Superstar from Sweden: Singer Zara Larrson receives the BAMBI in the "International Music" category
Since 1948, Germany's most popular media award has honoured people who fight for a better world, who inspire and touch us. They are all part of contemporary history - people, who move the world. It is these people who were awarded a BAMBI in one of 12 categories in Munich on 16 November 2023.
"The idea behind BAMBI has always been that, in the end, it is people who make the difference, and that exceptional people should be recognised and celebrated. That's why BAMBI was created: as an award with which Germany honours outstanding people. And this is especially true in times of uncertainty."
Philipp Welte, Burda Executive Board Member
One of the most moving moments of the evening was when Russian Kremlin critic and opposition politician Alexej Nawalny was honoured in the category “Courage.” He has been in prison since 2021 for fighting against corruption and for a free Russia and has also been sentenced to solitary confinement since August 2023. President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen gave a speech in Nawalny´s honour and made it clear how firmly the EU stands by his side. "This unyielding man deserves our solidarity. His commitment to freedom, democracy and human rights obliges us to act."
Nawalny's wife Julija Nawalnaja accepted the BAMBI on his behalf in Munich. She said: "It makes me happy to accept this award on behalf of my husband. It would make me even happier if he could accept it in person. But he is in prison. Like many others who criticise Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, who protest or write comments on social media. We can't free them now, but we must let the world know. Freedom for Alexej Nawalny. And freedom for all other political prisoners!”
On 10 September, the German national basketball team won the world championship in Manila. The excitement surrounding this amazing success was relived at BAMBI. The Canadian team coach Gordon Herbert was clearly moved by this triumph. “Even more special than winning the World Cup was the teamwork. We proved what you can achieve when you have such a great team.” Captain Dennis Schröder, who was unable to be in Munich due to a game with his Toronto Raptors team in the US NBA, held the BAMBI up to the camera from the USA. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ana Ivanovic, who have both been successful in top international sport for many years, honoured the team. "These were moments when you felt like you were part of something special. A victory for the history books."
The Golden Deer in the "Our Earth" category was awarded to the couple Christoph and Barbara Promberger. With their "Foundation Conservation Carpathia", they have made it their life's work to preserve Europe's largest intact primeval forest in the Romanian Carpathians. To protect it from deforestation and to turn it into a protected national park. The wildlife biologists expressed their gratitude for the award and said: " We have come to know and love Romania over the past few years. That's why we want to dedicate this BAMBI to Romania in particular. It has become a second home for us." Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder personally presented the trophy to the award-winning couple from Bavaria and Austria.
Michael Patrick Kelly presented the Golden Fawn in the category “Silent Heroes” to a completely surprised Karin Eckstein, founder, and director of the Lebensweg family hostel in Illingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg. This is a place where families with severely disabled children can get away for a few days and be supported by a professional and caring team. The family hostel has been supported by the Tribute to BAMBI Foundation for several years. Karin Eckstein was visibly overwhelmed and said: “We have received incredible support, also from the Tribute to Bambi Foundation. Having an idea is one thing, but getting lots of people to share the vision and make it happen with us is another. When a flame burns, keep it burning, spread good in the world!”
The BAMBI in the category "Acting International" went to Denmark's Mads Mikkelsen, one of the world's most successful actors from Europe. The Hollywood star, who recently won international acclaim for his starring role in Thomas Vinterberg's "Another Round", expressed his gratitude. " It's a huge honour to receive the Bambi. Especially when you see the long list of actors who have already been honoured."
Of the three nominees for German Actress of the Year, the jury chose Karoline Herfurth. Laudator Franz Dinda praised: "Your films hit the nerve of the times; disarmingly honest, beautiful, movingly light and profound - just like you. Everything you touch becomes a success.” Among the men Felix Kammerer impressed the BAMBI jury the most: he took home the BAMBI in the category “Actor National”. “It's been such a long journey with this film. It’s like a gift that never ends.”
Senta Berger received a standing ovation for several minutes when she was presented with a BAMBI for “Lifetime Achievement”. The Grande Dame of German acting has been in front of the camera for more than 65 years and continues to delight audiences in many leading roles. She has also made a name for herself as a producer in collaboration with her husband Paul Verhoeven. Senta Berger accepted the award humbly, and in her acceptance speech she reminisced about the old days: "I would like to say to my mother: Look, I did quite well".
The best German film of the year was “Oskar's Kleid.” The overjoyed winners accepted the Golden Deer and spoke out in favour of equal rights: "We will never stop making films that stand for a free, tolerant and loving world without hate.”
The biggest surprise of the evening was the BAMBI for Giovanni Zarrella in the category “Entertainment”. With tears in his eyes, the "new German Mr. Entertainment" dedicated the award to his wife, "who has always been my biggest fan", and concluded: "This country has missed BAMBI so much. I'm so happy to be part of this evening".
BAMBI legend Peter Maffay, one of Germany's most successful and popular rock musicians for over 50 years, was honoured by comedian Otto Waalkes. "You can only admire Peter Maffay - his life, his career, his music. He's been in the business for over 50 years and still gets stage fright. He stands up for children and his audience means everything to him". Maffay gave BAMBI 2023 a worthy finale with a live medley of his greatest hits.
Courage: Alexej Nawalny (Laudator: Ursula von der Leyen)
Sport: German national basketball team (Laudators: Ana Ivanovic and Bastian Schweinsteiger)
Actress National: Karoline Herfurth (Laudator: Franz Dinda)
Actor National: Felix Kammerer (Laudator: Nadja Uhl)
Film National: Oskars Kleid (Laudator: Veronica Ferres)
Actor International: Mads Mikkelsen (Laudator: Franka Potente)
People´s choice Artist of the Year: Ayliva (Laudators: Wincent Weiss and Rae Garvey)
Music International: Zara Larsson (Laudators: Elevator Boys)
Entertainment: Giovanni Zarrella (Laudators: Nazan Eckes)
Lifetime Achievement: Senta Berger (Laudator: Palina Rojinski)
Silent Heroes: Lebensweg Family Hostel (Laudator: Michael Patrick Kelly)
Our Earth: Christoph and Barbara Promberger (Laudators: Pinar Atalay and Markus Söder)
Legend: Peter Maffay (Laudator: Otto Waalkes)
The free available press material on BAMBI 2023 (texts, photos, moving images) can be found here: www.picdrop.com/hubertburdamedia/bambi23