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Berlin unveils competition jury

Filmmakers Susanne Bier, Andreas Dresen and Shirin Neshat have been named as members of the Berlinale’s seven-person International Jury headed by Chinese director Wong Kar Wai.

Speaking at the festival’s official press conference on Monday morning, director Dieter Kosslick also revealed that he has invited US director-cinematographer Ellen Kuras, Greek director-producer Athina Rachel Tsangari, and US actor-director Tim Robbins to pronounce judgement on the 19 films in the Competition.

Meanwhile, alongside the Homage and Golden Honorary Bear for the veteran director Claude Lanzmann – the first time a documentary film-maker has received this distinction from the Berlinale - the festival will bestow two Berlinale Cameras on the actress-director Isabella Rossellini and Germany’s “national treasure” Rosa von Praunheim.

The Berlinale Cameras have been presented by the festival since 1986 to film personalities or institutions “that have made a unique contribution to film and to whom the festival feels especially close.” Past recipients include Claude Chabrol, Clint Eastwood and Otto Sander.

Digital revolution

Speaking to Screen Daily, Kosslick said that the Berlinale is experiencing the digital shift at first hand: “This year, we have less than 10% on 35mm out of the 400 films in the programme.

“That’s a real revolution: in just a year, there are practically no more 35mm films.

“The rapid changes in the technology has meant us having to invest millions in making the cinemas equipped for digital projection, we had a company in South Germany build a machine specially for us to convert the films to the digital format. That was an enormous investment for us.”

Talent line-up

He added that the Competition and Berlinale Special sections were set to welcome directors as diverse as Bille August, Denis Coté, Michael Winterbottom, Malgoska Szumowska, Tom Hooper and Steven Soderbergh to Berlin next month.

Glitz and glamour would be provided by the likes of Anne Hathaway, Julie Delpy, Emma Stone, Juliette Binoche, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Til Schweiger and more.

In reply to the question whether George Clooney would be attending the festival, Kosslick countered that the US actor-director doesn’t have to come to Berlin because he is already there preparing for his next directorial effort The Monuments Men, which will be shot in Germany later this year.

Berlinale Cinema Day

Berlinale sidebar Perspektive Deutsches Kino will follows its tradition of showing the winner of this year’s Max Ophüls Prize by screening Rainer Frimmel and Tizza Covi’s The Shine Of Day (Der Glanz des Tages) on the last day of the festival, the so-called Berlinale Cinema Day (Feb 17)

Frimmel and Covi’s second fiction feature film after their 2010 production La Pivellina premiered in Locarno last year where it won a Best Actor Leopard for Walter Saabel as well as the Don Quixote Prize and a special mention from the Ecumenical Jury.

In Saarbrücken, The Shine Of Day was the second Austrian film in a row to take the festival’s top award after Markus Schleinzer’s Michael went home with the Max Ophüls Film Prize last year.

And Austria scored another success with Katharina Mückstein receiving the Saarland Prime-Minister’s Film Prize for her debut Talea.

Interfilm and Youth Jury prizes

Meanwhile, Stefan Schaller’s Fünf Jahre Leben, which had its world premiere at the Max Ophüls festival before its first international screening in Rotterdam this week, was awarded the prizes from the Interfilm and Youth Juries.

The drama, which is inspired by the true story of the German Turk Murat Kurnaz who was detained at Guantanamo Bay, is being handled internationally by Global Screen and released by Zorro Film in Germany on May 23.

In addition, the newcomer actor awards went to Max Mauff (In der Überzahl) and Jasna Fritzi Bauer (Scherbenpark), while the Documentary Jury’s prize went to Dragan von Petrovic and Lena Müller’s Dragan Wende West-Berlin and the DEFA Foundation’s Support Prize to Andy Wolff for Der Kapitän und sein Pirat.

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