GWFF Best First Feature Award

Since 2006, when it introduced the GWFF Best First Feature Award, the Berlinale has been even more committed to supporting the next generation of filmmakers. The award is endowed with 50,000 Euros, donated by the GWFF (Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten), a society dedicated to safeguarding film and television rights. The prize money is to be split between the producer and the director of the winning film. Additionally, the director will be awarded with a high-quality viewfinder as both a useful instrument and memorable trophy. In total, 13 directorial feature film debuts from the sections Encounters, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino were nominated for the GWFF Best First Feature Award.

The award was presented during the official Award Ceremony at the Freiluftkino Museumsinsel on June 13.

Award Winner 2021

Dasha Nekrasova

The Scary of Sixty-First
by Dasha Nekrasova
produced by Adam Mitchell, Mark Rapaport

Jury statement:
An audacious take on genre cinema that confronts contemporary issues such as global power structures, sexual abuse, conspiracy theories and the dark corners of the internet in a wildly twisted, witty and subversive manner. Perhaps in recognition that polite decorum may no longer be an effective tactic in sparking discourse around these burning issues.

Special Mention

Mantagheye payani (District Terminal)
by Bardia Yadegari, Ehsan Mirhosseini
produced by Farzad Pak, Amin Mirhosseini

Jury statement:
A world of blurry presence and future, framed by drug addiction and physical decay. A situation populated by ancestors, threatened by an avalanche of ruinous waste. Sanity's chance is sought in poetry and analytical collages of historical and political import.

The 2021 Jury

Carmen Gray (New Zealand / United Kingdom)

Carmen Gray is a journalist, critic and film programmer. She has penned articles on the intersection of the arts and politics in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus for “The New York Times”, and her writing on film and culture has appeared in “The Guardian”, “The Observer”, “Sight & Sound”, “Criterion”, “Screen International”, “Filmmaker Magazine”, and many more. She was also the film editor of “Dazed & Confused” magazine. Furthermore, she is on the selection committee of the Winterthur International Short Film Festival in Switzerland and is a programme advisor for Open City Docs in London. Gray also advises as a film industry consultant and has served on more than 50 film festival juries, and has guest-programmed festival screenings in Russia and Portugal.

© Amy Gwatkin

Azu Nwagbogu (Nigeria)

Curator Azu Nwagbogu is the founder and director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), a non-profit organisation based in Lagos, Nigeria. Nwagbogu was appointed as the Interim Director/ Head Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in South Africa from June 2018 to August 2019. Nwagbogu also serves as founder and director of LagosPhoto Festival, an annual international arts festival of photography held in Lagos. He is the publisher of Art Base Africa, a virtual space to discover and learn about contemporary art from Africa and its diasporas. Nwagbogu is a curator with a special interest in future museology and a familiar face on the international arts festival circuit.

Wieland Speck (Germany)

Wieland Speck was the director of the Berlinale’s Panorama section from 1992–2017, and his curating work made a major impact on Panorama’s structure as a platform for distinctive independent film. He launched the TEDDY AWARD in 1987, the first film award for queer cinema worldwide. Starting in the 1970s, Speck was active in several fields of film and video in addition to working as an author and publisher. He later sat on numerous international juries, and is now a programming consultant for various international film festivals and institutions, as well as an instructor at Freie Universität Berlin, the German Film and Television Academy Berlin, Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, and Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.

© Ali Gandschi / Berlinale 2015

The following 13 films were nominated for the GWFF Best First Feature Award:

Competition (2)

Nebenan (Next Door)
Germany
by Daniel Brühl
with Daniel Brühl, Peter Kurth, Rike Eckermann

Természetes fény (Natural Light)
Hungary / Latvia / France / Germany
by Dénes Nagy
with Ferenc Szabó, Tamás Garbacz, László Bajkó

Encounters (5)

Azor
Switzerland / France / Argentina
by Andreas Fontana
with Fabrizio Rongione, Stéphanie Cléau, Carmen Iriondo

Mantagheye payani (District Terminal)
Iran / Germany
by Bardia Yadegari, Ehsan Mirhosseini
with Bardia Yadegari, Farideh Azadi, Ali Hemmati

Moon, 66 Questions
Greece, France
by Jacqueline Lentzou
with Sofia Kokkali, Lazaros Georgakopoulos

The Scary of Sixty-First
USA
by Dasha Nekrasova
with Betsey Brown, Madeline Quinn, Dasha Nekrasova

Vị (Taste)
Vietnam / Singapore / France / Thailand / Germany / Taiwan
by Lê Bảo with Olegunleko Ezekiel Gbenga, Thi Minh Nga Khuong, Thi Dung Le

Panorama (2)

Le monde après nous (The World After Us)
France
by Louda Ben Salah-Cazanas
with Aurélien Gabrielli, Louise Chevillotte, Saadia Bentaïeb, Jacques Nolot

Night Raiders
Canada / New Zealand
by Danis Goulet
with Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart, Alex Tarrant, Amanda Plummer

Forum (1)

Ste. Anne
Canada
by Rhayne Vermette
with Isabelle d’Eschambault, Jack Theis, Valerie Marion

Generation (2)

Una escuela en Cerro Hueso (A School in Cerro Hueso)
Argentina
by Betania Cappato
with Mara Bestelli, Pablo Seijo, Clementina Folmer, Irene Zequin

Stop-Zemlia
Ukraine
by Kateryna Gornostai
with Maria Fedorchenko, Arseniy Markov, Yana Isaienko, Oleksandr Ivanov

Perspektive Deutsches Kino (1)

Wood and Water
Germany / France
by Jonas Bak
with Anke Bak, Ricky Yeung, Alexandra Batten, Patrick Lo, Theresa Bak