"Listen to directors anddon't dream of being a star'do your job, be yourself, and it will work out inthe end."
That was Man To Man directorRegis Wargnier's advice to the 21 fresh-faced actors and actresses from aroundEurope chosen for the 8th Shooting Stars initiative last week.
Around 40 European castingagents are in town this weekend to cast a quizzical eye over the thesps. And in a bid to lend greater coherence tothe event, European Film Promotion (EFP), the body which runs Shooting Stars,is now pushing to organise a pan-European network for casting agents. "Thecasting people don't know each other, They work on a very national basis," saidEFP head Renate Rose.
The Shooting Star showcasedoesn't come cheap. Every EFP member country which has a star on display inBerlin must pay $3,200 (Euros 2,500) toward costs. There is considerablesponsorship money and Rose estimates that between $103,000 and $129,000 ofEFP's annual budget is pumped into the event.
Some of this money goestowards taking the Shooting Stars on tour later in the year. Faces seen here inBerlin are likely to travel to such festivals as Troia in Portugal and Sevillein Spain.
Since its launch in 1998,Shooting Stars has continued to mushroom. Nonetheless, Rose acknowledges thatthe lack of a proper European star system remains as much a problem now as itwas eight years ago. But even if it hasn't provided an instant panacea,Shooting Stars has helped actors such as Germany's Daniel Bruhl (GoodbyeLenin, The Edukators), not to mention Berlinale jury member Franka Potente,Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig.
EFP started in 1997 with 10member countries. There are now 25 members and rising, with Poland, Bulgariaand Rumania all in the frame to join. Rose confirmed that EFP will be continuingwith its "Producers On The Move" initiative in Cannes in May. It is also likelyto be organising a programme at Venice.