The Berlinale has always been a rallying post for European cinema - but this year's event has more reason to celebrate than usual - 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of European Film Promotion (EFP).
The Hamburg-based organisation was set up in 1997 to promote and market European cinema through a variety of events around the world. A decade on, EFP brings together 27 export and promotion organisations from 28 countries. The organisation is mainly backed by the Media Programme of the European Union and by EFP's member organisations.
EFP's aim is to create a thriving exchange of ideas within a European framework, working to increase the visibility of European films at key international events. This is largely facilitated by EFP's Film Sales Support scheme, which assists European sales agents or producers in marketing their films at certain festivals. The scheme covers 50% of the costs incurred for expenses relating to the production of promotional material, a subtitled or dubbed print, as well as travel and hotel costs.
EFP also recognises the importance of promoting Europe's core creative talents. The Producers On The Move scheme, held annually at Cannes, sees a range of young European producers being presented to the press and the industry.
Meanwhile, the Shooting Stars programme, held at the Berlinale, shines a spotlight on up-and-coming actors and provides an international platform designed to bring them to the attention of film-makers outside their immediate area or industry. This year sees the 10th generation of Shooting Stars, which has over the years included such talents as Daniel Craig and Franke Potente. Shooting Stars is also supported by Volkswagen and Studio Hamburg International Production.
"It hardly seems possible that there wasn't any joint marketing for European films before the founding of European Film Promotion," says Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick. "In the past 10 years, EFP has succeeded in promoting the diversity of European films. In a nice way, they have opened the hearts and markets for our European film culture and the wonderful Shooting Stars and talents."
As well as close ties with Berlin, Cannes and Karlovy Vary, EFP has since its inception had a presence at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Pusan International Film Festival is also being given special attention this year after the formation in 2006 of the new Asian film market. EFP is introducing a new European film event in Berlin, Madrid and London. Picture Europe! The Best of European Cinema 2007 will begin in April, coming to London at the Curzon Cinema in Soho from June 8-14. The films, selected by members of EFP on the basis of their success in their indigenous countries and worldwide potential, will be presented by the directors and actors.
At all of its events, EFP also provides extensive services to European companies through the sharing of resources under the EFP umbrella. As Paul Howson of the British Council puts it, EFP is about solidarity. "Whichever part of Europe we come from," he says, "we're all part of the same cultural industry, and the more we can collaborate and share both problems and opportunities, the greater will be the benefits for all of us - and for Europe."
Nils Althaus (Switzerland)
After a string of commercials, the sometime model's acting career is set to take off this year with Mike Eschmann's Breakout. Althaus has been attracting positive word of mouth for his performance as a Zurich gang-leader in the film.
Contact: Swiss Artists Agency, (41) 61 976 2010
Nicolai Cleve Broch (Norway)
Broch enjoyed a successful stage career before landing the lead role in the hit TV series Lekestue. His big-screen career has been equally auspicious, with roles in Morten Tyldum's Amanda-winning Buddy (2003) and Uno (2006) by Aksel Hennie.
Contact: Hobbart & Hobbart, (47) 45 4655 27
Maximilian Bruckner (Germany)
While studying, Bruckner was invited to join the prestigious Munich Volkstheater, where he still performs as a guest actor. He made his film debut in 2003 with Manner Wie Wir, which led to roles in the Oscar-nominated Sophie Scholl (2004) and Thomas Durchschlag's acclaimed Allein (2004).
Contact: die agenten, (49) 30 2888 4330
Padraic Delaney (Ireland)
Delaney has worked on a variety of Irish TV productions, notably the gritty 2006 RTE Irish family drama Legend. His transfer to the big screen came with an assured performance in Ken Loach's Palme d'Or winning The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
Contact: Lisa Richards Agency, (353) 1 637 5000
Kate Dickie (UK)
Dickie has enjoyed a distinguished British TV career, with lauded roles in the BBC's Tinsel Town and ITV's Taggart. Her performance in Andrea Arnold's thriller Red Road, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes 2006, brought her several awards, including a Bifa and a Bafta Scotland award.
Contact: 41 Management, (44) 131 225 3585
Tommi Eronen (Finland)
Eronen broke into feature films in 1999 in Olli Saarela's The Ambush, winner of seven major Finnish Jussi awards. His second film with Saarela, Bad Luck Love (2000) won him the Jussi Best Supporting Actor award. Most recently, the prolific Eronen appeared in the Chinese-Finnish action fantasy co-production, Jade Warrior.
Contact: Blind Spot Pictures, (358) 9 7742 8360
Gisli Orn Gardarsson (Iceland)
Gardarsson made his feature breakthrough in Ragnar Bragason and Dagur Kari's Dramarama in 2001, which he followed with roles in Caramels (2003) and Beowulf & Grendel (2005). Last year he co-wrote and starred in the festival favourite Children (Born), playing twins.
Contact: Artbox, (354) 860 7062
Agnieszka Grochowska (Poland)
Grochowska broke through in 2004 with Magdalena Piekorz's EFA award-nominated film The Welts (Pregi) and appeared in Lena Einhorn's Nina's Journey. Fluent in German, she works regularly in German-Polish co-productions.
Contact: Agencja Gudejko, (48) 22 840 7603
Oscar Jaenada (Spain)
With a strong background in theatre, Jaenada's talent landed him the lead - and a Goya nomination - in Achero Manas' Noviembre (2003). He won the award for Camaron (2005), by Jaime Chavarri. Recent work includes Todos Estamos Invitados, by Manuel Gutierrez-Aragon.
