As the Berlinale kicks off today, its competition jury has been cut from eight to six people as Susanne Bier and Sandrine Bonnaire have dropped out of jury duty.

Danish director Bier has had to go to the US unexpectedly to work on her next film. 'The bags were already packed, however an unforeseen occurrence demanded my immediate professional presence elsewhere,' she said. 'For that reason I was unfortunately not able to perform the task of a jury member. I am very sad about this.'

And French actress/director Bonnaire had to resign because she could not stay in Berlin for the entire festival. She will go ahead with her lecture at the Berlin Talent Campus, however. 'For me it was a great honour to have been appointed to the Berlinale jury and I was looking forward to enjoying the ten-day cinematic journey,' she said. 'However, for family reasons, I've been forced to cancel and ask everyone involved for their understanding. I'm so sorry about this, and wish Dieter Kosslick and his team the very best for the festival in the coming days.'

The Berlinale isn't expected to replace them. The jury will now be comprised of president Costa-Gavras and jury members Uli Hanisch, Diane Kruger, Walter Murch, Shu Qi, and Alexander Rodniansky.