Carla Simon's ALCARRAS wins Berlin film festival's top award while women get 67% of the prizes in the official competition.
Simon is the first Spanish female filmmaker winning in a top festival such as the Berlinale. Her sophomore film is as exquisite as her debut, the autobiographic Summer 1993 which scooped the Best First Film and won Generation K Plus in 2017's Berlinale. Only five years later, Simon climbs to the film Olympus on the same cycle as the Academy winner Chloé Zhao, Palme d'Or winner Julia Ducournau, Venice Golden Shell winner Audrey Diwan and San Sebastian Golden Shell's winner Alina Grigore.
With just seven of the eighteen films in the official competition helmed by female directors, it's meritable that women directors have won 67% of the accolades. Carlo Chatrain's team managed to find more films directed by women than in the 2021's edition.
The drama depicts the life of a family of Catalan peach farmers facing their last harvest season when the owner of their land decides to replace the fruit trees with solar panels, threatening their livelihood.
Simon took a long time in the casting process, by picking up the candidates in summer festive events to recruit real farmers. Their inprint in the film is unique.
The fim was produced by Avalon P.C., Elastica Films, Vilaüt Films and Alcarràs Film AIE, in coproduction with Kino Produzioni (Italy). Producer María Zamora followed an intelligent strategy to get multiple supports in development labs and awards from Torino FilmLab (2018), where the project won CNC development award, Festival de Cannes Cinéfondation de Cannes (2018), where Simon received script assessment and finally the 2019 Berlinale Co-producción Market Development Award from Eurimages. And then the financing was completed with the Spanish ICAA, Catalan ICEC, MEDIA, regional funds and TVE, TV3 y Movistar+
Isabelle Huppert received the Honorary Golden Bear
The French actress was the recipient of the festival’s honorary prize and picked it up her prize via video link after having tested positive for Covid.
List of the Awards at the Main Competition
The international jury was presided over by M. Night Shyamalan who was joined on the panel by Karim Aïnouz, Anne Zohra Berrached, Saïd Ben Saïd, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and Connie Nielsen decided the following list of accolades.
Claire Denis, won the Silver Bear for Best Director for Fire (or Both Sides of the Blade).
The Gender-neutral acting awards, introduced ahead of last year’s festival, went to two women as well. German actress Meltem Kaptan winning the Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance for Andreas Dresen's Rabiye Kurnaz vs George W and the Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance went to Indonesian Laura Basuki for Before, Now & Then
Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize went to The Novelist’s Film (South Korea), directed by Hong Sang-soo
Silver Bear Jury Prize went to Robe of Gems (Mexico), directed by Natalia Lopez Gallardo
German writer Laila Stieler won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay for Rabiye Kurnaz vs George W. Bush By Andreas Dresen.
Other winners in the International Competition included Rithy Panh, who picked up the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution for his stop-motion animation Everything Will Be Ok while Michael Koch’s A Piece of Sky was acknowledged with a special mention.
Sidebar Sections Awards
Prizes of the Encounters jury
Award for Best Film went to Mutzenbacher By Ruth Beckermann
Award for Best Director to Cyril Schaublin for Unrest
Special Jury Award went to See You Friday, Robinson by Iranian filmmaker, Mitra Farahani
GWFF Best First Feature Award to Sonne by Iraqi Kurdwin Ayub produced by Ulrich Seidl
Berlinale Documentary Award went to Myanmar Diaries By The Myanmar Film Collective
Prizes of the International Short Film Jury
Golden Bear Best Short Film to Trap By Anastasia Veber
Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) Sunday Morning By Bruno Ribiero
Grand Prix to Kind Hearts by Olivia Rochette and Gerard-Jan Claes
Generation 14plus Short Film went to Au revoir Jérôme ! by Adam Sillard, Gabrielle Selnet and Chloé Farr
Generation Kplus Grand Prix to An Cailín Ciúin by Colm Bairéad
Generation Kplus Short Film Gavazn by Hadi Babaeifar