The Berlinale has been even more committed to supporting the next generation of film makers since 2006, when it introduced the Best First Feature Award. The award is endowed with 50,000 Euros, donated by the GWFF (Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrecht), a society dedicated to safeguarding film and television rights. The prize money is to be split between the producer and the director of the winning film. Additionally, the director will be awarded with a high-quality viewfinder as both a useful instrument and memorable trophy.
Debut feature films from the sections Competition, Panorama, Generation Kplus and 14plus as well as debut films from the Forum will compete for the award. The winners will be announced at the official award ceremony in the Berlinale-Palast on February 14.
A three-person jury will decide on the Best First Feature:
In 2008 the writer, journalist and author Diablo Cody (USA) caused an international sensation, when her debut script for the teenager drama Juno was awarded an Oscar and 17 additional prizes. Diablo Cody is renowned for her innovative blogs, currently writes columns for Entertainment Weekly and develops successful cinema and TV material. She wrote the TV mini-series The United States Of Tara for producer Steven Spielberg. Her latest screenplay for the thriller Jennifer’s Body will start filming in autumn 2009.
For many years In-Ah Lee (Germany) was active as producer for Wim Wenders’ Reverse Angle Production on films such as Don’t Come Knocking (2005). At present In-Ah Lee is involved in projects for greenskyfilms, a production company based in Cologne and Los Angeles. Here she is responsible especially for international co-productions and independent films.
Born in Teheran, director Rafi Pitts (Iran) now lives in France and is a leading representative of contemporary Iranian cinema. His feature film debut The Fifth Season, filmed in his native Iran, was an international festival success. In 2006 Rafi Pitts presented the drama It’s Winter in the Berlinale Competition. He is currently working on his fifth feature film, The Hunter.
The Jury will screen the following films:
Gigante by Adrián Biniez, Uruguay/Germany/Argentina
Katalin Varga by Peter Strickland, Romania/UK/Hungary
** The Messenger by Oren Moverman, USA
Claustrophobia by Ivy Ho, Hongkong/ People´s Republic of China
Dongbei Dongbei by Zou Peng, China
Human Zoo by Rie Rasmussen, France
Nord (North) by Rune Denstad Langlo, Norway
Pedro by Nick Oceano, USA
Rossiya 88 (Russia 88) by Pavel Bardin, Russian Federation
Vingança (Retribution) by Paulo Pons, Brazil
** White Lightnin' by Dominic Murphy, UK/USA/Croatia
Aguas Verdes (Green Waters) by Mariano De Rosa, Argentina
Cea mai fericita fata din lume (The Happiest Girl in the World) by Radu Jude, Romania/The Netherlands
The Day After (Eoddeon gaien nal) by Lee Suk-Gyung, Republic of Korea
Kan door huid heen (Can Go Through Skin) by Esther Rots, The Netherlands
Marin Blue by Matthew Hysell, USA
Members of the Funeral (Jangryesigeui member) by Baek Seung-Bin, Republic of Korea
Soundless Wind Chime (Wu Sheng Feng Ling) by Kit Hung, Hongkong/Switzerland
Generation Kplus (4)
Brendan and the Secret of Kells by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey, Ireland/France/Belgium
Flickan by Fredrik Edfeldt, Sweden
Gagma Napiri by George Ovashvili, Georgia/Kazakhstan
Mommo by Atalay Tasdiken, Turkey
Generation 14plus (3)
Cherrybomb by Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D’Sa, UK
** Mary and Max by Adam Elliot, Australia
Miao Miao by Cheng Hsiao-Tse, Hongkong/Taiwan
** The films denoted with ** are no longer qualified for candidacy if they win an award at the current Sundance Festival.
January 22, 2009