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Brazilian film The Elite Squad by Jose Padilha was the surprise winner of this year's Golden Bear at the Berlinale, beating off critics favourites such as There Will be Blood and Happy-Go-Lucky. It is the first Brazilian film to receive the top honour in Berlin since Walter Salles' Central Stationin 1998.
Accepting his award from the jury president Costa-Gavras, Padilha said that the Greek-born filmmaker 'is a like a hero to all Latin-American film-makers.'
In his review for Screen, Jonathan Romney wrote that Padilha's first fiction venture, which sold more than 2.4m tickets at the Brazilian box-office last year was 'intelligent, energetic and immensely watchable'. It was co-produced by Universal Pictures International, which has distribution rights in Latin America and is being sold in the rest of the world by The Weinstein Company (TWC).
'We are so pleased for Jose Padilha and everyone involved in Tropa de Elite and we are grateful to the Berlin Film Festival for embracing the film,' said Glen Basner who is head of international distribution at TWC.
'This award and the critical acclaim it has received will certainly jump start the worldwide release of the film and we, along with Eduardo Costantini, Costa Films and The Latin American Film Company, look forward to providing it with a strong voice in the months to come.'
Speaking about the International Jury's work, president Costa-Gavras praised the 'friendship and seriousness' of his fellow jury members and said that they had 'discussed every film in detail.' Each jury decision had been a majority one without him as president having to exercise his second vote.
While the Alfred Bauer Prize went to former Berlinale Talent Campus alumnus Fernando Eimbcke for his second feature film Lake Tahoe, the Silver Bear for Best Direction was awarded to Paul Thomas Anderson for his eight-time Oscar nominated There Will Be Blood which also picked up the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution for Jonny Greenwood's score.
UK actress Sally Hawkins - the favourite during the festival to nab the Best Actress honour for her performance as Poppy in Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky - said she was 'completely overwhelmed' and 'happy and very lucky' to win the award.
This year saw for the first time a Silver Bear being awarded in the Best Screenplay - to Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai for In Love We Trust - and the Grand Jury Prize being presented to the first documentary ever to be invited to the Berlinale official competition - veteran filmmaker Errol Morris's Standard Operating Procedure.
On the evening before the gala closing ceremony, the international critics federation FIPRESCI announced its three awards to Fernando Eimbcke's Lake Tahoe (Competition), Anna Melikian's Rusalka (Panorama) and Natalie Assouline's Brides of Allah (Forum).
Meanwhile, during the announcement of the independent juries' awards on Saturday afternoon, festival director Dieter Kosslick noted that his seventh Berlinale as festival director was 'completely different from the last one' and mentioned four particular highlights from the festival's ten days.
'We started off with the riff of Keith Richards which brought a lot of energy into the town and cinema (in Shine A Light), and then There Will be Blood with Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson was really powerful kickoff for the Berlinale. I also won't forget the moment when I saw how the audience reacted as they came out of Doris Doerrie's Cherry Blossoms - Hanami.'
Kosslick admitted that he had been 'a little afraid' of giving Andrzej Wajda's Oscar-nominated Katyn the red-carpet treatment at the Berlinale Palast because of the film's subject matter. 'When I finally realised at the end of the film that 1,700 people, including our Chancellor [Angela Merkel], had been sitting in the dark in silence for 10 minutes, that was a big moment,' Kosslick said.
Main Competition - International Jury prizes
Golden Bear - The Elite Squad by Jose Padilha (Brazil)
Alfred Bauer Prize - Lake Tahoe by Fernando Eimbcke (Mexico)
Grand Jury Prize - Standard Operating Procedure by Errol Morris (US)
Silver Bear, Best Direction - Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will be Blood, US)
Silver Bear, Best Actress - Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, UK)
Silver Bear, Best Actor - Reza Najie (The Song Of Sparrows, Iran)
Silver Bear Best Screenplay - In Love We Trust by Wang Xiaoshuai (China)
Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution - Jonny Greenwood (There Will be Blood, US)
Best First Feature Film Award - Park and Love Hotel (Asyl), by Kumasaka Izuru (Japan)
I've Loved You So Long by Philippe Claudel (Competition)
In Love We Trust by Wang Xiaoshuai (special mention)
Boy A by John Crowley (Panorama)
Corridor #8 by Boris Despodov (Forum)
Lake Tahoe by Fernando Eimbcke (Competition)
Rusalka (Mermaid) by Anna Melikian (Panorama)
Brides of Allah by Natalie Assouline (Forum)
Revance by Gotz Spielmann (Panorama)
United Red Army by Wakamatsu Koji (Forum)
United Red Army by Wakamatsu Koji
Paruthiveeran by Ameer Sulthan (special mention)
Peace Film Award
Buddha collapsed out of shame by Hana Makhmalbaf
Amnesty International Film Prize
Sleep Dealer by Alex Rivera
Be Like Others by Tanaz Eshaghian (special mention)
Panorama Audience Award
Lemon Tree by Eran Riklis
Berliner Morgenpost Readers' Prize
I've Loved You So Long by Philippe Claudel
Tagesspiegel Readers' Prize
God Man Dog by Singing Chen
VOLKSWAGEN Audience Award
Football Under Cover by David Assmann and Ayat Najafi.
For the full list of winners visit berlinale.de