Romania's Anamaria Marinca, Germany's Hannah Herzsprung and the UK's Andrew Garfield are among nine of the best young actors in Europe who have been named by European Film Promotion (EFP) as the Shooting Stars of 2008 to be showcased at the forthcoming Berlinale.
They were selected by a jury of prominent industry figures including the German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, UK actress Lucy Russell, Danish producer Vibeke Windeløv, LA-based personal manager/producer Derek Power, and the Rome-based casting director Beatrice Kruger from 22 promising acting talents nominated by EFP's member organisations.
Commenting on their deliberations, the jury noted that it was 'refreshing to see such a high level of excellence in both the filmmaking and the depth of performances (...) we were extremely challenged to limit our choices under the circumstances, so strong was the level of work.'
The Shooting Stars for 2008 are:
Joel Basman (Switzerland): discovered during the casting of the box-office hit Mein Name Ist Eugen, his portrayal of a young dropout auctioning himself on the Internet in Dominique de Rivaz's new feature Life For Sale prompted the jury to enthuse about his 'freshness and vitality, with the promise of much to come.'
Nicolas Cazale (France): after making his film debut in Gael Morel's 2001 film Under Another Sky, Cazale was cast in the male lead for such films as Julio Medem's Chaotic Ana and Eric Guirado's The Grocer's Son where his portrayal of a prodigal son returning home was described by the judges as 'charismatic and versatile: a new Delon''
Stine Fischer Christensen (Denmark): currently a student at The Danish National School of Theatre, her credits includes Anders Morgenthaler's Princess and Echo and her award-winning performance in Susanne Bier's After The Wedding as the emotionally tied-up daughter which led the jury to speak of her 'large range and pitch-perfect sincerity.'
Andrew Garfield (UK): after making his cinema acting debut in Robert Redford's Lions For Lambs, he follows this with the lead in John Crowley's powerful coming-of-age story Boy A and a performance described by the judges as 'emotionally devastating coupled with unexpected charm.'
Elio Germano (Italy): having worked in the past with such directors as Gabriele Salvatores, Dario Argento and Michele Placido, his 'humorously quirky' performance in Daniele Luchetti's My Brother Is An Only Child won him a Best Actor David and also earnt him a nomination in the European Actor 2007 category at the 20th European Film Awards.
Maryam Hassouni (The Netherlands): characterised by the jury as having 'an exotic appeal combined with nuanced delivery', she appeared opposite the internationally known Monique Hendrickx in Albert ter Heerdt's Kicks and reprises her role as Dunya in the big screen version of Dana Nechushtan's Dunya and Desie TV series.
Hannah Herzsprung (Germany): her feature film acting debut in Chris Kraus's Four Minutes - lauded by the jury as 'a dazzling tour-de-force' - brought her to wider public attention and garnered numerous awards. She is now working in English for the first time on Stephen Daldry's The Reader.
Anamaria Marinca (Romania): first coming to public attention with her award-winning role in the Channel 4 series Sex Traffic, she was nominated for European Actress 2007 at this year's European Film Awards for her performance in 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, which the jury praised as 'gutsy, subtle and heart-rending.'
Zsolt Nagy (Hungary): appearing in 14 films since graduating from the Hungarian Academy of Drama and Film in 2000, he won the 2004 Hungarian Film Critics' prize for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Kontroll. He was likened by the jury to 'a latter day Raging Bull' for his portrayal of a hardened young outlaw in Erik Novak's debut Nosedive.
Apart from the innovation of appointing a jury to select the lineup of Shooting Stars at the Berlinale, next year will also see each of the actors having their films presented either in the Berlinale festival programme or at the European Film Market, and then around the world at various international film festivals throughout 2008. EFP will also organise workshops and master classes for the chosen nine to deliver further benefit to the Shooting Stars.