Ambra Angiolini, Italy
Angiolini had already made her name in the 1990s as a TV starlet and presenter before returning to performing in theatre some years later, reinventing herself as a serious actress. She made her film debut last year in Ferzan Ozpetek's Saturno Contro, gaining overnight credibility and winning a best supporting actress prize at last year's Davide di Donatello awards. She has since made Cristina Comencini's Black And White, presently on release in Italy via 01 Distribution, where it has earned $6.8m (EUR4.3m) in its first three weeks. Producer Marco Chimenz of Cattleya, the Rome-based production company behind Black And White, likens Angiolini's appeal to the icons of Italian cinema. "She has that instant big movie star appeal reminiscent of the actors from the 1960s or 70s." Venice festival artistic director Marco Muller first noticed Angiolini in her feature debut last year and referred to her as a "new and promising talent of Italian cinema". He then invited her to host the opening ceremony of the Venice festival's 64th edition.
Contact: TNA, Moira Mazzantini: (39) 06 808 2433
Veronica Echegui, Spain
Echegui, heavily tipped as the one to watch by many industry insiders in Spain, first appeared on the national radar in 2006 as a fame-hungry teenager from the sticks in Bigas Luna's Yo Soy La Juani. Luna chose Echegui over 3,000 other hopefuls for the role, which earned her a Goya nomination. Echegui can soon be seen in Antonio Hernandez's satire The Lesser Evil, as well as Basque family drama La Casa De Mi Padre and parallel relationships tale Va De Citas, both awaiting release. She has recently also finished shooting the $4.4m prison drama El Patio De Mi Carcel, produced by El Deseo and directed by newcomer Belen Macias. Jose Antonio Felez, executive producer of Tesela, who worked with Echegui on Spanish-Argentinian co-production Tocar El Cielo, says: "The world really is her oyster as an actress. She is intelligent, diligent, disciplined, and prepared to take risks. And she's an excellent team player."
Contact: Mesala Films, (34) 915 2411 68
Mark Waschke, Germany
Waschke has spent the last 10 years as part of the ensemble of Berlin's legendary Schaubuehne theatre, only making the occasional foray into television and cinema work. Last year, he was tempted to play the lead in Stefan Krohmer and Daniel Nocke's TV movie Mitte 30 about the trials and tribulations of life as a thirtysomething. This was followed by the plum role of Thomas Buddenbrook in Heinrich Breloer's $22.3m (EUR15m) adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel Buddenbrooks, which Warner Bros will release in Germany on December 25 this year. "Waschke fulfilled our expectations and held his own against more experienced screen actors such as Jessica Schwarz, Iris Berben and August Diehl," says Buddenbrooks producer Uschi Reich of casting the relative unknown. "He has a good chance of making a career in cinema and on television. And this film will certainly move into the international arena."
Contact: Agentur Hoestermann, (49) 30 69 50 18 81
Denis Moschitto, Germany
Moschitto has his Turkish-Italian parentage to thank for his dramatic looks and ability to speak five languages - Italian, Turkish, German, French and English. He is mainly known to German audiences for his roles in local comedies such as Anno Saul's Kebab Connection and Superseks. But the 30-year-old has shown his expanding range with a dramatic role as a wannabe drug boss from the Hamburg suburbs in Ozgur Yildirim's feature debut Chiko, which is making its world premiere in the Berlinale's Panorama section. "He began training like a madman and put on over 10 kilos," says Yildirim of Moschitto's commitment to the role. "Denis has great sensitivity. He interpreted the figure of Chiko from the outset, as I had imagined. Each day with Denis was an exciting one as he brought Chiko to life and continually inspired me anew."
Contact: Players, (49) 30 28 51 68 0
Clara Lago, Spain
Just 17 years old, Clara Lago has already starred in two successful long-running Spanish TV series Los Hombres De Paco and Hospital Central - the Spanish equivalent to ER. She also has six films under her belt, including the lead role in Carol's Journey (2002), in which she played a 12-year-old Spanish-American girl living in New York who moves with her mother to Spain in 1938 at the height of the Civil War. That role gained her a best new actress nomination at the Goya Awards. She is now starring in Manuel Gomez Pereira's drama El Juego Del Ahorcado about a woman who reflects on her relationship with her lover who just committed suicide. Lago is also set to star in Oskar Santos Gomez's El Mal Ajeno, now in pre-production.
Contact: Kuranda: (34) 91 7489525
Stine Fischer Christensen, Denmark
Stine Fischer Christensen first became known to international audiences playing Mads Mikkelsen's daughter in Susanne Bier's After The Wedding, which screened in Competition in Berlin last year. The film went on to gross $9.7m internationally. Fischer Christensen has since done voiceover work for Anders Morgenthaler's animated Princess and played a supporting part in Morgenthaler's first live-action feature, the drama Ekko. She has also received plaudits for her recent role on stage in Copenhagen in Festen, the adaptation of Thomas Vinterberg's The Celebration.
