10 European actors to be celebrated by EFP in Berlin.

The UK’s Maisie Williams and Denmark’s Joachim Fjelstrup are among ten European acting talents to watch who have been selected for the line-up of European Film Promotion’s (EFP) Shooting Stars showcase at the 65th Berlinale (Feb 5-15).

An international jury of film professionals comprising Slovenian producer Danijel Hocevar, Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska, Swedish actress Eva Röse, UK film journalist Damon Wise, and French casting director Nathalie Cheron made its selection of six actresses and four actors from 23 nominations submitted by EFP member organisations.

The line-up for the 18th edition of Shooting Stars - with their nominated films - is as follows:

- Denmark: Joachim Fjelstrup (Itsi Bitsi)

- Finland: Emmi Parviainen (The Princess Of Egypt)

- Germany: Jannis Niewöhner (Sapphire Blue)

- Iceland: Hera Hilmer (Life In A Fishbowl)

- Ireland: Moe Dunford (Patrick’s Day)

- Lithuania: Aistė Diržiūtė (The Summer Of Sangaile)

- Spain: Natalia de Molina (Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed )

- Switzerland: Sven Schelker (The Circle)

- The Netherlands: Abbey Hoes (Nena)

- UK: Maisie Williams (The Falling)

This year sees the selection skewed even more in the direction of Western Europe by garnering nine of the 10 Shooting Stars, with  only Lithuania’s Aistė Diržiūtėrepresenting the Eastern half of the continent.

17-year-old Maisie Williams, one of this year’s Screen International UK Stars of Tomorrow, is best known for her role as Arya Stark in HBO’s TV series Game Of Thrones and has also been cast as one of the leads in Carol Morley’s drama The Falling, while Joachim Fjelstrup has made an impressive screen acting debut - just after graduating from drama school in Denmark - portraying the 1960’s rock star legend Eik Skaloe in Ole Christian Madsen’s romantic biopic Itsi Bitsi.

Madsen’s film, which is being handled internationally by The Match Factory, had its world premiere in Toronto in September and will be released theatrically in Denmark in February.

Screen debuts

Another two memorable screen debuts are delivered by Switzerland’s Sven Schelker and Lithuania’s Aistė Diržiūtė.

Schelker has been a permanent member of the acting ensemble at Hamburg’s Thalia Theatre since 2012, but become known to international audiences after playing one of the leads - as Röbi Rapp - in Stefan Haupt’s award-winning The Circle which is Switzerland’s entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar and is also in the running for a Golden Globe

Diržiūtė, meanwhile, has had her first major film acting role - as the lead in Alantė Kavaitė’s second feature The Summer Of Sangaile - even before she has completed her studies at the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy in Vilnius.

The Summer Of Sangaile will have its world premiere at Sundance’s World Dramatic Feature Competition in January.

From an early age

At the same time, other actors in this year’s Shooting Stars line-up can already look back on an acting career begun at an early age

Germany’s Jannis Niewöhner, for example, had his first acting role at the age of 10 in an episode of the Tatort crime series and has since matured into the romantic lead of two films based on Kerstin Gier’s bestselling fantasy time-travel Ruby Red trilogy. This year saw Niewöhner making his international acting debut in Mika Kaurismäki’s forthcoming historical drama The Girl King.

Iceland’s Hera Hilmar made her debut as a child actor in Hilmar Oddsson’s Tears Of Stone in 1995 and most recently appeared as the single mother Eik in Balvin Z’s Life In A Fishbowl, a huge local box-office hit that has been selected as Iceland’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film.

Meanwhile, Finland’s Emmi Parvainen, who graduated from Helsinki’s Theatre Academy with a Master’s degree this year, has two decades of acting under belt, but made her real breakthrough with her portrayal of the single mother Marja in Jan Forsström’s debut film The Princess Of Egypt.


The honour of Shooting Star has also been bestowed on Natalia de Molina who has taken Spanish cinema by storm with her first major film role in David Trueba’s 2013 comedy drama Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed — which has won five prizes, including the Goya Award for Best New Actress, for her performance as the hitchhiker Belén.

The Shooting Stars jury was also convinced by Dutch actress Abbey Hoes’ starring role in Saskia Diesing’s drama Nena, which won her the Best Actress in a Feature Film Golden Calf at the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht this year.

2014 also saw Abbey also appearing opposite the late UK actor Rik Mayall in Ineke Houtman’s new film Escape and playing a young version of Maruschka Detmers’ lead character Laura in Nicole van Kilsdonk’s Ventoux.

And Ireland’s Moe Dunford is following on from a long line of past Irish Shooting Stars such as Domhnall Gleeson, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Sarah Bolger and Pádraic Delaney.

Dunford was nominated at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh for the prestigious Bingham Ray New Talent Award in recognition of his role as Patrick, a patient suffering from schizophrenia, in Terry McMahon’s award-winning Patrick’s Day.

Dunford also has recurring lead role - as Aethelwulf - in History Channel/MGM’s international TV series Vikings.

The Shooting Stars will spend three days - February 7-9 - during the Berlinale in meeting agents, casting directors and filmmakers as well as giving interviews to international media and attending evening receptions to network.

As a highlight to their weekend in Berlin, the ten young thespians will each be presented with a special award sponsored by the Shooting Stars main partner Tesiro as part of a red carpet ceremony at the Berlinale Palast.

Latvia joins EFP

Latvia has become the 35th European country to join Hamburg-based EFP after the application by the National Film Centre of Latvia (NFC) was accepted become a member by the EFP membership.

Latvia had previously been a member of EFP - along with Lithuania and Estonia - as part of the Baltic Films umbrella organisation.

However, a year ago, both Lithuania and Estonia applied successfully to become individual members of the pan-European promotion organisation.

The same step by Latvia came on the eve of the first edition of the Riga International Film Festival and ahead of the Latvian capital hosting the European Film Awards on December 13 as one event of its year as a European Capital of Culture.