Screen profiles all the films in the Panorama strand for the Berlinale’s 2023 edition, which runs from Feb 16-26.

The Beast in the Jungle

Source: Berlinale

‘The Beast In The Jungle’

After (Fr)

Dir. Anthony Lapia
This French first feature follows two people who meet at a Parisian techno nightclub before going home together as their different lives and views collide as day approaches. Director Lapia also wrote and produced with his company Société Acéphale alongside Salt For Sugar Films. Five years in the making, the independent title and collaborative effort was shot for $65,000 (€60,000) with no state aid. After’s young cast includes 2023 César Revelation Louise Chevillotte (The World After Us), Majd Mastoura (Berlinale 2016 best actor winner for Mohamed Ben Attia’s Hedi) and Natalia Wiszniewska, who is also creative producer on the film.
Contact: Société Acéphale

All The Colours Of The World Are Between Black And White (Nigeria)

Dir. Babatunde Apalowo
UK-based Nigerian writer/­director Apalowo explores love, identity and self-discovery in his debut film about two men who meet, fall in love and have to navigate homophobia within their families and Lagos society at large. The film spent several years in development, had a challenging pre-production process and spent over a year in post, according to producer Damilola Orimogunje, whose previous collaborations with the director include 2022 short For Maria Ebun Pataki. The film is produced by Polymath Pictures, 2o9ine Films, Creative Black Production and Realm360 Production.
Contact: 2o9ine Films

Ambush (India)

Dir. Chhatrapal Ninawe
Ninawe’s debut Ambush (Ghaath) is a Marathi-­language thriller set in India’s jungles, occupied by Maoist rebels, and revolves around the tense interplay between guerrillas, civilians and the police. It is produced by Manish Mundra’s Drishyam Films and Shiladitya Bora’s Platoon One Films, which previously collaborated on Berlinale 2017 comedy-­drama Newton. Ambush was previously set to debut in Panorama in 2021 but was pulled weeks before its premiere. Both director Ninawe and producer Bora were previously selected for the Berlinale Talents programme, for which Ambush cinematographer Udit Khurana has been selected this year.
Contact: Shiladitya Bora, Platoon One Films

The Beast In The Jungle (Fr-Belg-Austria)

Dir. Patric Chiha
Chiha is back in Panorama following the world premiere of If It Were Love in Panorama Documentary in 2020. A freely adapted modern interpretation of Henry James’ 1903 novella, The Beast In The Jungle follows a man and woman over the course of 25 years as they frequent a huge nightclub in anticipation of a mysterious event. Produced by Return To Seoul producers Aurora Films, the tragic love story spans 1979 to 2004 and features a starry French cast including Anaïs Demoustier, Tom Mercier and Béatrice Dalle.
Contact: Tess Massé, Les Films du Losange

The Burdened (Yem-Sudan-Saudi)

Dir. Amr Gamal
The first co-production between Yemen, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, The Burdened (Al Murhaqoon) follows a Yemeni couple who, struggling with three children when they both lose their jobs, face a difficult decision when the wife becomes pregnant again. Gamal’s debut feature, 2018’s 10 Days Before The Wedding, was the first film in 30 years to receive a theatrical release in Yemen. His new film won the works-­in-progress post-production development award at Karlovy Vary last year. MAD Solutions acquired Arab rights at the Red Sea Souk project market in December.
Contact: Films Boutique

The Castle (Arg-Fr)

Dir. Martin Benchimol
Benchimol’s documentary examines the lengths a lifelong housekeeper will go to honour her promise to never sell an inherited, derelict mansion deep in the Argentinian Pampas. The project went through the IDFA 2022’s Forum Pitch and received two awards at last year’s WIP LatAm San Sebastian: the LatAm industry award and EGEDA platinum award for best work in progress. Gema Juarez Allen and Clarisa Oliveri of Gema Films produced with Mayra Bottero, in co-production with Heidi Fleisher and Julie Paratian for France’s Sister Productions. Benchimol previously co-directed 2017’s The Dread and 2012’s La Gente Del Rio, both with Pablo Aparo.
Contact: Luxbox

Do You Love Me? (Ukr-Swe)

Dir. Tonia Noyabrova
A 17-year-old woman, played by Karyna Khymchuk, has to grow up quickly as she witnesses the divorce of her parents, the collapse of one country and the birth of another. Noyabrova previously directed 2018’s Hero Of My Time, which won the Golden Duke for best director at Odesa International Film Festival. Do You Love Me? has been presented as a work in progress in Cannes, Stockholm, Tallinn Black Nights and San Sebastian.
Contact: Urban Sales