Contact: Panorama Agency, (45) 70 223 224
Hafsia Herzi, France
Following her star-making turn in Abdellatif Kechiche's award-winning The Secret Of The Grain last year, Hafsia Herzi's name is on the lips of every French casting agent, producer and director. The Marseilles-born actress, who has no formal training, says she finds inspiration in the work of Sofia Loren and Claudia Cardinale. Although her English is not perfect, she showed her proficiency for languages by learning Arabic for Abbas Fahdel's The Dawn Of The World. Herzi is now embarking on the remake of Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D with Jean-Paul Belmondo. Dawn producer, Pascal Verroust says of Herzi, "When you put her in front of a camera, something happens that is rarely seen. She is immediately and surprisingly present. I'm not shocked for one second that everyone is rushing towards her."
Contact: Adequat, (33) 1 42 80 00 42
Luca Argentero, Italy
Argentero first came to national prominence on television in Italy's Big Brother, which led to a role on popular Mediaset TV drama Carabinieri, about Italy's paramilitary police force. In 2006 his film debut in Francesca Comencini's Our Country was followed by roles in 2007 in Ferzan Ozpetek's Saturno Contro and Claudio Cupellini's Lezioni Di Cioccolato. Based on these performances, leading Italian film critic Fabio Ferzetti says he has a "strong presence on screen and a marketable elegance". Both of Argentero's films were produced by Cattleya and distributed in Italy by Universal Pictures International, Italy. Argentero is now filming Luca Lucini's Perfect Skin, with two projects to be announced later this year.
Contacts: Claudio Renda, (39) 06 3217170.
WRITERS AND DIRECTORS
Tomek Ducki, director, Hungary
Even though Ducki is still a student, his first short film, Short Life proved a big hit on the Eastern European awards circuit last year. Geza Toth, who directed the Oscar-winning short Maestro (2005) and who is director of animation studies at the Hungarian University of Craft and Design where Ducki studied, calls Ducki "one of the most talented young animation film-makers to emerge from Hungary of late". He adds that Ducki demonstrates considerable style and is able to combine multiple animation techniques in a single work. Toth also praises the young director's ability to communicate the human element of his stories through film. "His short animation films for university demonstrate his ability to find the deeper human meaning through comedy, like a two-minute animation about a snail." Ducki is now studying at the UK's National Film and Television School.
Contact: Tomek Ducki, (44)787 867 1570 or (36) 303 527 432
Anatol Reghintovschi, director, Romania
Reghintovschi learnt his craft as an assistant director on international productions in Romania, including Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain and Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth. He is now developing his directorial debut, Outskirts, based on a screenplay by Cristian Mungiu. The film is a drama set on the outskirts of Bucharest, where a teenager styles himself as a gangster and falls in love with an older woman. Alex Teodorescu, executive producer on the project, says: "Reghintovschi's experience assisting foreign productions in Romania has given him the ideal training to launch his career as a director and break into the international market."
The word is Coppola handed the budding director an entire scene to shoot in Youth Without Youth. Reghintovschi's profile has, until now, been limited to first assistant work. Outskirts, however, should change this and put Reghintovschi on the map.
Contact: Anatol Reghintovschi, (40) 724 573 123
Mario Iglesias, director, Spain
Probably the most exciting young writer- director in Galicia, a small region that punches above its weight in terms of creative talent, Iglesias' 2006 feature debut was the emotive, multi-faceted De Bares. Now in post-production are Catalina, a drama about the frustrations of a young woman painter searching for recognition, and Cartas Italianas, an unscripted project shot in just a week during the Canary Islands film festival, with on-the-hoof recruitment of all but the lead actors. Cartas is about a globe-trotting Italian photographer, whose writing teacher asks her to create a character based on a cocaine dealer. Iglesias, who has received more than a dozen prizes for his 10 beautifully textured shorts shot since 2002, says: "I use digital technology to make films that build a direct dialogue with the real world rather than reproducing it in a lab." Iglesias calls his next, experimental and so-far unnamed feature project on Cuban poet Gaspar Duarte "pure guerrilla cinema". It started shooting in January in Cuba.
Franck Vestiel, director, France
After working as an assistant director with diverse French talents such as Florent Emilio Siri, Jan Kounen and Marc Caro, Vestiel branched out on his own for his first feature, the sci-fi film Eden Log, out in France last Christmas. The film tells the story of a man who wakes up in darkness at the bottom of a cave and climbs back to surface through a maze abandoned by a mysterious corporation. "He's one of the rare directors who can invent a new world from scratch without turning it into a cliche," says Louis Tisne, acquisitions manager, Europe, of the UK's Momentum Pictures, which is releasing the film this year. Vestiel's next project, Vital Mecanic, is still in development, and will be shot in the UK and produced by Cedric Jiminez, who also produced Eden. "Vestiel is an artist I would qualify as a visionary," says Jiminez.
Igor Uboldi, Italy
A former TV producer-journalist, Uboldi has recently moved into feature film production with the $18m Rumi: The Fire Of Love, an English-language historical biopic of Islam's great Sufi poet and mystic. Deepak Chopra is the film's script consultant, Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro is attached as cinematographer, with Indian arthouse veteran Muzaffar Ali directing. The project is now casting and got off the ground in part due to Uboldi's talent for raising equity capital, while crossing borders in the co-production area. Uboldi is also producing the $11m (EUR7.5m) Italian-Spanish co production Io, Don Giovanni, a costume drama which recently shot in Spain. Uboldi cut his feature teeth on Krzysztof Zanussi's Black Sun, which shot in Umbria and Sicily in 2006. "I would give him the best of possible recommendations as a producer," says Zanussi, adding that under Uboldi's careful management, "things run smoothly and efficiently".
