Let’s Make Our Planet Great Again: Cinema for Peace Berlin 2018

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Green Oscar for Jane Goodall / Honoring the 25 most valuable films of the year 2018 and the Time's Up initiative / A call for freedom of the press with Steven Spielberg's "The Post", Daniel Ellsberg and Gabor Steingart

BERLIN, 20 February 2018 – A call for freedom of speech, a call for democracy and a call for saving our planet: Last night, the Cinema for Peace Gala Berlin honored some of the year’s best movies, bringing together filmmakers, politicians and activists from around the world. The focus was on two main topics shaped by current events – the fight for the freedom of speech and press and the fight for protecting the environment and fighting climate change.

The highlight included “The Most Valuable Film of the Year 2018“ award was given to the film “The Post” by Steven Spielberg, the “International Green Film Award” honored the documentary “Jane” about Jane Goodall, and the “Justice Award” was presented to the film “The Breadwinner”. A special “Honorary Award” celebrated Jane Goodall and her lifelong work devoted to studying and protecting chimpanzees.

The rights of the free press were one leitmotif of the evening – a more than fitting topic as, in 1933, only steps away from the gala’s venue, on Bebelplatz, in the heart of Berlin, the Nazis had burned books by banished writers in 1933. Steven Spielberg’s film “The Post” won “The Most Valuable Film of the Year”.

The two keynote speeches on free press were delivered by Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon papers’ whistleblower: “Civil courage a too rare courage”, he said, appealing to media and the public to scrutinize governments, and by the former head of the Washington and Berlin bureau of Spiegel, who was dismissed as editor-in-chief and publisher by the Handelsblatt last week: “Let’s not fight back, but let’s reflect. The keyword today is not ‘I like’, but ‘I respect’, he said, “and quality journalism is the immune system of the world.”

The third keynote war delivered by Can Dündar, who in his position as editor in chief uncovered secret supplies from the Turkish Government to the Islamic state, was imprisoned and shot at who reminded the audience that there are still 150 journalists in prison in Turkey: “I hope that it’s not going to be half a century before our story will be told.”

The “International Green Film Award” was given to “Jane”, an Oscar-nominated film about Jane Goodall. The “Green Oscar” has been introduced at Cinema for Peace by Leonardo DiCaprio and Mikhail Gorbachev; Jane Goodall is the leading advocate for the preservation of wildlife and an UN ambassador of peace. During her speech she held up a little piece of the Berlin Wall: “This little piece is a sign of hope”, she said.

Presenting the award was Cem Özdemir (MP) of the Green Party in Germany, who, in his speech, emphasized that “fighting climate comes with a lot of opportunities. Let’s make our planet great again!”

The “Doc Award” was presented by Cinema for Peace’s Jaka Bizilj and Nastassja Kinski, the only German Golden Globe winning actress. The award was won by the film “Cries from Syria”, made by Jewgeni Afinejewski, who appeals – together with Helen Mirren – to the world to stop the war in Syria.

Cinema for Peace reflected on current events the Code of Conduct in Hollywood and the film industry. It has banned Harvey Weinstein from its committee list and invited a German initiative: Jasmin Tabatabai and Nina Kronjäger presented the German equality platform ProQuote Film, which is calling for more jobs for women in the film industry and a female chairwomen for the Berlin Film Festival from 2020 on.

The event took place at the Bebelplatz, where Hitler started his terror with censorship: 85 years ago, the Nazis burned more than 20.000 books. Cinema for Peace serves as a platform for freedom of expression and has supported the release of artists and their films such as the Burmese comedian Zagana, Pussy Riot or Ai Weiwei. Cinema for Peace co-produced a film about Zagana, was the first host in Europe for Pussy Riot, facilitated the funding for their NGO for prisoners rights, and produced a refugee life-vest installation with Ai Weiwei in Berlin after his release from house arrest. According to the artist, Cinema for Peace was the first to honor him as an humanitarian filmmaker and to screen his films in the Western world.

Frank Wildhorn, a composer of Number 1 songs for Whitney Houston and musicals such as Jekyll&Hyde, has written the song "Somewhere in my Memory" for Cinema for Peace, remembering the artists whose works were burned at Bebelplatz and who were killed afterwards. One of the victims, Kurt Tucholsky, died in 1935 and left a universal message on censorship: “A country is not only what it does, but what it tolerates.“

The event is supported by the foundation „Protect the Planet“, Edijo Verde and sponsors from civil society.


Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Film of the Year 2018
WINNER: The Post
Call Me By Your Name
The Florida Project
In the Fade
Wonder Woman
The Big Sick
First They Killed My Father
Darkest Hour
Battle of the Sexes

Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Documentary of the Year 2018
City of Ghosts
WINNER: Cries from Syria
What the Health?
Last Men in Aleppo

International Green Film Award 2018
Chasing Coral
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Climate Warriors
Wonders of the Sea

Cinema for Peace Award for Justice 2018
WINNER: The Breadwinner
Intent to Destroy
Human Flow

Since the events of 9/11, Cinema for Peace has aimed to influence the perception and resolution of current global social, political and humanitarian challenges through the medium of film. The Cinema for Peace Gala serves as an award platform for valuable films and as a fundraising event that supports humanitarian initiatives from the world of film and the Cinema for Peace Foundation. One of the more than 100 initiatives of the past 17 years has been the Help Haiti Home fundraising platform, created by Cinema for Peace for Sean Penn, which provides much of its humanitarian work in Haiti.

Since 2008, the non-profit foundation has been active in Berlin. These include free film screenings in politically and socially relevant areas, providing an educational film library to school students, supporting filmmakers, engaging in community outreach projects and peace work. Cooperation partners in the past have included, among others, United Nations programs and the International Criminal Court.

Cinema Peace