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Berlin Film Festival introduces gender neutral acting prizes in a bid to create a more ‘gender-sensitive’ film industry

Patrick Kelleher August 24, 2020
Berlin Film Festival

Berlin Film Festival poster (JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP/Getty)

Berlin Film Festival is set to introduce gender-neutral acting prizes in an effort to create a more “gender-sensitive” film industry.

The decision makes it the first major film festival to introduce gender-neutral acting awards.

The change was announced today (August 24) by Berlin Film Festival joint directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.

“Instead of the awards for the Best Actor and the Best Actress, a ‘Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance’ and a ‘Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance’ shall each be awarded on a gender-neutral basis,” a statement from organisers said.

Berlin Film Festival directors want the film industry to be more ‘gender-sensitive’.

“We believe that not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry,” the joint directors said.

The Berlin Film Festival is regarded as one of the most important film festivals, alongside the Venice Film Festival and Cannes – both of which continue to offer gendered awards categories in the acting fields.

We believe that not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry.

The MTV Movie Awards broke new ground in 2017 when it introduced gender-neutral acting awards.

Instead of its traditional “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” categories, MTV introduced “Best Actor in a Movie” and “Best Actor in a Show” categories.

Emma Watson went on to win the first gender-neutral MTV award for “Best Actor in a Movie” for her role in Beauty and the Beast in 2017.

Charlize Theron has said she hopes gender-neutral acting awards are introduced ‘soon’.

Gender-neutral acting awards offer non-binary and gender non-conforming actors the chance to have their work celebrated without having to adhere to traditional gender norms.

While some progress has been made, most major film awards still have gendered acting categories.

Oscar-winning actor Charlize Theron made headlines last year when she called for gender-neutral acting categories to be introduced in film award ceremonies.

When asked when she thought actors could expect to see gender neutral categories in awards ceremonies at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards in Beverly Hills, Theron replied: “Let’s hope soon.”

 

 

 

More: Beauty and the Beast, berlin film festival, Carlo Chatrian, charlize theron, emma watson, gender-neutral acting awards, Mariette Rissenbeek, MTV movie Awards

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