Save the date: On 16 November, BAMBI's 75th birthday, Germany's most glamorous event celebrates its comeback after a four-year break! Time for a little foretaste and a look back at 75 years of BAMBI
BAMBI has been attracting stars and idols for 75 years, combining glamour and unpretentiousness like no other media award. Many people have been several times. But for me it was a first - and I immediately caught BAMBI fever.
So here I am. My childhood idols have just whizzed past me - including comedian Otto Waalkes and presenter Thomas Gottschalk. Just before, German singer and songwriter Wincent Weiss even winked at me as he patiently greeted his fans and took selfies with them. Fans who had waited and screamed for hours in the rain on the red carpet to see stars like actress Karoline Herfurth, German rapper and singer Nina Chuba, former professional footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger and countless other stars and starlets.
Here they are. The ladies in breathtaking dresses. Opulent, colourful, glittering, wild, extravagant. I have literally never seen so many stunning gowns in my life.
This evening will be special. After a three-year break, Germany's biggest, most important and most prestigious media award is not only celebrating its comeback, but also its 75th anniversary. And it promises to be a big one!
As part of the host team, my colleagues and I are responsible for reporting on the event - internally, externally and on social media. So, we arrive early at the Bavaria film studios. We are there many hours before the guests and watch as dozens of people storm the studios from all directions - caterers, chefs, camera teams, craftsmen, they all flock to BAMBI. There are countless people vacuuming the red carpet before the guests arrive, polishing the cars and of course the golden deer. More than 800 people were involved in making this event happen, as Burda Executive Board Member Philipp Welte will tell us later in his speech. And that the BAMBI award ceremony is not just an event, but rather a family celebration. And indeed, I keep seeing people hugging and greeting each other like family. Journalists, colleagues, and other people who have "always" been involved in BAMBI and meet there every year - just like a big family coming together for a special occasion.
Before the show starts, I stand on the red carpet and watch the stars and award winners arrive one by one in their limousines. On the other side, countless fans wait in the "fan blocks" in the pouring rain, sometimes for hours, just to get a selfie with their favourite star or an autograph. Some try to entice their idols towards them: "We've got an umbrella! "or "Open your coat a bit!" One photographer shouts at a woman who has just stepped out of her limousine and says: "Put the man in the middle!". She has done this before and knows what to say. I suppose she has covered a lot of red carpet events with her camera, and maybe even a few Bambis.
But it's certainly not over for the guests once they've arrived. The red carpet is 300 metres long and leads past a frenzy of flashbulbs as hundreds of journalists try to get the best shots of the stars and interviews on the red carpet.
At 7.45pm, a loudspeaker announces that guests should take their seats in the hall. Some rush to the cloakroom at the last minute, others end their conversations with their idols and quickly take selfies.
Before the television broadcast starts, Burda Executive Board Member Philipp Welte addresses the audience in a "pre-show" speech and promises a "glamorous night in which Germany bows down to its idols". And this it will certainly be.
Laudators such as comedian Otto Waalkes and actresses Veronica Ferres and Franka Potente will present the Golden Stags in twelve categories. Actors, filmmakers, and musicians will be honoured, as well as courageous people and those who have made a difference in society. 800 invited guests listen to their stories together with publisher Hubert Burda. The hall stands still as Kremlin critic Alexej Nawalny is awarded a Bambi for his courage. When his wife Juliya Nawalnaja accepts the golden deer on his behalf, when his story is told, from the poisoning to his arrest in 2022 and his sentence to 19 years in prison for "extremism", when the laudator Ursula von der Leyen praises his commitment to freedom, democracy and human rights and says: "This unyielding man deserves our solidarity.” Yes, there are a few political statements that carry weight on this evening.
The anniversary edition of the BAMBI is an ode to freedom. Filmmakers and actors also mention the word again and again in their laudatory and acceptance speeches. Freedom for all, regardless of gender, nationality, or sexual preference.
Winning a BAMBI comes as a complete surprise to two people this evening on the 75th anniversary of BAMBI: with tears in his eyes, presenter Giovanni Zarrella is crowned the "new Mr Entertainment" by his colleague and fellow presenter Nazan Eckes and is awarded the BAMBI in the category "Entertainment." Paediatric nurse Karin Eckstein is equally surprised when her neighbour at the table, Michael Patrick Kelly, suddenly stands up and announces that she is about to receive a BAMBI for her unwavering commitment to those who cannot help themselves. There's not a dry eye in the house tonight at the anniversary edition of the BAMBI.
Also honoured were Karoline Herfurth in the category “Actress National”, Felix Kammerer as “Actor National”, Hollywood star Mads Mikkelsen as “Actor International.” "Oscar's Dress" won in the category “Film”, Peter Maffay in the category "Legend", the incomparable Senta Berger for her life's work, the German national basketball team after their sensational victory at the 2023 World Cup in the category “Sport”, Zara Larsson as International Musician and the married couple Christoph and Barbara Promberger for their commitment in the category "Our Earth". The People’s Choice Award, which was still being voted for during the programme, went to singer and Content Creator Ayliva.
By the way, we don't watch the award ceremony with the other guests in the hall, but on a big screen in the press area. But while the viewers at home see commercial breaks, for us the show continues. When the BAMBI melody is played at the beginning of the show, some of the journalists hum along to it and cheer loudly happy that it's "finally BAMBI time again". Glitz, glamour, and idols. All of this comes together at BAMBI: family, courage, and togetherness. I toast to that - while dancing at the packed after-show party. The BAMBI award winners now have a break - and are celebrating in style, socialising, networking, and forgetting the darkness of the world for an evening. Because when the world stands still for a moment, when glamour and glamour fill the room and friends come together to celebrate life, you know it’s BAMBI time.