Contact: Edelweiss Production, (39) 06 4201 6022
Johnny Andersen, Denmark
Andersen is new to feature films but draws on his rich experience producing documentaries and commercials. The line producer on Nicolas Winding Refn's Fear X and on Pusher II and III, Andersen is about to move to Scotland for six months to produce Refn's $6.9m (£3.5m) Valhalla Rising in Glasgow and the Highlands. The shoot for Valhalla commences on June 16. Mads Mikkelsen is set to star as a Viking discovering America, with Glasgow-based La Belle Allee co-producing. Andersen also produced Natascha Arthy's well-received kung-fu drama for teenagers Fighter, through Nimbus Films. Bo Ehrhardt, co-owner of Nimbus says of Andersen's talents, "His main asset is his calm and steady demeanour. This is the reason why he has graduated from smaller films to bigger features. His latest project will shoot on location and it will be great experience for him as producers in Denmark don't often have the opportunity to work on such big-budget productions."
Contact: Nimbus Film, (45) 3634 0910
Abdel Raouf Dafri, writer, France
After a series of stops and starts, two high-profile films, L'Instinct De Mort and L'Ennemi Public Numero 1, both directed by Jean-Francois Richet and starring Vincent Cassel, are set to elevate Dafri's reputation for tight, effective writing. Richet for one is convinced of Dafri's international potential. "After I made Assault On Precinct 13 I had quite a few propositions from the Americans and very few scripts were of the same quality that Dafri can provide," he says. "I had two James Ellroy scripts in my hands, yet Dafri's are, as far as I'm concerned, on the same level. They are structured and consistent. Everything is there for a reason." Dafri has also written a crime series for Canal Plus, La Commune, and Jacques Audiard's 2006 feature, Un Prophete, which tells the story of the rise of a young North African man, who, with the help of the Corsican Mafia and an influential Imam, becomes the godfather of France's disaffected suburbs.
Contact: Films Talents, (33) 1 53 10 19 50
Juanjo Ramirez, animator, Spain
One of the most original and prolific figures on the scene today, Ramirez was just 22 when he embarked on the "kamikaze task" of his feature debut Going Nuts, an animated asylum-based thriller - with characters made from peanuts. "I wrote the first version of the script in two afternoons, but it got much harder from there onwards - mainly because of lack of funding," he explains. "Around 70% of the production saw me and partner Alby Ojeda alone in the room, doing all the work that normally would involve dozens on a project like this, and post-production took forever." Although an innovative online marketing campaign built up a cult following, Ramirez admits he was "afraid we'd made a picture so weird that it would be completely indigestible." His next project, the Spain-Denmark co-production Zombie Western, The Legend Of The Dark Butcher, is an animated puppet slasher picture due for a 2009 release in Spain. It will be a collaboration between Spain's Perro Verde Films and Denmark's Happy Flyfich.
Where are they now'
Screen International ran the first European Stars of Tomorrow survey in 2006, featuring the hottest names in Euro film-making talent. The list included actors, writers, directors and producers, who would create and contribute to the film industry of the future. Where are they now' Rachel Nouchi reports
Top of the talent list from 2006 is the German producer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who has since stormed the global market with his debut feature, The Lives Of Others (Das Leben Der Anderen). Although he had already directed the film, nobody would have predicted it was to become one of the most successful foreign-language films around the world last year. It won the best foreign-language Oscar (2007), and grossed $11.3m in the US and $5.5m in the UK. The director has since set up his own production company and moved to the US.
Meanwhile, since Italian actor Silvio Muccino featured in the Screen line-up in 2006, the 25-year-old has proved he has more strings to his bow than simply acting. He is set to break into the international market this year following the release of his directorial debut, Tell Me About Love (Parlami D'Amore) on Valentine's Day in Italy. Muccino co-authored the novel, adapted it for film and starred in it. The film has been produced by Cattleya.
Many of the European talent featured in 2006 have continued working in their local markets. One such talent, Marek Epstein, a Czech Republic-based writer, was still working on his first script in 2006 when he was featured in Screen. Since then, he has had two projects released in the past 12 months - the comedy Roming and tragicomedy Vaclav, both moderately successful at the Czech box office. He has written a made-for-TV film (drama) for Czech Television called BrainStorm, which is now in production, and is working on a screenplay for a fairy-tale-themed feature in pre-production called Long, Wide And Short-Sighted.
Others, such as Valeria Solarino, an actor based in Italy has two more films under her belt. Solarino won her first part in a film two years ago in Viaggio Segreto (Roberto Ando). Since then, she has appeared in two more features: The Waltz (Valzer), directed by Salvatore Maira, released last year, and Signorina Effe by Wilma Labate, out later this year, both locally produced for the Italian market.