Russian director Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) is to receive this year's Andrzej Wajda/Philip Morris Freedom Prize at a special gala ceremony in the Berlin Rathaus on February 9.

The Prize, which is presented by the Foundation with a purse of $ 10,000 donated by Philip Morris Kunstfoerderung, is awarded annually to a promising filmmaker from Central or Eastern Europe, whose works reflect the themes of freedom and democracy. Last year's recipient was local filmmaker Andreas Dresen whose Grill Point (Halbe Treppe) screened in the Berlinale's Competition section.

As Gary McVey, director of the American Cinema Foundation. points out: "this is not a lifetime achievement award, but a prize in recognition of an exemplary moral and ethical message in the art of the cinema.'