Maria Speth’s documentary wins Berlin Festival Audience Award

The documentary titled Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse focuses on an unorthodox teacher and his class of mostly immigrant pupils, which also won the Silver Bear jury prize at this year’s Berlinale.


The first-ever Audience Award at the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival has been awarded to the heartwarming documentary, Herr Bachmann und seine Klasse (Mr. Bachmann and His Class) directed by Maria Speth. The documentary focuses on an unorthodox teacher and his sixth-grade class,  in which most students come from immigrant families.

The documentary turned out to be the favorite film of the about 8,500 Berlin audience members who voted amongst the top 15 movies in the Berlin Competition in this year’s edition.

The second place in the competition went to the sci-fi romantic comedy titled I’m Your Man, starring Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert and directed by Maria Schrader, and the third place went to the Irani drama Ballad of a White Cow from filmmakers Behtash Sanaeeha and Maryam Moghaddam.

The Audience Award was introduced specifically for the Berlinale Summer Special, an outdoor, in-person event that was held from 9 June to 20 June in the German capital city of Berlin. The event was held in an attempt to screen the major highlights of the 2021 Berlinale, an event that was held as a virtual, online-only event in the month of March.

The 2021 Panorama Audience Award, which is picked from the film screening in Berlin’s main sidebar category, went to The Last Forest from filmmaker Luiz Bolognesi. The film documents the Indigenous community of  Yanomami and shows their threatened natural environment in the rainforest of the Amazon. The second and third places were bagged by Eliane Raheb’s Miguel’s War and Monika Treut’s LGBTQ historical documentary Genderation respectively.

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