Contact: Media Art Management, (34) 91 591 3780
David Dencik (Denmark)
After rising to fame as the lead in the 2005 TV crime series Lasermannen, Dencik made his film debut in Christoffer Boe's Camera d'Or-winning Reconstruction (2003). His international profile was raised yet further by his performance as a transsexual in the Berlinale Silver Bear- winning A Soap (2006).
Contact: Lindberg Management, (45) 22 34 3871
Kevin Janssens (Belgium)
In his final year of drama school Janssens was cast in the lead role of the TV series King Of The World. He moved into cinema with last year's Belgian hit action drama Storm Force, in which he played a navy diver coming to terms with the dark side of his past.
Contact: Vinck & Partners, (32) 3 234 1049
Melanie Laurent (France)
Laurent was discovered by Gerard Depardieu, who cast her in Un Pont Entre Deux Rives (1999). At 17 she appeared in Jacques Audiard's Cesar-nominated Ceci Est Mon Corps, and reteamed with the director on the award-winning The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005). For last year's Don't Worry, I'm Fine, she was awarded the Prix Romy Schneider.
Contact: VMA, (33) 1 4317 3700
Marko Mandic (Slovenia)
After a series of prominent TV roles, Mandic's break in film came with his debut as a mute in Igor Sterk's award-winning film Express, Express (1997). His most recent work includes Janja Glogovac's L ... Like Love, which is currently in post-production.
Contact: Slovenian Film Fund, (386) 1 2343 200
Klara Issa (Czech Republic)
Issa made her screen debut in Sasa Gedeon's Indian Summer (1995), which brought her a Czech Lion Best Actress nomination at 15. A win followed two years later for her role in Juraj Jakubisko's An Ambiguous Report About The End Of the World (1997). Issa's recent film work includes David Ondricek's 2007 Berlinale entry Grandhotel.
Contact: Czech Film Center, (420) 221 105 321
Peter Nagy (Hungary)
Nagy has appeared in a number of TV productions, including a starring role in Jozsef Pacskovszky's Oliver VII. After Pal Erdoss' Budakeszi Sracok, he wrapped Liberte 56 and this year will be seen heading up the romantic drama Lora, by Gabor Herendi.
Contact: Magyar Filmunio, (36) 1 351 7760
Tana Pauhofova (Slovakia)
Pauhofova has received many awards for her stage work and made her screen debut as the lead role in Cruel Joys, by Juraj Nvota, for which she won the Igric Award in 2003. She will soon be seen in Music, her second collaboration with Nvota.
Contact: Slovak Film Institute, (421) 2 5710 1503
Afonso Pimentel (Portugal)
Pimentel made an auspicious debut in the critically acclaimed father-son drama Adeus Pai (1996) by Luis Filipe Rocha. Since then, he has continued to work in both cinema and TV, with notable big-screen performances including films such as The Bomb (2001) by Lionel Vieira and Kiss Me (2004), by Antonio da Cunha Telles.
Contact: Afonso Pimentel, (351) 96 913 0933
Maria Popistasu (Romania)
Popistasu began her international TV career with a leading role in the BBC production Gunpowder, Treason & Plot. She was then cast in the Bafta-winning British mini-series Sex Traffic, and went on to star in her first Romanian film production, Tudor Giurgiu's Love Sick, in 2006.
Contact: Romanian Film Promotion, (40) 21 326 6480
Halina Reijn (The Netherlands)
Reijn has enjoyed a successful theatre career, and her feature film work includes the Oscar-nominated Zus & Zo (2000) by Paula van der Oest, and A Father's Affair, by Maarten Treurniet. Last year she appeared in Paul Verhoeven's Black Book.
Contact: Features Creative Management, (31) 20 627 7276
Sabrina Reiter (Austria)
Reiter landed her first major screen role at her first casting, playing the lead in Andrea Prochaska's Dead In 3 Days (2006), which brought her an Undine Award for Best Debut Performance. Reiter recently finished work on the Austrian TV crime series Soko Donau, directed by Alexander Wiedl.
Contact: Daniela Stibitz Management, (43) 1 3286 360
Gustaf Skarsgard (Sweden)
Starting young, Stellan's son made his film debut at nine in Code Name Coq Rouge (1989) before training at Stockholm's National Academy of Mime and Acting from 1999-2003. His film roles include the Oscar-nominated Evil, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Guldbagge Awards.
Contact: Jenny Planthaber, (46) 8 5450 2394
Jasmine Trinca (Italy)
Trinca was still at school when she was chosen by Nanni Moretti to play his daughter in his Palme d'Or winning The Son's Room. In 2003, she was cast in another Cannes success story, Marco Tullio Giordana's Un Certain Regard entry The Best Of Youth, while other festival hits include Michele Placido's Romanzo Criminale and Moretti's The Caiman.
Contact: Carol Levi & Company, (39) 06 3600 2430
Panayota Vladi (Greece)
Vladi made her screen debut in 2006 starring in Yannis Xanthopoulos' Extended Play and Savvas Karydas's Close To The Edge. Both premiered at the 2006 Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
Contact: Greek Film Centre, (30) 210 363 1733
Jules Werner (Luxemburg)
Werner's roles have included the BBC TV series Spooks, the EFA-winning short film Butterflies, by Max Jacoby, and feature films such as Michael Radford's The Merchant Of Venice (2004) and Sam Garbarski's Irina Palm, which premieres in competition at this year's Berlinale.
Contact: Film Fund Luxembourg, (352) 478 2179
Rain Tolk (Estonia)
Tolk began his acting career without training, starring in a fake-documentary show called Esto TV. As a result he was cast in two full-length mockumentaries, one of which, Choose Order, won the Estonian Film Critics Association Prize for best film in 2004. He is currently working on his directing debut.
Contact: Kuukulgur Film, (372) 600 9237.