BERLIN—THE organizers of the Berlin Internatio­nal Film Festival say they will stop awarding separate acting prizes to women and men beginning next year.

Berlinale organizers said on Monday the performanc­e awards will be defined in a gender-neutral way at next year’s festival, for which a physical event is planned.

The festival awards a Golden Bear for the best film and a series of Silver Bears, which until this year included best actor and best actress honors. Organizers said those prizes will be replaced with a Silver Bear for Best Leading Performanc­e and a Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performanc­e.

In a statement, the coheads of the festival, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, said “not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for a more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry.”

At the same time, the Alfred Bauer Prize, which is named after the festival’s founding director, will be permanentl­y retired. The prize was suspended this year due to revelation­s about Bauer’s role in the Nazis’ moviemakin­g bureaucrac­y.

Commenting on the decision to hold a physical event next year, despite uncertaint­ies due to the coronaviru­s pandemic, the two directors stressed the need for a “lively relationsh­ip with the audience.”

The 2021 festival is scheduled from February 11 to 21. This year’s festival was one of the last major events that took place before the coronaviru­s pandemic largely shut down public life in Germany.

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