Not so very long ago, most documentaries were short films and most shorts were documentaries. The Berlin International Film Festival – the Berlinale – introduced the Golden Bear for Best Short Film at its sixth renewal in 1956, and the first thirteen winners were documentaries. It wasn’t until 1971 that a live-action fiction triumphed: Paul B. Price’s 1501½.
Nearly five decades on, the tables have decisively turned. At the 68th edition of the hugely popular festival that ran from February 15-25 this year; 22 shorts vied for the Golden Bear – 13 of them fiction. But even this ratio far exceeded the features slate, in which only one of the 19 contenders could be classed as a documentary.