Mati Diop’s “Dahomey” Wins Golden Bear at 2024 Berlin Film Festival

The 2024 Berlin Film Festival showcased global cinematic talent, culminating in the prestigious Golden Bear award. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the festival’s winners and highlights.

Mati Diop’s documentary 'Dahomey' won the Golden Bear at the 2024 Berlin Film Festival, exploring the return of looted African art.
The film stands out for its innovative narrative, giving voice to the looted artifacts and delving into restitution and cultural heritage themes.
Other winners included Hong Sang-soo, Sebastian Stan, and Emily Watson, among others, highlighting a diverse and impactful festival.

Golden Bear for Best Film: “Dahomey” by Mati Diop

Mati Diop’s “Dahomey” was awarded the Golden Bear for Best Film. This documentary shines a spotlight on the journey of artifacts being returned from Paris to present-day Benin, touching on themes of restitution and justice.

The film delves into the journey of 26 statues from France back to Benin, their country of origin, shedding light on a larger narrative of around 7,000 artifacts plundered about 130 years ago. With a runtime of just 67 minutes, it is the shortest film to win the Golden Bear since 1951.

Silver Bear Awards

  • Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize: “A Traveler’s Needs,” Hong Sangsoo
  • Silver Bear Jury Prize: “The Empire,” Bruno Dumont
  • Silver Bear for Best Director: “Pepe,” Nelson Carlos De Los Santos Arias
  • Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance: “A Different Man,” Sebastian Stan
  • Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance: “Small Things Like These,” Emily Watson
  • Silver Bear for Best Screenplay: “Dying,” Matthias Glasner
  • Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution: “The Devil’s Bath,” Martin Gschlacht (cinematography)


  • Best Film: “Direct Action,” Guillaume Cailleau and Ben Russell
  • Best Director: “Cidade; Campo,” Juliana Rojas
  • Special Jury Award: “The Great Yawn of History,” Aliyar Rasti; “Some Rain Must Fall,” Qiu Yang

Berlinale Documentary Award

  • Best Documentary: “No Other Land,” Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, Yuval Abraham, Rachel Szor
  • Special Mention: “Direct Action,” Guillaume Cailleau and Ben Russell

GWFF Best First Feature

  • Best First Feature: “Cu Li Never Cries,” Phạm Ngọc Lân

Berlinale Shorts

  • Golden Bear: “An Odd Turn,” Francisco Lezama
  • Silver Bear: “Remains of the Hot Day,” Wenqian Zhang
  • Special Mention: “That’s All From Me,” Eva Könnemann

The 2024 Berlin Film Festival celebrated remarkable films and performances and highlighted crucial conversations around culture, identity, and history through cinema. With “Dahomey” leading the pack, the festival’s winners reflect a year of powerful storytelling and cinematic innovation​​​​.

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters is a seasoned news journalist with over two years of experience in the field. Known for her investigative reporting and insightful analysis, Marilyn has covered significant global events with an objective lens. Her relentless pursuit of truth and dedication to journalistic integrity have established her as a respected voice in today's dynamic news landscape.

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