The Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Brandenburg honors successful directors with the Gershon Klein Film Prizes, which are endowed by the Klein family with € 7,000 annually. The prizes are a source of pride to the Jewish Film Festival—after all, what would a renowned festival be without awards, without the excitement of finding out who will be this year's prizewinners?
Our audiences are also involved in choosing our winners. Since 2002, all cinemagoers have been asked to vote for the director they think should receive the Audience Award (€2000). Because a majority of the films shown at the Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Potsdam are from Israel, we have been presenting the Best Israeli Film Award (€3000) since 2005. This award honours dedication and outstanding individual cinematographic achievements by Israeli film directors. It’s also designed to motivate directors to embark on new and exciting film projects. Last, but not least, the festival has been presenting the Award for the Best German Documentary on a Jewish Theme (€2000) since 2009. All the prizes are given to recognise the director’s work.
The prizes are dedicated to Gerhard Klein, who died at 79 in 1999. Klein was a “movie legend” in Berlin. The arthouse theater “Capitol Dahlem” in Berlin-Zehlendorf is his creation. After its establishment in 1956, it became a popular meeting place and an institution in the heart of West Berlin's student district. Klein, who came from a Jewish bourgeois family from Berlin, had been a child actor himself, working on stage and in film. His roles included the professor in Erich Kästner's stage version of “Emil and the Detectives” and a leading role in Max Ophüls's first talking film “Dann schon lieber Lebertran.” In 1933, the Nazis barred him from the profession as a Jew. In 1939, he succeeded in fleeing to Palestine, where he worked on a kibbuz and co-founded the avant-garde “Teatron Kameri” in Tel Aviv, which still exists today. He never saw his parents again. In 1952, Klein returned to Germany. He received numerous awards for his sophisticated programming at “Capitol Dahlem,” including the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The prize is intended to showcase the quality and breadth of film production in Israel. The festival organisers choose the year’s winner together with the Klein family, which also donates the €2000 prize money.
2002 TWO STATES OF MIND by Shira Richter (Israel 2001)
2003 THE HEBREW HAMMER by Jonathan Kesselman (USA 2003)
2004 MY ARCHITECT by Nathaniel Kahn (USA 2003)
2005 KEEP NOT SILENT by Ilil Alexander (Israel 2004)
2006 THE FIRST TIME I WAS TWENTY by Lorraine Levy (France 2004)
2007 THE GALILEE ESKIMOS by Jonathan Paz (Israel 2006)
2008 THE HEBREW LESSON by David Ofek und Ron Rotem (Israel 2006)
2009 THE GIFT TO STALIN by Rustem Abdrashitov (Kazakhstan/Russia/Poland/Israel 2007)
2010 ROMEO AND JULIET IN YIDDISH by Eve Annenberg (USA 2010)
2011 PRECIOUS LIFE by Shlomi Eldar (Israel 2010)
2012 LIFE IN STILLS by Tamar Tal (Israel 2011)
2013 OUT IN THE DARK by Michael Mayer (Israel 2012)
2014 ANDERSWO by Ester Amrami (Germany 2014)
2015 FAMOUS NATHAN, by Lloyd Handwerker (USA 2014)
Best Israeli Film Award
The prize is intended to showcase the quality and breadth of film production in Israel. The festival organisers choose the year’s winner together with the Klein family, which also donates the €3000 prize money.
2005 WATERMARKS by Yaron Zilberman (Israel/France/USA 2004)
2006 USHPIZIN by Gidi Dar (Israel 2004)
2007 FIVE DAYS by Yoav Shamir (Israel 2005)
2008 MY FATHER, MY LORD by David Volach (Israel 2007)
2009 VALENTINA´S MOTHER by Arik Lubetzky und Matti Harari (Israel 2008)
2010 A FILM UNFINISHED by Yael Hersonski (Israel 2009)
2011 GEI ONI by Dan Wolman (Israel 2010)
2012 FOOTNOTE by Joseph Cedar (Israel 2011)
2013 ZAYTUN by Eran Riklis (Israel/Great Britain/France 2012)
2014 FRAGILE by Vidi Bilu (Israel 2013)
2015 AM ENDE EIN FEST, by Tal Granit and Sharon Mayman
Award for the Best German Documentary on a Jewish Theme
This annual prize, worth €2000, is presented to a film shot the previous year. It too is sponsored by the Klein family.
2009 MENSCHLICHES VERSAGEN by Michael Verhoeven (Germany 2008)
2010 MAZEL TOV by Thomas Bergmann und Mischka Popp (Germany 2009)
2011 IM HIMMEL, UNTER DER ERDE: DER JÜDISCHE FRIEDHOF WEISSENSEE by Britta Wauer (Germany 2011)
2012 SIX MILLION AND ONE by David Fisher (Israel/Germany/Austria 2011)
2013 Awarded to Sabine Scharnagl, the head of the cultural and family division of German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, for her life’s work and dedication.
2014 SCHNEE VON GESTERN by Yael Reuveny (Germany 2013)
2015 BUDDY ELIAS - MEIN GLÜCK, MEIN SCHICKSAL. by Pierre Koralnik