Drifter (Ger)

Dir. Hannes Hirsch
Hirsch’s debut feature Drifter is the story of 22-year-old Moritz, who embarks on a journey of self-­discovery through Berlin’s party scene after breaking up with his boyfriend. The director took the project to last year’s International Film­festival Mannheim-­Heidelberg’s Cutting Edge Talent Camp. Drifter is a co-production between Jost Hering Filme and Salzgeber, with the latter handling international sales.
Contact: Salzgeber


Source: Berlinale


Femme (UK)

Dirs. Sam H Freeman, Ng Choon Ping
George MacKay and Nathan Stewart-­Jarrett headline this London-­set thriller, which is the debut feature for Freeman and Ping, and is based on their British Independent Film Award-winning short of the same name. Femme unspools around a young drag queen who, after suffering a homo­phobic assault, has the chance to exact revenge on one of the attackers. Myles Payne and Sam Ritzenberg produce through Agile Films, alongside co-producer Hayley Williams, with co-financing by BBC Film and Anton. The latter also represents worldwide sales.
Contact: Anton Corp

Green Night (HK)

Dir. Han Shuai
In her first starring role since being embroiled in a tax scandal in 2018, Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing (I Am Not Madame Bovary, The 355) plays a Chinese woman drawn into a thrilling escape with a mysterious girl, which becomes her only chance of breaking free from a controlling Korean husband. Lee Joo Young and Kim Young Ho co-star in the film, which was shot entirely in South Korea in spring 2022. Produced by Liu Ziyi and Wang Jing, this is the second title from Chinese director Han, whose debut Summer Blur won the Berlinale’s Generation Kplus best feature award in 2021.
Contact: Cercamon

Hello Dankness (Australia)

Dir. Soda Jerk
Sydney-born siblings Dominique and Dan Angeloro, known collectively as Soda Jerk, sit at the intersection of film and art. Hello Dankness, co-commissioned by ongoing collaborators the Adelaide Film Festival and the Samstag Museum of Art, is the second part of a political trilogy. The first, Terror Nullius, criticised Australia to the extent that one of the film’s commissioners withdrew promotional support. The duo now turn their attention to the US suburbs in this latest film, comprising hundreds of manipulated samples from Hollywood films, much like a film version of a DJ mashup. The film screened at Adelaide Film Festival in October.
Contact: Soda Jerk

Heroic (Mex-Swe)

Dir. David Zonana
Mexico-based Zonana’s Heroic gets its European premiere following its bow in Sundance’s world cinema dramatic competition. Santiago Sandoval Carbajal plays a cadet pushed to the limit at the harsh national military academy. Heroic is the second feature from Zonana, whose Workforce premiered at Toronto in 2019 and won two of Mexico’s Ariel Awards including best first film. Zonana produces alongside Mexican enfant terrible Michel Franco, with whom he has collaborated for many years. Common Ground Pictures is the Swedish co-producer and Heroic received a grant from Film i Väst.
Contact: Flavien Eripret, Wild Bunch International (international); CAA Media Finance (US)

Inside (Gre-Ger-Belg)

Dir. Vasilis Katsoupis
The first English-language production from Greece’s Heretic, psychological thriller Inside stars Willem Dafoe as an art thief in a luxury New York penthouse whose latest heist goes awry. Commercials director Katsoupis makes his debut with the film, which was written by Ben Hopkins whose Simon Magus featured in Competition at the Berlinale in 1999. Germany’s Schiwago and Belgium’s A Private View co-produce Inside. Focus picked up worldwide rights, and Universal Pictures International will distribute worldwide excluding German-­speaking territories (Square One Entertainment).
Contact: Focus Features

Matria (Sp)

Dir. Alvaro Gago
A 2021 Screen Spain Star of Tomorrow, Gago’s debut feature is an adaptation of his 2017 short film of the same name, which won the Sundance short film grand jury prize. Matria is set in a Galician fishing village and follows a hard-­working woman struggling to make ends meet. Producers are Matriuska Producciones, Avalon PC, Elastica Films and Ringo Media. Support for the project has come from Toronto International Film Festival filmmaker’s lab, the MFI lab in Greece and the From Short To Long programme at CineMed in Montpellier.
Contact: Katarzyna Siniarska, New Europe Sales

