20 years of queer films inside
Berlin International Film Festival

A very special award on the list of significant international film prizes is celebrating its 20th birthday:
Berlin International Film Festival

When the first TEDDY was awarded in 1987, there was not even a ceremony. Minisized teddy bears from a department store were placed in envelopes and sent to the then unknown directors Pedro Almodóvar in Spain and Gus Van Sant in the USA. Neither of them has forgotten this and they both remain loyal friends of the TEDDY. And this was the beginning of the success story of a film prize that, despite all initial homophobic accusations, has developed into one of the Berlinale’s largest events over the years.

The TEDDY evolved out of the meetings of festival-organisers from gay-lesbian film festivals worldwide who had been getting together in Berlin ever since the Berlinale’s Panorama section (first called the Info-Schau) was founded in 1980. The goal of Manfred Salzgeber, then director of the Panorama, was to end the isolation of gaylesbian cinema and give it a platform where it could not be overlooked by the film industry and the public. It was these ideas that Wieland Speck, who was Salzgeber’s right hand man from 1982 onwards and is today’s Panorama director, had in mind when establishing the TEDDY - Queer Film Award.

Since then films with gay, lesbian or transgender content have been integrated in all sections of the Berlinale. Every year, these 40 or so films compete for the three TEDDY statues. The international nine-member TEDDY Jury chooses the best short film, feature film and documentary. The cash prizes accompanying the awards are raised by the TEDDY e. V. staff, who work on a voluntary basis, and its supporters.
To preside over the TEDDY Jury 2006, Noah Cowan, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival, has been enlisted.

Past prize-winners include Derek Jarman, Rosa von Praunheim, Nan Goldin, Constantine Giannaris, Francois Ozon, Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss, as well as Todd Haynes, Stanley Kwan, Heiner Carow, Lukas Moodysson, Tilda Swinton and later Oscar-winners Peggy Rajski, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

Since 1997 the TEDDY is a bronze bear on top of a cobblestone, two symbols of Berlin, designed by world-famous cartoonist Ralf König.