Watch maker Glashütte Original is funding the award
The Berlin Film Festival is adding a major prize for documentary: € 50,000 to the best nonfiction film of the Berlinale.
The new award, which will be presented for the first time in 2017, is being funded by the German watch manufacturer Glashütte Original.
"The award is an important signal for the field of documentary film, and at the same time a sign of respect and appreciation for the filmmakers who often have to realize their projects at great personal risk,” Festival Director Dieter Kosslick said in a press release from the Berlinale.
The prize will be split evenly between the winning film's director and producer. If 2016 is any guide, about 18 films will be eligible for the award, drawn from variety of festival sections including Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation, Berlinale Special, Perspective Deutsches Kino and the Culinary Cinema special series. A three-person jury will do the voting.
"For many years now, the Berlin International Film Festival has been committed to documentary film and diverse documentary forms," the Berlinale stated in its press release. "This has manifested itself not only in the programmes of the different sections, initiatives and special series but also in the European Film Market (EFM). In 2016 a total of 77 documentary films and documentary forms were screened. In addition, the discourse has increasingly included the diverse aspects of documentary film – at workshops, on panels and in presentations."
Earlier this year the festival's top award, the Golden Bear, went to the documentary Fuocoammare ["Fire at Sea"] by director Gianfranco Rosi.
The 67th Berlinale is scheduled to run from February 9-19, 2017.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.