Midwives (Fr)

Dir. Léa Fehner
A graduate of La Fémis film school in Paris, Fehner’s first feature Silent Voices (2009) was an early success, premiering at Venice and picking up a Louis Delluc Prize for best first film; her follow-up Les Ogres won the Rotterdam 2016 audience award. Fehner’s third feature Midwives (the French title Sage Femmes means midwives or ‘wise women’) focuses on two women (played by Khadija Kouyaté and Héloïse Janjaud) just starting out as midwives as they face up to the responsibilities and frenetic pace that come with birth, mother­hood and death in “the most beautiful profession in the world”. Midwives is produced by Geko Films and Arte France, and Fehner co-wrote the script with Catherine Paillé (The Sixth Child, Magnetic Beats).
Contact: Pyramide International

Opponent (Swe-Nor)

Dir. Milad Alami
After The Charmer and acclaimed TV series When The Dust Settles, Alami makes his Berlinale debut with his second feature Opponent, produced by Tangy’s Annika Rogell, whose credits include My Skinny Sister. Iranian-American actor Payman Maadi (who won a Silver Bear in 2011 for A Separation) plays an Iranian refugee in Sweden who tries to build a new life for his family, resuming his career as a wrestler while facing up to the reasons why he had to leave Iran. Opponent won the main Les Arcs work-in-progress award in 2021. TriArt will release in Sweden in March.
Contact: Indie Sales

Passages (Fr)

Dir. Ira Sachs
US indie darling Sachs’ European premiere arrives fresh from Sundance, where deals were closed with Mubi for the US, UK, Ireland and Latin America. Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw and Adele Exarchopoulos lead this Paris-set drama about a gay German director who admits to his husband that he has cheated on him with a woman. The filmmaker is forced to question his sexuality and his future when his partner has an affair of his own. Said Ben Said and Michel Merkt produce for SBS Productions. Sachs was previously in Berlin with Little Men in 2016, which also made its bow at Sundance.
Contact: SBS Distribution


Source: Berlinale


Perpetrator (US)

Dir. Jennifer Reeder
Reeder’s Perpetrator is a Shudder Original horror noir about a teenager who must unlock a special power to survive in a town where women are going missing. Kiah McKirnan (Mare Of Easttown) stars with Alicia Silverstone. Producers are Gregory Chambet for WTFilms and Derek Bishé for Divide/Conquer. Trevor Groth and Sarah Hong executive produced for 30West with Adam Hendricks and Greg Gilreath for Divide/Conquer, Dimitri Stephanides for WTFilms and Emily Gotto for Shudder.
Contact: WTFilms

Property (Braz)

Dir. Daniel Bandeira
The release of Bandeira’s second feature comes just months after his debut Peer Pressure (Amigos De Risco), which was made in 2007 but landed in cinemas last year because the sole copy went missing after screening at Sao Paulo International Film Festival in 2008. Property, a class-struggle drama pitting a wealthy woman against a group of farm workers, won best editing at the Festival do Rio in October 2022. Malu Galli stars alongside an ensemble of stage actors making their screen debuts, many of whom have personal experience of rural work, bringing authenticity to the project. Simio Filmes produces with Vilarejo Filmes.
Contact: Loco Films

The Quiet Migration (Den)

Dir. Malene Choi
After hybrid feature The Return, Denmark’s Choi again tackles trans-national adoption in her first fully fictional feature. The drama is about 19-year-old Carl, living a quiet life in the Danish countryside with his adoptive parents, who expect him to take over the family farm one day. But he begins to feel the pull of his native homeland, South Korea. The cast features Cornelius Won Riedel-Clausen in the lead, with Bodil Jorgensen, whose credits include The Kingdom Exodus, and Bjarne Henriksen from The Killing. The film took part in programmes including Torino ScriptLab, New Horizon Studio, Sources and Goteborg’s Discovery initiative. Ost for Paradis is handling distribution in Denmark, while Mer Film is the Norwegian distributor.
Contact: TrustNordisk

Reality (US)

Dir. Tina Satter
Satter’s feature directing debut recounts through FBI transcripts the true story of Reality Winner, a former US Air Force member and NSA translator who was given the longest prison sentence ever imposed for unauthorised release of government information to the media. Sea­view and 2 Sq Ft produced in association with Burn These Words, In The Cut, Fit Via Vi, Tanbark Pictures and Cinereach.
Contact: UTA Independent Film Group (US), WME Independent; mk2 Films (international)

