Fatih Akin's "Head On" Wins Top Prize at 2004 Berlinale
by Eugene Hernandez
German-Turkish director Fatih Akin's "Gegen Die Wand" (Head On) won the Golden Bear, the top prize at the 54th Berlinale. Jury president Frances McDormand announced the international jury awards during an afternoon press conference here in Berlin on Saturday. Jurors McDormand, Maji-da Abdi from Ethiopia, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi from Italy, Samira Makhmalbaf from Iran, Peter Rommel from Germany, Gabriele Salvatores from Italy and Dan Talbot from the United States honored seven competition films with prizes this year.
Thirty-year-old filmmaker Akin, who was born to Turkish parents in Hamburg, told the press on Saturday that he considers the film an international movie, being that it comes from someone with a dual cultural background. The film explores the world of second-generation Turkish immigrants in Germany and stars Birol Unel and Sibel Kekilli. During the late afternoon session with the media Akin added that he has established a small production company and will soon embark on his next movie, entitled "Soul Kitchen," in Hamburg. "Head On" also won the FIPRESCI award from a jury of nine international film critics.
The Silver Bear jury award for second prize went to Daniel Burman's "El Abrazo Partido" (Lost Embrace). The film's star Daniel Hendler won the festival's Silver Bear acting award. The Silver Bear prize for best actress was awarded to two women: Catalina Sandino Moreno for her starring role in "Maria Full of Grace" and Charlize Theron for her turn in "Monster." Joshua Marston's "Maria Full of Grace" was also awarded the Alfred Bauer Prize for "a work of particular innovation" in memory of the Berlinale founder.
Kim Ki-Duk won the Silver Bear for best director for his work on "Samaria" (Samaritan Girl), while the jury gave a Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution to the ensemble from "Om Jag Vander Mig Om" (Daybreak) directed by Bjorn Runge. "Daybreak" also won the jury's Blue Angel Award for best European film, which includes a 25,000 Euro prize. Banda Osiris won the Silver Bear for best film music for "Primo Amore" (First Love).
In the festival's Panorama Section, the audience prize went to Andrea Veiel's "Die Spielwutigen" (Addicted to Acting), while the Panorama Audience award for best short film went to "En Del Av Mitt Hjarta" (Passing Hearts), directed by Johan Brisinger.
Sebastien Lifshitz's "Wild Side" from the Panorama section won a pair of awards. The film was presented the annual gay Teddy Award for best narrative film on Friday night and it also won the LVT - Manfred Salzgeber prize for an "innovative European feature film from the Competition or Panorama sections.
Angela Robinson's "D.E.B.S." was also a winner at the Teddy's. The film nabbed the Siegessaule reader's prize, while the jury award for best documentary award at the Teddy's went to Andrew Horn's "The Nomi Song." The award for best short was presented to Maria Trenor's "Con Que La Lavare" (With What Shall I Wash It?).
Ken Loach's competition film "Ae Fond Kiss" won the Ecumenical Jury award and a prize from the German Art House Cinemas.
The international short film jury, Christine Dollhofer from Austria, Sophie Maintigneux and Vinca Wiedermann from Denmark awarded the Golden Bear for short film to "Un Cartu de Kent I Un Pachet De Cafea" (Cigarettes and Coffee), directed by Cristi Puiu. The film also won the PRIX UIP Berlin prize. The Silver Bear Jury Prize went to "Vet!" (Great!) directed by Karin Junger and Brigit Hillenius, with a special mention for "Public/Private" directed by Christoph Behl.
The Panorama Short Film Award went to "Two Cars, One Night" directed by Taika Waititi, and the New York Film Academy Fellowship (Panorama) was awarded to "Fugue" (Fudge), directed by James Brown, with a special mention for "Le Garde Du Corps" (The Bodyguard), directed by Sandrine Dumas.
The 2004 Berlinale will conclude on Sunday with a day of additional film screenings. Awards are set to be presented to the winners during a ceremony on Saturday night.