The International Jury, presided over by Tilda Swinton, will decide who is to take home the Golden Bear and the Silver Bears and the Alfred Bauer Prize in the Competition of the Berlinale 2009.
The other members of the Jury are Spanish director Isabel Coixet, director Gaston Kaboré (Burkina Faso), Swedish best-selling author Henning Mankell, director Christoph Schlingensief (Germany), director Wayne Wang (USA) and food activist and author Alice Waters (USA).
Jury President and Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton is one of her generation’s most sought-after performers. She gave her film debut in Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio which won a Silver Bear at the 1986 Berlinale. Since her international breakthrough with Orlando she has alternated with ease between European arthouse films and big Hollywood productions. Until Jarman’s death she appeared in all of his films. Her film portrait of him was shown in the Panorama at the 2008 Berlinale. In 2008 she received an Academy Award for best supporting actress in the thriller Michael Clayton.
The award-winning Spanish writer and director Isabel Coixet has been a guest with her films at numerous international festivals, including four times at the Berlinale: 1995 in the Panorama with Things I Never Told You, 2003 in the Competition with My Life Without Me, 2007 in the Panorama with the compilation documentary Invisibles and 2008 with the moving bestseller interpretation Elegy. Isabel Coixet is currently realizing the romantic thriller Map Of The Sounds Of Tokyo.
Gaston Kaboré is one of the most important people in his country’s film scene. Following his studies in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Paris his feature film Wend Kuuni marked a breakthrough for African cinema in 1982. He combines the skills of screenwriter, director and producer and has realized numerous documentary films. In 1997 he received the Pan-African Film Festival (FESPACO) Award for his historical drama Buud Yam. In 2005 he founded the Imagine Film School in Ouagadougou which trains new filmmakers in Burkina Faso.
The award-winning, bestselling author Henning Mankell is especially famous for his Inspector Wallander mysteries which have been published in 38 languages. The highly productive author and theatre director focuses on political and social themes, but he is also acclaimed as a writer of children’s books and plays. Mankell lives alternately in Sweden and Mosambique where he works as director of the “Teatro Avenida”.
Christoph Schlingensief, a leading personality in Germany’s cultural scene, is renowned as a film, theatre and opera director, radio play writer and artist. His works repeatedly challenge the frontier between politics and art and provoke public debate. As a filmmaker he first became known between 1989 and 1992 with what is known as his German Trilogy (including The German Chainsaw Massacre). His opera productions include “Parsifal” (Bayreuth 2004), „The Flying Dutchman“ (Manaus 2007), „Jeanne d’Arc“ (Berlin 2008) and „Eine Kirche der Angst vor dem Fremden in mir“ (Duisburg 2008).
Hong-Kong-born director Wayne Wang has lived and worked in the USA since his youth. In many of his films he confronts American society with the world of Chinese immigrants, as in the bestseller adaptation The Joy Luck Club (1993). His arthouse film Smoke (Silver Bear at the Berlinale 1995) brought him major success in Europe as well. His latest film A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers received several festival awards.
As a keen film aficionado, food activist, author and star chef Alice Waters named her legendary restaurant in Berkeley Chez Panisse after one of Marcel Pagnol’s film characters. Alice Waters, vice president of Slow Food International, works with the renowned Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley and for various film festivals. She also has collaborated on projects such as the documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe. The multiple award-winning gastronomy expert recently joined the California Hall of Fame.
January 20, 2009