New films by Terrence Malick, Chen Kaige and Oskar Roehler are among the first nine titles confirmed for the Berlin Film Festival next February.

Star power accompanying the six world premieres which have been announced should include: Sigourney Weaver, Heath Ledger, George Clooney and Matt Damon among others.

The premieres include Roehler'sadaptation of Michel Houellebecq's controversialbestseller The Elementary Particles,entitled Atomised, with CelluloidDreams as sales agent.

Hans-Christian Schmid's Requiem, a story about an exorcism in West Germany in the 1970s (the same case which inspired the recent Sony Pictures release of The Exorcism of Emily Rose) will be another world premiere, alongside Australian NeilArmfield's Candy, starring Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish asa young couple involved in drugs.

Rounding out the premieres are Snow Cake, Marc Evans' unusual love story starring Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver; Thai directorPen-ek Ratanaruang's psychological thriller Invisible Waves; and Bosnian director JasmilaZbanic's feature debut Grbavica, about the fate of a rape victim in theturmoil following the war in the Balkans.

Meanwhile, Out of Competition screenings areconfirmed for Terrence Malick's The New World,with Colin Farrell; Stephen Gaghan's political thriller Syriana,featuring producer and leading man George Clooney; and Chen Kaige's martial arts adventure The Promise ( aka Master of the Crimson Armor).

Speakingto Screen Daily about the competitionline-up, festival director Dieter Kosslick said: "In the Competition, there are newcomers andpeople who have never been in an international competition before. What will beparticularly strong is the German presence in all of the Berlinale'ssections - the year was very good and we will have as many German films as wecan, although I can't put more than eight German films in the Competition!

"We'll be showing some really good and quite different kinds of German films - that's what pleases me most that we have managed to realise this in my fifthyear [as festival director]."

A diverse programme is also emergingfor Kinderfilmfest, the Berlinale's children's and youthfilm competition. Kinderfilmfest will open with the international premiere of Opal Dream, director Peter Cattaneo's story of agirl whose lively imaginary friends become a real threat to her family in theAustralian outback.

A German contribution to the Kinderfilmfest has already been confirmed with the worldpremiere of Anne Wild's Hansel undGretel. Using poetic images, Wild takes a fresh approach to this Germanfairytale. The Swedish contribution Percy,Buffalo Bill &Jag (Percy, Buffalo Bill & I) by director Anders Gustafssonis a children's film in the best tradition of Scandinavian storytelling cinema.

Het Paard van Sinterklaas (Winky's Horse)from the Netherlands and Mizu no Hana (Water Flower) from Japan invite audiences to take further journeys around theworld. Austria is represented with the world premiere of Wolfgang Murnberger's Lapislazuli.


Hansel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) by Anne Wild, Germany 2005

Het Paard van Sinterklaas (Winky's Horse) by Mischa Kamp, Netherlands 2005

Lapislazuli byWolfgang Murnberger, Austria 2005

Mizu no Hana (WaterFlower) by Kinoshita Yusuke, Japan 2005

Opal Dream byPeter Cattaneo, Britain/Australia 2005

Percy, Buffalo Bill &Jag (Percy, Buffalo Bill & I) by Anders Gustafsson,Sweden 2005


Fyra Veckor i Juni (Four Weeks in June) by Henry Meyer, Sweden 2005

Het Schnitzel Paradijs(Schnitzel Paradise)by Martin Koolhoven, Netherlands 2005

Lovitor (Catcher) by Farkhot Abdoullayev, Russia 2005

The Aggressives by Jeong Jae-Eun,Republic of Korea 2005

You and Me byMa Li-Wen, Hong Kong, China 2005