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2024 Berlin Film Festival Winners: Mati Diop’s “Dahomey” Wins The Golden Bear (Full List)

2024 Berlin International Film Festival Winners

After two weeks of new cinema, the Berlin International Film Festival came to a close with its annual awards ceremony. This year’s festival created buzz with many exciting new titles, among them being Tim Mielants’ opener Small Things Like These starring Oscar contender Cillian Murphy, Alonso Ruizpalacios’ La Cocina with Rooney Mara, “Goodnight Mommy” filmmakers Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s newest nightmare The Devil’s Bath, “Gunda” director Viktor Kossakovsky’s new documentary Architection, and Olivier Assayas’ Suspended Time.

But the film that came out on top at the awards ceremony was Mati Diop’s closing documentary Dahomey, taking home the prestigious Golden Bear for Best Film. It follows the debate regarding 26 royal treasures of the Kingdom of Dahomey that were taken by French colonial troops in the late 19th century, only for them to be returned by Paris to their country of origin. MUBI recently acquired it for worldwide distribution, and we can assume they will plan a release for it sometime this year.

Other big winners included Hong Sangsoo who was awarded the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize for his Isabelle Huppert-starring A Traveler’s Needs. Bruno Dumont’s sci-fi film The Empire received the Silver Bear Jury Prize while Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias won Best Director for his hippopotamus drama Pepe. As for the acting awards, Sebastian Stan nabbed Best Leading Performance for his role in Aaron Schimberg’s A Different Man while Emily Watson was awarded Best Supporting Performance for her chilling role in Small Things Like These.

The jury for the Main Competition section was led by Lupita Nyong’o and included Brady Corbet, Ann Hui, Christian Petzold, Albert Serra, Jasmine Trinca, and Oksana Zabuzhko.

See the full list of winners below:

Main Competition

Golden Bear: Dahomey, Mati Diop

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize: A Traveler’s Needs, Hong Sangsoo

Silver Bear Jury Prize: The Empire, Bruno Dumont

Silver Bear for Best Director: Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias, Pepe

Silver Bear for Best Lead Performance: Sebastian Stan, A Different Man 

Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance: Emily Watson, Small Things Like These

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay: Dying, Matthias Glasner

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution: The Devil’s Bath, Martin Gschlacht, cinematography

Encounters winners:

Best Film: Direct Action, Guillaume Cailleau and Ben Russell

Best Director: Cidade; Campo, Juliana Rojas

Special Jury Award: The Great Yawn of History, Aliyar Rasti; Some Rain Must Fall, Qiu Yang

Documentary winners:

Best Documentary: No Other Land, Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, Yuval Abraham, Rachel Szor

Documentary Special Mention: Direct Action, Guillaume Cailleau and Ben Russell

Berlinale Shorts winners:

Golden Bear: An Odd Turn, Francisco Lezama

Silver Bear: Remains of the Hot Day, Wenqian Zhang

Special Mention: That’s All From Me, Eva Könnemann

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M.J. O'Toole began writing for HtN in early 2021 during the Sundance Film Festival. An NYC native and lifelong cinephile, his favorite films include Chungking Express, The Three Colors Trilogy, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Lovers on the Bridge, and Midnight Cowboy. He is the Digital Marketing Manager for the agency 3rd Impression - working alongside Editor-at-large Matt Delman - that specializes in digital marketing for independent film. He holds a BA from Adelphi University and a Masters in Digital Photography from the School of Visual Arts. You can check out his portrait and street photography on Instagram.

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