Spotlight Award in Acting 2020

Christiane Paul

We are proud to honor the ongoing career achievements of German actress of cinema, television, and stage, Christiane Paul, with the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival’s 2020 Spotlight Award in Acting. A special tribute will take place at the Opening Night screening of What Might Have Been.

Christiane Paul is one of the most successful German actresses of her generation. Performing in a wide variety of genres, she has impersonated a broad spectrum of characters. She was nominated 12 times for her performances, including the German Film Award in 2017. She has received seven awards as Best Actress, including the International Emmy for her role as a federal prosecutor in the political thriller Under the Radar.

Born in East-Berlin, Germany, she began her career as a model. She started working as a professional actress during her high-school years and attended the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York in 2000. After high school, she studied medicine, graduating as a medical doctor in 2002 while continuously expediting her acting career by performing in more than 25 movies and films. In 2004, she ended her work as a medical doctor in order to devote herself entirely to acting. Since then she performed in numerous films and movies with two interplays in renown German theaters in 2004 and 2008.

In 1991, at the age of 17, she got her first starring role in the film Deutschfieber (translated as German Fever). One year later she starred next to Götz George in Ich und Christine. In the following years, she held leading roles in numerous films, including Wolfgang Becker's Life is All You Get (1995, German Film Award), the black comedy Die Häupter meiner Lieben (translated to The Heads of My Loved Ones) (1998), Trust Me (Freunde, 1999), and the highly celebrated In July (1999), directed by Faith Akin.

Christiane Paul received a score of Best Young Actress awards in the mid-90s, including the Max Ophüls Prize in 1994 for Ex, the Bavarian Film Award in 1997 for Workaholic, and the Golden Camera in 1998. In 1999, she was decorated for her achievements with the Berlin “Kulturpreis”.

In 2004 she performed in the theatre play "Der Auftrag" ("The Order") by Heiner Mueller, directed by BAFTA nominee, Ulrich Mühe, in Berlin. She continued her stage work as Anna Petrowna of ”Ivanov” by Chekhov at the Düsseldorf theatre.

Further film projects include Ralf Hüttner’s Reine Formsache (A Matter of Form, 2005), Eoin Moore's social comedy Im Schwitzkasten (In the Headlock, 2005), and the comedy The Wixxer (2006, Jupiter Award 2008), the political satire Vorne ist verdammt weit weg (The Front is Damn Far Away, 2007) and Dennis Gansel's political parable The Wave (German Film Award, 2007). In 2008, Christiane Paul played in the films Lippel's Dream, The Day of the Cat (Bavarian Film Award), and, alongside Willem Dafoe, in Dust of Time by multiple awardee of Festival de Cannes, Theo Angelopolous.

The most important television film projects of the years 1997-2005 included Zucker für die Bestie (Sugar for the Beast, by which she was nominated for Best Actress at the German TV Award), Der Pirat, Ausser Kontrolle, Die Nacht der großen Flut (The Night of the Great Flood, German TV Award, Producer Award at Hamburg Film Festival) and Die Tote vom Deich.

In 2010, she was in the comedy version of the Agent classic Jerry Cotton, as well as in the landmark TV film, Hindenburg, directed by Philipp Kadelbach. In 2011, she starred in the political TV thriller Ein mörderisches Geschäft (A Murderous Business) as well as in Der Verdacht (The Suspicion).

Christiane Paul was nominated as Best Actress for the National BAMBI Award in 2010 for the TV sequel Der Doc und die Hexe (The Doc and the Witch, 2009, 2011). Directed by Wolfgang Groos, she also appeared in the highly successful family film, Vampire Sisters, and its sequels (2013, 2015). In 2011 Christiane performed in the WWII miniseries, Generation War, directed by Philipp Kadelbach and was highly awarded nationally and internationally.

The historic TV event Das Adlon with Christiane Paul as Undine Adams (directed by national awardee Uli Edel) inspired a huge audience. She received high praise from critics for her performance as a desperate working mom in Parents (2012), directed by Robert Thalheim.

The comedy film Lola on the Pea (2014) received numerous awards at international festivals with Christiane Paul in the role of Loretta. One year later, she starred as an abusive mother in the film Der Fall Bruckner (The Bruckner Case), which won the Grimme Award. In this year she also played the leading role in the major post WWII TV drama, Die Himmelsleiter (The Sky Ladder).

In these recent years, she has performed as a leading character in the British TV series Paranoid. For her performance in Unterm Radar (Under the Radar, 2015), she received the special Award for Best Acting at the TV Film Festival in Baden-Baden and the International Emmy Award. In 2016 she was back in German cinema with the Dani Levy comedy, Wunderlich's World. For this role, she was nominated for the German Film Award for Best Supporting Actress 2017.

The TV crime drama, Ostfriesenkiller, with sequels Ostfriesenblut and Ostfriesensünde, based on the bestselling novels by Klaus Peter Wolf, with Christiane Paul in the leading character, attracted a huge audience. In 2018, she had a major part in the first two seasons of Starz's Counterpart and was in Don't. Get. Out! by Christian Alvart, which is the German cinema remake of the Spanish cinema success, El Desconocido. After that, she starred in the Sky series about the end of the world, 8 Days. In 2019 she shot a mini series for Netflix, Holiday Secrets, and two French-German coproductions, Parlement and Les rivières pourpres (The Crimson Rivers).

Beyond movies, Christiane Paul is a mother of two children and lives in Berlin. In addition to her acting work, she was an ambassador for the World AIDS Day campaign in Germany and the UN Climate Change Conference in 2009. She supports the anti-poverty campaign "Deine Stimme gegen Armut" ("Make Poverty History") and UNICEF. Whenever time permits, she records audiobooks. In 2011, she released her first book “Das Leben ist eine Öko-Baustelle” (which in English is "Life is An Ecological Construction Site"), published by Random House in the Ludwig Publisher.


Max Ophüls Prize 1995
Bavarian Film Award 1998 
Golden Camera 1998 
Berlin’s BZ-Kulturpreis (Culture Prize) 1997 
Video Champion 2013 
Baden-Baden, Special Prize for Acting 2015 
International Emmy Award 2016


Telestar (Television Award) 1998 
Bambi 2010 
Jupiter Award 2012, 2014 
German Film Award /LOLA 2017, Best Supporting Actress 
Romy 2019

The Berlin & Beyond Film Festival Spotlight Award in Acting

Christiane Paul is the seventh honoree of the Berlin & Beyond Film Festival Spotlight Award in Acting. Previous honorees were Bjarne Mädel (2019), Lars Eidinger (2018), Frederick Lau (2018), Julia Jentsch (2017), Tom Schilling (2016), and Ronald Zehrfeld (2015).