Berlinale Documentary Award

The Berlin International Film Festival has long been committed to the diversity of documentary forms. A distinct award for the best documentary film was launched in 2017. As of 2020, the Berlinale Documentary Award, endowed with 40,000 Euro in prize money, will be sponsored by public broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb).

In total, 21 documentary forms from the sections Competition, Berlinale Special, Encounters, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino are nominated for the Berlinale Documentary Award. The prize money will be shared by the director and the producer of the winning film. The award will be presented during the official Award Ceremony at the Berlinale Palast on February 29, 2020.

A three-member jury will pick the winner:

Gerd Kroske (Germany)

Gerd Kroske completed an apprenticeship as a concrete craftsman before he started his cultural sciences studies in Berlin. During his studies, he also pursued a degree in direction at the Film University in Potsdam-Babelsberg in 1982 and already worked from 1987 to 1991 as a writer and dramaturg at DEFA-Dokumentarfilmstudio. Kroske founded the production company realistfilm in 1996. His most noted documentary films include VOKZAL–Bahnhof Brest (Berlinale Panorama 1994), which won the Grand Prize of the Cinéma du Reél in 1995 in Paris, Der Boxprinz (2000) and the KEHRAUS trilogy (1990-2006). His most recent film SPK Komplex premiered at the Berlinale Forum in 2018.

© N.Suthor

Marie Losier (France / USA)

Marie Losier is a French and American filmmaker and curator. She has made a number of film portraits of avant-garde directors and musicians such as The Kuchar Brothers, Guy Maddin, Richard Foreman and Tony Conrad. Her films won numerous awards and have been shown at prestigious museums, biennials and festivals. She presented several of her films at the Berlinale, including The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye in 2011 for which she won the TEDDY AWARD and three awards of the Independent Juries at Forum. Her new film Felix in Wonderland on the German composer Felix Kubin, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in 2019. Losier recently showed a retrospective at MoMA in New York City and at Jeu de Paume in Paris and will present a solo exhibition at the Gallery Barrault in Paris in 2020.

© ANTOINE BARRAUD

Alanis Obomsawin (Canada)

Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation, is a distinguished Canadian filmmaker, singer, artist and activist. She wrote and directed more than 50 documentaries on First Nation issues for the National Film Board of Canada, including Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993) and Incident at Restigouche (1984). Her latest film, Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger, celebrated its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019. It completes a seven-film cycle devoted to the rights of Indigenous children and peoples, which began in 2011 with her first interviews for The People of the Kattawapiskak River (2012). Obomsawin was named a “Companion of the Order of Canada” and received numerous honours and awards.

© Cosmos Image

The following 21 films are nominated for the Berlinale Documentary Award, sponsored by public broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb):

Competition (1)

Irradiés (Irradiated)
France / Cambodia
by Rithy Panh
World premiere

Berlinale Special (3)

The American Sector
USA
by Courtney Stephens, Pacho Velez
World premiere

Speer Goes to Hollywood
Israel
by Vanessa Lapa
World premiere

Yi Zhi You Dao Hai Shui Bian Lan (Swimming Out Till The Sea Turns Blue)
People’s Republic of China
by Jia Zhang-Ke
World premiere

Encounters (2)

A metamorfose dos pássaros (The Metamorphosis of Birds)
Portugal
by Catarina Vasconcelos
World premiere / Debut film

Gunda
Norway / USA
by Victor Kossakovsky
World premiere

Panorama (6)

Always Amber
Sweden
by Lia Hietala, Hannah Reinikainen
World premiere / Debut film

Aufzeichnungen aus der Unterwelt (Notes from the Underworld)
Austria
by Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel
World premiere

Days of Cannibalism
France / South Africa / Netherlands
by Teboho Edkins
World premiere

Jetzt oder morgen (Running on Empty)
Austria
by Lisa Weber
World premiere

O Reflexo do Lago (Amazon Mirror)
Brazil
by Fernando Segtowick
World premiere / Debut film

Petite fille (Little Girl)
France
by Sébastien Lifshitz
World premiere

Forum (6)

Anunciaron tormenta (A Storm Was Coming)
Spain
by Javier Fernández Vázquez
World premiere

Grève ou crève (Strike or Die)
France
by Jonathan Rescigno
World premiere

La casa dell’amore (The House of Love)
Italy
by Luca Ferri
World premiere

Medium
Argentina
by Edgardo Cozarinsky
World premiere

Responsabilidad empresarial (Corporate Accountability)
Argentina
by Jonathan Perel
World premiere

Victoria
Belgium
by Sofie Benoot, Liesbeth De Ceulaer, Isabelle Tollenaere
World premiere

Generation (1)

Perro
Germany
by Lin Sternal
World premiere / Debut film

Perspektive Deutsches Kino (2)

Automotive
Germany
by Jonas Heldt
World premiere / Debut film

Walchensee Forever
Germany
by Janna Ji Wonders
World premiere / Debut film


Download Guidelines Berlinale Documentary Award, PDF (70 KB)