The organisers of the Berlin International Film Festival say they will stop awarding separate acting awards to women and men from next year.
Berlinale organisers said on Monday that the performance awards will be defined in a gender-neutral way at next year's festival, for which a physical event is planned.
The festival awards a Golden Bear for the best film and a series of Silver Bears, which until this year included best actor and best actress honours. Organisers confirmed those prizes will be replaced with a Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance and a Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance.
Highlights from the 2020 festival:
“Not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry,” co-heads of the festival, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, said in a statement.
At the same time, the Alfred Bauer Prize, which is named after the festival's founding director, will be permanently retired. The prize was suspended this year due to revelations about Bauer's role in the Nazi movie-making bureaucracy.
Commenting on the decision to hold a physical event next year, despite uncertainties due to the coronavirus pandemic, the two directors stressed the need for a “lively relationship with the audience.”
"In times of the corona pandemic, it has become even clearer that we still require analogue experience spaces in the cultural realm,” they said, noting that other festivals have also resumed holding physical rather than virtual events.
The 2021 iteration is scheduled to take place between Thursday, February 11 and Sunday, February 21. This year's festival was one of the last major events that took place before the coronavirus pandemic largely shut down public life in Germany.