with the film's producers and the trophy for the Golden Bear for Best Film. Image Source: www.berlinale.de

The 70th Berlin Film Festival – one of the largest public film festivals in the world – was held from 20th February to 1st March 2020. It was also the first edition of the festival headed by the director duo Mariette Rissenbeek (Executive Director) and Carlo Chatrian (Artistic Director).

The Golden Bear, which is the top award at the festival, was awarded to Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof. He was awarded this honour for his film ‘There is No Evil,’ a drama about capital punishment and its impact on the society. Unfortunately, Rasoulof is currently under a travel ban on charges pertaining to his earlier films and could not collect his award in person. In 2017, he was banned from directing and produced this award-winning movie in secret.

His daughter, Baran – who also stars in the movie – collected the award on his behalf while Rasoulof addressed a news conference through a video call.

Rasoulof, earlier, released a statement expressing his sorrow at missing the premiere of “There Is No Evil.” He said, “I am sorry that I will not be able to come to Berlin to watch the film alongside the audience; however, the right to choose between being present or absent at the festival is simply not mine. Imposing such restrictions very clearly exposes the intolerant and despotic nature of the Iranian government.”

Jeremy Irons headed the seven-member jury at the festival and said that the movie showed “the web an authoritarian regime weaves among ordinary people, drawing them towards inhumanity”.

The Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize was awarded to American director Eliza Hittman for her movie ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always,’ a drama about teen pregnancy and abortion in the United States.

Here is the entire list of award winners.

What is the Berlin Film Festival?

The Berlin Film Festival, also called the Berlinale, is one of the biggest film festivals in the world. It is traditionally held each year in February in Berlin, Germany. Created in 1951, it has “developed into a place of intercultural exchange and a platform for the critical cinematic exploration of social issues.”

Each year, around 400 films of varied genres, lengths, and formats are presented at the Berlinale.

A big congratulations to all the winners from Team Newsum! We hope to see many such inspiring movies this year…

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