Refugee Documentary ‘Fuocoammare’ Wins Top Award at Berlin Film Festival

Eight-hour Filipino epic “A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery” wins a special prize from Meryl Streep‘s jury

Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary “Fuocoammare” (“Fire at Sea”) has won the Golden Bear, the top award at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.

Jury president Meryl Streep said the film “combined a political stance with art and nuance” when she awarded the prize to Italian director Rosi’s film, which focuses on a young boy on a Mediterranean island that has long been a haven for refugees fleeing to Europe.

“It is not acceptable that people die crossing the sea to escape from tragedies,” said Rosi when he accepted the award.

The award was announced on Saturday during the Berlin Film Festival awards ceremony in the Berlinale Palast.

The jury also included actors Clive Owen, Lars Eidinger and Alba Rohrwacher, director Malgorzata Szumowksa, photographer Brigitte Lacombe and critic Nick James.

Filipino director Lav Diaz’s eight-hour epic “A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery,” which premiered in an all-day screening that included a one-hour lunch break, won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives.

Danis Tanovic’s “Death in Sarajevo” won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, the festival’s second-place award.

Acting awards went to Trine Dyrholm for the Thomas Vinterberg film “The Commune” and Majd Mastoura for the Tunisian drama “Inhebbek Hedi.”

Mia Hansen-Love won the Best Director prize for “L’Avenir” (“Things to Come”).

The festival opened with the premiere of the Coen brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!,” which screened out of competition and was not eligible for prizes.

Past winners of the Golden Bear include “A Separation,” “The Milk of Sorrow,” “Magnolia,” “The Thin Red Line,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Sense and Sensibility.” Last year, Jafar Panahi’s “Taxi” won the award.

The festival also announced three short film prizes, including one that carried an award of 20,000 Euro that went to “Jin Zhi Xia Mao,” and a first-feature award worth 50,000 Euro to “Inhebbek Hedi.”

List of all Berlin Film Festival awards:

Prizes of the International Jury
Golden Bear for Best Film: “Fuocoammare,” Gianfranco Rosi
Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize: “Death in Sarajevo,” Danis Tanovic
Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives: “A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery,” Lav Diaz
Silver Bear for Best Director: Mia Hansen-Love, “L’Avenir” (“Things to Come”)
Silver Bear for Best Actor: Majd Mastoura, “Inhebbek Hedi”
Silver Bear for Best Actress: Trine Dyrholm, “Kollektivet” (“The Commune”)
Silver Bear for Best Script: Tomas Wasilewski, “United States of Love”
Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution: Mark Lee Ping-Bing, cinematographer, “Chang Jiang Tu”

Prizes of the International Short Film Jury
Golden Bear for Best Short Film: “Balada de un Batraquio”
Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film): “A Man Returned”
Audi Short Film Award: “Jin Zhi Xia Mao”

GWFF Best First Feature Award: “Inhebbek Hedi”

Children’s Jury Awards
Crystal Bear for the Best Film: “Ottaal” (“The Trap”)
Special mention: “Jamais contente” (“Miss Impossible”)
Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film: “El inicio de Fabrizio” (“Fabrizio’s Initiation”) Special Mention Short Film: “Ninnoc”

International Jury of the Generation Kplus
Best Film: “Rara”
Special Mention: “Genc Pehlivanlar” (“Young Wrestlers”)
Special Jury Prize: “Semele”
Special Mention: “Aurelia y Pedro” (“Aurelia and Pedro”)

Panorama Audience Awards
Fiction Film: “Junction 48”
Second place: “Grusse aus Fukushima” (“Fukushima, mon Amour”)
Third place: “Shepherds and Butchers”
Documentary: “Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?”
Second place: “Strike a Pose”
Third place: “Weekends”

Youth Jury in Generation 14plus
Crystal Bear for the Best Film: “Es esmu seit” (“Mellow Mud”)
Special mention: “Las plantas” (“Plants”)
Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film: “Balcony”
Special mention short film: “Kroppen ar en ensam plats” (“The Body Is a Lonely Place”)

International Jury Generation 14plus
Best Film: “Las plantas” (“Plants”)
Special mention: “Zhaleika”
Special prize for the best short film: “O noapte in Tokoriki” (“A Night in Tokoriki”)
Special mention: “Kroppen ar en ensam plats” (“The Body Is a Lonely Place”)