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Berlin: ‘20,000 Species of Bees,’ ‘Totem’ Among Independent Jury Winners



Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s crowd-pleasing debut, 20,000 Species of Beesa tender look at an 8-year-old Spaniard who begins to transition and the impact that has on the child’s family, was among the standouts of this year’s Berlinale.

The film, which screened in competition at the 2023 Berlin Film Festival, won the prize for best film from the guild of German Art House Cinemas as well as the jury award voted on by readers of Berlin daily newspaper the Berliner Morgenpost.

Lila Aviles’ Totem, another Spanish-language film told from the perspective of a young child, this time a Mexican girl watching a chaotic family birthday gathering for her father, a terminally-ill cancer patient, was the big winner of Berlin’s Ecumenical Jury, which gave it the top prize for best film in competition this year. Best Panorama pick from the Ecumenical Jury went to Midwives from French director Léa Fehner, with Mehran Tamadon’s documentary Where God Is Notwhere the director has three former political prisoners re-enact how they were once interrogated and tortured, took the Ecumenical prize for best Berlinale Forum entry.

The many independent juries at the Berlin International Film Festival announced their 2023 winners on Saturday, Feb. 25, ahead of the festival’s official awards.

Here is the full list of this year’s Berlinale independent jury award winners:

Amnesty International Film Award
The Burdened, dir. Amr Gamal

Prizes of the Ecumenical Jury
Competition: Totem, dir. Lila Avilés
Panorama: Midwives, dir. Leah Fehner,
Forum: Where God Is Not, dir. Mehran Tamadon,
Special Mention: On the Adamant, dir. Nicolas Philibert

Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas
20,000 Species of Bees, dir. Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren

And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine, dirs. Axel Danielson, Maximilien Van Aertryck

Cicae Art Cinema Prizes
The Teachers’ Lounge, dir. İlker Çatak
Forum: The Face of Jellyfish, dir. Melissa Liebenthal

Berliner Morgenpost Reader’s Jury Award
20,000 Species of Bees, dir. Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren

Tagesspiegel Reader’s Jury Award
Orlando, My Political Biography, dir. Paul B. Preciado

Caligari Film Prize
De facto, dir. Selma Doborac

Heiner Carrow Prize
Fabian Stumm for the screenplay to Bones and Names

Seven Winters in Tehran, dir. Steffi Niederzoll

Peace Film Prize
Seven Winters in Tehran, dir. Steffi Niederzoll

Paraphrase on the Finding of a Glove, dir. Marieke Wegener
My Beloved Man’s Female Body, dir. Anna Melikova

ARTEKino International Award
Peeled Skin, dir. Leonie Krippendorff

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