Nadav Lapid Golden Bear

Source: Richard Hubner/Berlinale

Nadav Lapid collecting the 2019 Golden Bear

Nadiv Lapid’s Synonymes won the Golden Bear for best film at Dieter Kosslick’s 18th and final outing as Berlin’s festival director at the Berlinale Palast tonight (Feb 16).

It’s the first time in the Berlinale’s history that an Israeli director has won the Golden Bear. The film is a French-Israeli-German co-production.

Lapid dedicated the award to his late mother, the editor Ara Lapid, who he described as his “most intimate artistic partner”. Synonymes was the last feature she was working on before she died earlier this year.

Scroll down for the complete list of winners

The International Jury headed up by Oscar-winning French actress Juliette Binoche gave its Silver Bear grand jury prize to Francois Ozon for By The Grace Of God, while two of the three German films in this year’s Competition were recognised with awards.

The Silver Bear Alfred Bauer prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives went to feature debutant Nora Fingscheidt’s System Crasher while the Silver Bear for best director was presented to Angela Schanelec for I Was At Home, But.

Meanwhile, Wang Xiaoshuai’s So Long, My Son picked up both acting Silver Bears for lead actress Yong Mei and lead actor Wang Jingchun.

The Silver Bear for best screenplay was awarded to co-screenwriters Maurizio Braucci, Roberto Saviano and Claudio Giovannesi for their adaptation of Saviano’s novel Piranhas, directed by Giovannesi, while the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution went to Rasmus Videbaek for his cinematography on Hans Petter Moland’s Out Stealing Horses.

Before awarding their prizes, jury president Binoche read out a statement expressing regret that they had not been able to see Zhang Yimou’s One Second which had been withdrawn from the Competition earlier in the week, allegedly due to technical problems with the film’s post-production. Thirty-one years ago, Yimou had won the Golden Bear in Berlin for Red Sorghum.

Other awards

Sudanese filmmaker Suhaib Gasmelbari took home the €50,000 Glashütte Original – Documentary Award for Talking About Trees and used the platform of the ceremony to express his solidarity with his people over the unfolding political situation in Sudan.

The GWFF Best First Feature Award with a cash prize of €50,000 went to Cologne-based filmmaker Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay’s Oray which premiered in the Perspektive Deutsches Kino sidebar.

Emotional highlights

There were a number of emotional moments during this year’s closing ceremony as festival director Kosslick and many other members of the gala audience wiped away the tears in the final love-in before his last festival edition came to a close.

Speaking at the ceremony ahead of the prize-giving and after a standing ovation for Kosslick, State Minister for Culture and Media Monika Grütters took one last opportunity to lavish praise on Kosslick for his achievements over the last 18 years in developing the Berlinale into ”the largest audience festival and the most political among the leading A-festivals”.

”With courageous steadfastness he has given freedom of art a stage and a cinema screen to politically persecuted artists,” she said. ”It is to his personal credit that he has always inspired a huge audience and whetted their appetite for great cinema. The film world also bows in gratitude to him for this.”

In recognition of ”the man who made film history”, Grütters announced that instead of giving Kosslick an honorary Golden or Silver Bear, she was making him a patron of the 27-year-old “Paddington-style” spectacled bear Puna in Berlin’s Tierpark zoo.

In addition, jury president Binoche had another surprise for Kosslick when he was presented with an oversize teddy bear on the Berlinale Palast stage before all of the award-winners were called back for a final group photograph.

Kosslick had presence of mind amidst all of the adulation directed at him from the assembled throng to welcome his successors as joint heads of the festival from the 2020 edition, managing director Mariette Rissenbeek and artistic director Carlo Chatrian, and also graciously made a mention at the end of the ceremony of a guest of honour, Moritz de Hadeln, his predecesseor at the Berlinale’s helm until 2001.

The only slight hiccup was when master of ceremonies Anke Engelke made a jibe in the direction of the Academy Awards by observing that prizes at the Berlinale closing ceremony are not given out during commercial breaks, although the quip lost any impact since there aren’t any commercial breaks on the public channel 3sat which broadcast the ceremonies live.

Meanwhile, in a fitting gesture at the beginning of the ceremony, the gala’s audience gave a standing ovation in memory of the Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, who passed away in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday night (Feb 15) at the age of 77.

Ganz, who last appeared at the Berlinale in Sally Potter’s The Party in Competition in 2017, will forever be connected with the city of Berlin through his work on the stage as part of the Schaubühne ensemble from 1970 as well as such film roles as the angel Damiel in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire and Faraway, So Close! and as Adolf Hitler in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Oscar-nominated Downfall.

Berlin 2019 winners

Golden Bear for Best Film

Synonymes by Nadav Lapid

Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize

By The Grace Of God by Francois Ozon

Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize

System Crasher by Nora Fingscheidt

Silver Bear for Best Director

Angela Schanelec, I Was At Home, But

Silver Bear for Best Actress

Yong Mei, So Long, My Son

Silver Bear for Best Actor

Wang Jingchun, So Long, My Son

Silver Bear for Best Screenplay

Maurizio Braucci, Claudio Giovannesi, Roberto Saviano, Piranhas

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution

Rasmus Videbaek, cinematographer, Out Stealing Horses

Glashutte Documentary Award

Talking About Trees

GWFF Best First Feature Award


Golden Bear for Best Short Film


Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film)

Blue Boy


Panorama winners

Panorama Audience Award Winner Fiction Film 2019

37 Seconds

2nd place Panorama Audience Award Fiction Film 2019


3rd place Panorama Audience Award Fiction Film 2019


Panorama Audience Award Winner Panorama Dokumente 2019

Talking About Trees

2nd place Panorama Audience Award Panorama Dokumente 2019

Midnight Traveler

3rd place Panorama Audience Award Panorama Dokumente 2019

Shooting The Mafia


Generation Kplus winners

Crystal Bear for the Best Film

A Colony 

Special Mention


Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film

Just Me And You

Special Mention Short Film


The Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the Best Film

A First Farewell

Special Mention: 

My Extraordinary Summer With Tess

The Special Prize of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the Best Short Film

The Size Of Things

Special Mention: 



Generation 14plus winners

Crystal Bear for the Best Film

Stupid Young Heart

Special Mention: 

We Are Little Zombies

Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film


Special Mention: 

Four Quartets

The Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International Jury for the Best Film

House Of Hummingbird

Special Mention: 

Bulbul Can Sing

Special Prize of the Generation 14plus International Jury for the Best Short Film


Special Mention: 

The Sisters Jarariju


Independent Juries

Prizes of the Ecumenical Jury

Prize for a film from Competition

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya

Prize for a film from Panorama 


Special Mention: 

Midnight Traveler

Prize for a film from Forum 

Erde (Earth)


Prizes of the FIPRESCI Jury

Prize for a film from Competition


Prize for a film from Panorama 


Prize for a film from Forum 

The Children Of The Dead


Amnesty International Film Prize

Your Turn