The Berlin International Film Festival has suspended one of its major prizes after accusations of Nazi collaboration were made against its namesake, Alfred Bauer, who was the festival’s first director from 1951 to 1976.
German national Die Zeit published a story yesterday alleging that Bauer held a previously unknown “high-ranking position in the Nazi film bureaucracy,” citing unnamed sources.
In response, Berlin released a statement this morning stating that it would suspend the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize “with immediate affect.”
The award was presented annually to a film in the festival program that “opens new perspectives on cinematic art.” Last year it went to German pic System Crasher, previously recipients include Tabu and Maria Full Of Grace.
“We welcome the research and its publication in Die Zeit and will seize the opportunity to begin a deeper research on the festival history with the support of external experts,” the festival statement added.
Bauer died in 1986. The prize was inaugurated in his honor in 1987.
As of yet, the festival has not stated whether this year’s Silver Bear will be reinstated with a new moniker.
Yesterday, the competition program for the festival’s 70th edition was unveiled.