Silver Haze (Neth-UK)

Dir. Sacha Polak
A young nurse seeks comeuppance 15 years after a traumatic event, in Polak’s follow-up to Rotterdam 2019 premiere Dirty God. Polak is sticking with her Dirty God team for this UK-shot title — Vicky Knight returns as the lead, with the story partly inspired by Knight’s own experiences, after one third of her body was burnt in a fire when she was eight years old. Marleen Slot of Viking Film is back as producer alongside Michael Elliott of EMU Films, with financing from Netherlands Film Fund and BBC Film.
Contact: New Europe Film Sales

Sira (Burkina Faso-Fr-Ger-Sen)

Dir. Apolline Traoré
The latest drama from Burkinabé filmmaker Traoré follows a young woman in her struggle to survive and seek justice after being raped by Islamist terrorists and left for dead in the desert. Traoré’s credits include 2019’s Desrances (which received a special honour at Fespaco), 2017’s Borders (World Cinema Amsterdam audience award) and 2013’s Moi Zaphira (African Movie Academy Awards best African-language film). Sira, which shot in 450C heat in the desert last summer, is co-­produced by Tom Tykwer’s One Fine Day Films, which joined with the help of the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund.
Contact: Wide

The Siren (Fr-Ger-Lux-Belg)

Dir. Sepideh Farsi
This animated European co‑­production is set in Abadan in 1980 as the capital of the Iranian oil industry resists an Iraqi siege. The Panorama opener follows a 14-year-old food delivery boy searching for his missing brother, who brings his grandfather and a group of unusual characters to an abandoned boat-turned-ark as they try to resist and escape the besieged city. The timely title is the first animated feature from Iran-born, France-based filmmaker Farsi, who has earned awards and critical acclaim for several of her past live-action films including Red Rose (2014) and 7 Veils (2017).
Contact: Bac Films

Sisi & I (Ger-Switz-Austria)

Dir. Frauke Finsterwalder
Sisi & I is the second biopic of eccentric and extravagant Austro-­Hungarian Empress Sisi to hit the big screen after 2022’s award-­winning Corsage. This film is billed as a fresh new look at the empress, played by Susanne Wolff, through her relationship with her lady-in-waiting Irma (Toni Erdmann star Sandra Hüller). Finsterwalder co-wrote Sisi & I with her husband, the bestselling German author Christian Kracht. The pair previously collaborated on award-­winning German satire Finster­world, which premiered at Montreal World Film Festival in 2013. Sisi & I is produced by Germany’s Walker Worm Film.
Contact: The Match Factory 

The Teachers’ Lounge (Ger)

Dir. Ilker Catak
Catak’s latest film sees Leonie Benesch, whose credits include Around The World In 80 Days and The Crown, star as a young teacher who investigates a school theft — but the consequences of her actions threaten to break her. The Teachers’ Lounge is the German director’s fourth feature, following 2017 coming-of-age story Once Upon A Time… Indianerland, 2019’s relationship drama I Was, I Am, I Will Be (which had its world premiere at Munich Film Festival and was nominated for five German Film Awards) and 2021 book adaptation Stambul Garden. The Teachers’ Lounge is produced by Ingo Fliess of If… Productions, and is a co-­production with ZDF/Arte.
Contact: Pamela Leu, Be For Films

Panorama Documentary

'Eternal Memory'

Source: MTV Documentary Films

‘Eternal Memory’

And, Towards Happy Alleys (India)

Dir. Sreemoyee Singh
Inspired by Iranian cinema and poetry, first-time director Singh spent six years in Tehran interviewing filmmakers, activists and women to create a portrait of a nation on the edge of revolution. Contributors include actor Taraneh Alidoosti, star of Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar winner The Salesman, director Mohammad Shirvani, and 2015 Golden Bear winner Jafar Panahi, recently released on bail while serving a six-year prison sentence for criticising the Iranian government. The documentary is highlighted by the Berlinale as part of the festival’s efforts to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran during a time of ongoing protests against the current regime.
Contact: Happy Alley Films

The Cemetery Of Cinema (Fr-Sen-Guinea-Saudi)

