Written by Kianna Best on Feb 25, 2024. Posted in Awards and Festivals

The 74th Berlinale closes with festival firsts and steps towards diversity

Today marks the end of the 74th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival. The festival concluded with the Golden Bear win for Dahomey from director Mati Diop, accounting for the second ever African receipt of the grand prize. This year’s jury was headed by Black Panther actress Lupita Nyong’o who announced the grand prize winner on Saturday 24 February.


Image courtesy of Berlinale 2024


Director Mati Diop’s documentary Dahomey took home the Golden Bear on Saturday, making the film only the second African film to win the top prize at Berlin. Dahomey follows the return of 26 looted treasures from Paris back to Benin in 2021. The film not captures the national celebration of having the treasures returned to the rightful hands, but also raises the question of objects that still remain in the hands of the French.


During her winning speech, Diop commented: “To restitute is to do justice,” Diop said upon the receipt of her prize. “We can either get rid of the past as an unpleasant burden that only hinders our evolution, or we can take the responsibility and use it as the basis for moving forward. We have to choose.”


Image courtesy of Les Films du Bal /Fanta Sy


Diop’s win was not the only display of the festival’s evolving approach to diversity, with 12 Year’s A Slave and Black Panther actress Lupita Nyong’o becoming the first black woman to sit as jury head. During the festival, AfroBerlin also made a splash, putting the continent and its creatives in the spotlight. Marking the first ever edition of AfroBerlin, the conference opened up conversation on how festivals, streamers and the entire industry could work towards supporting the films and filmmakers from the continent.


Image courtesy of Berlinale 2024

In addition to Diop’s documentary, other films in competition this edition included Abderrahmane Sissako’s Black Tea and Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Aria’s Pepe, along with Mamadou Dia’s Demba in the Encounters strand. Highlighting the African Film Community and bringing it into the eye line of the festival, Festival Selection Committee member Jacqueline Nsiah spoke on the filmmakers panel of AfroBerlin, commending the strides taken to reaching this point of African inclusion in the projects on show, but asserting that there is still a long way to go.


Related Posts


Not Logged in

You must be logged in to post a comment

    There are no comments