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Steven Spielberg to receive lifetime achievement prize at Berlin film festival

Renowned Jewish filmmaker, feted by organizers for reinventing cinema as a ‘factory of dreams,’ to be awarded Honorary Golden Bear at 2023 Berlinale in February

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg poses at the 2019 "An Unforgettable Evening" benefiting the Women's Cancer Research Fund, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, February 28, 2019. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg poses at the 2019 "An Unforgettable Evening" benefiting the Women's Cancer Research Fund, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, February 28, 2019. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

BERLIN, Germany – The Berlin film festival will award Steven Spielberg a lifetime achievement prize in February and show a retrospective of the Oscar-winning director’s movies, organizers said on Tuesday.

The 73rd annual Berlinale, Europe’s first major cinema showcase of the year, called Spielberg’s more than 100 films and series “unique in the history of international cinema of the past 60 years for its immense variety.”

The US director will be presented with the Honorary Golden Bear prize at a gala ceremony during the February 16-26 festival.

The Berlinale will also screen his new semi-autobiographical film “The Fabelmans,” in which Spielberg depicts elements of his own Jewish upbringing and grappling with antisemitism.

The 75-year-old filmmaker was already awarded Germany’s Federal Order of Merit in 1998 in recognition for his Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List” and his Shoah Foundation preserving the memory of survivors.

“With an incredible career, Steven Spielberg has not only enchanted generations of viewers all over the world, but has also given a new meaning to the cinema as the factory of dreams,” the Berlinale’s directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian said.

As the global cinema industry seeks a “new beginning” in the wake of the pandemic, “we couldn’t find a better start than the one offered by Spielberg’s great work,” they added.

Spielberg, considered one of Hollywood’s greatest living directors, has won three Academy Awards: best picture and best director for “Schindler’s List,” and best director again for “Saving Private Ryan.”

He has been nominated for 19 Oscars to date and is expected to add to that tally at next year’s Academy Awards with “The Fabelmans,”starring Michelle Williams and Paul Dano.

In 2021, the Jewish filmmaker received Israel’s prestigious $1,000,000 Genesis Prize for his professional achievements and commitment to Jewish values, a sum he and his wife Kate Capshaw matched and donated to non-profit organizations across the United States.

That same year, the couple launched a film foundation called Jewish Story Partners to fund documentaries reflecting a wide range of the Jewish experience.

The Berlinale ranks with Cannes and Venice among Europe’s top three film festivals.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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