Dir. Thierno Souleymane Diallo
First-time Guinean filmmaker Souleymane Diallo embarks on a search for Mamadou Touré’s lost 1953 film Mouramani, the first film shot by a Black francophone African. He takes a journey into the history of cinema in Guinea and the importance of film preservation. The documentary, developed with the support of the CNC and l’Institut Francais’ Aide aux Cinémas du Monde and the recipient of a post-production award worth $10,000 at Red Sea International Film Festival, makes its world premiere at Berlin. It is produced by France’s L’Image d’Apres and JPL Productions, and Senegal’s Lagune Productions.
Contact: Reservoir Docs,

The Eternal Memory (Chile)

Dir. Maite Alberdi
Chilean filmmaker Alberdi’s follow-­up to her 2021 Oscar-nominated documentary The Mole Agent keeps the focus on senior citizens and follows Augusto and Paulina, whose 25 years together are challenged when Augusto, a noted cultural commentator, succumbs to Alzheimer’s disease and Pauline becomes his loving carer. The film is produced by Pablo Larrain and Juan de Dios Larrain’s Fabula and went through the 2022 IDFA Pitch Forum. The feature gets its European premiere following a debut in Sundance’s world cinema documentary competition.
Contact: Submarine; UTA Independent Film Group

Iron Butterflies (Ukr-Ger)

Dir. Roman Liubyi
Ukrainian filmmaker Liubyi examines the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, which was brought down by separatist Russian forces, killing all 298 people on board. The documentary gets its European bow at Berlin following a well-received premiere at Sundance. Iron Butterflies is produced by Ukrainian film collective Babylon 13, which was created in response to crackdowns after Kyiv’s Euromaidan protests in 2013 and who also produced Liubyi’s previous documentary War Note.
Contact: Rise And Shine World Sales

Joan Baez I Am A Noise (US)

Dirs. Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky, Maeve O’Boyle
Facing the end of a 60-year musical career, legendary singer and activist Joan Baez reflects on her life and career and reveals the personal struggles she has kept secret until now. The film weaves together footage from Baez’s farewell world tour with previously unseen images. Navasky and O’Connor of Mead Street Films are producing the documentary, and have made a number of PBS Frontline documentaries including Growing Up Trans and Facing Death.
Contact: Submarine

Kokomo City (US)

Dir. D Smith
Two-time Grammy-nominated trans songwriter/producer Smith’s feature directing debut was a hit when it premiered at Sundance, sparking the first on-site deal of the festival as Magnolia Pictures acquired worldwide rights. It centres on four Black trans sex workers in Atlanta and New York City as they break down the walls of their profession and discuss desire, taboo and gender. Kokomo City receives its international premiere in Berlin, where Magnolia International kicks off its world sales.
Contact: Magnolia Pictures

Stams (Austria)

Dir. Bernhard Braunstein
Braunstein’s documentary explores Stams, one of the most prestigious skiing schools in the world. The film follows the ambitious athletes as they train, compete and navigate life at a boarding school. The film is Braunstein’s second after Atelier De Conversation (2017). Produced by Austria’s Panama Film with backing from the Austrian Film Institute, ORF Film, Filmstandort Austria, Land Salzburg, Cine Tirol, Stadt Salzburg and an Austrian government Covid grant, Stams is distributed by Filmladen, Stadtkino and Kinobetriebs.
Contact: Rise And Shine World Sales

Transfariana (Fr-Col)

Dir. Joris Lachaise
This unexpected love story between a trans former sex worker and a Farc rebel starts off in a Colombian prison, then focuses on a rebellious marriage as it extends into the urban network of Bogota, the Colombian countryside and a clash of activists and militants who have laid down their arms. Mujo produces this France-Colombia co-production with Romeo and Fuega Cine.
Contact: Natalia Isotta, MPM Premium

Under The Sky Of Damascus (Den-Ger-US-Syria)

Dirs. Heba Khaled, Talal Derki, Ali Wajeeh
Documentary Under The Sky Of Damascus follows young Syrian women who denounce violence against their peers in Syria and stage a theatre project that collates their accounts and experience of violence. This collaborative effort sees Derki complete his Syrian war trilogy after Return To Homs and Of Fathers And Sons, which both won jury prizes at Sundance in 2014 and 2018, respectively. Experienced documentary producer Sigrid Dyekjaer (The Territory) produces for Real Lava.
Contact: Submarine

Profiles by Ellie Calnan, Tim Dams, Patricia Dobson, Sandy George, Jeremy Kay, Rebecca Leffler, Wendy Mitchell, Jean Noh, Michael Rosser, Mona Tabbara, Silvia Wong