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 20.
A three-person jury will decide on the Best First Feature:
Michael Verhoeven (Germany) – head of the jury
Michael Verhoeven, one of the formative personalities in German film, presented his feature film debut The Dance of Death in 1967. In 1970 his anti-war film O.K. led to a scandal among the members of the Berlinale Competition jury. Verhoeven, who has his own production company, has made numerous highly regarded films about the German past including The White Rose (1982) and The Nasty Girl (1990).
Ben Foster (USA)
Ben Foster is one of the most versatile young actors of his generation. He has played a troubled teenager (Bang Bang Your Dead, Six Feet Under), a comic hero (X-Men: The Last Stand), a volatile cowboy (3:10 to Yuma) and received the 2006 Young Hollywood Award for his role in Nick Cassavetes' Alpha Dog. He was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with his lead role in the acclaimed drama The Messenger.
Lorna Tee (Malaysia)
The producer Lorna Tee is a well-known personality in the Asian film scene. In 2005 she managed the marketing and distribution at Focus Films Hong Kong. Today she is both general manager of the Hong Kong based Asian investment fund Irresistible Films and proprietor of her own film production company Paperheart (Malaysia). With Paperheart she produced Rain Dogs, At The End of Daybreak and My Daughter.
The following films have qualified for the Best First Feature Award:
Rompecabezas (Puzzle) by Natalia Smirnoff, Argentina/France
Eu când vreau sa fluier, fluier (If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle) by Florin Serban, Romania/Sweden
Shahada by Burhan Qurbani, Germany
Besouro by João Daniel Tikhomiroff, Brazil
Bróder! (Broder!) by Jeferson De, Brazil
Die Fremde (When We Leave) by Feo Aladag, Germany
Due vite per caso (One life maybe two) by Alessandro Aronadio, Italy
El mal ajeno (For The Good Of The Others) by Oskar Santos, Spain
Propavshyi bez vesty (Missing Man) by Anna Fenchenko, Russian Federation
Open by Jake Yuzna, USA
Red Hill by Patrick Hughes, Australia
Veselchaki (Jolly Fellows) by Felix Mikhailov, Russian Federation
Au revoir Taipei (Yi yè Tái bei) by Arvin Chen, Taiwan/USA/Germany
Eine flexible Frau (The Drifter) by Tatjana Turanskyj, Germany
El vuelco del cangrejo (Crab Trap) by Oscar Ruíz Navia, Colombia/France
Imani by Caroline Kamya, Uganda/Sweden
The Man Beyond the Bridge (Paltadacho Munis) by Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, India
One Day (You yī tian) by Hou Chi-Jan, Taiwan
Our Fantastic 21st Century (Neo-wa na-eui i-shib-il-seki) by Ryu Hyung-ki, Republic of Korea
Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man (Portretul luptatorului la tinerete) by Constantin Popescu, Romania
Generation Kplus (2)
Knerten by Åsleik Engmark, Norway
Bestevenner (Rafiki) by Christian Lo, Norway
Generation 14plus (1 or 2)
Retratos en un mar de mentiras (Portraits In A Sea Of Lies) by Carlos Gaviria, Colombia
Sebbe** by Babak Najafi, Sweden
**The film denoted with ** is no longer qualified for candidacy if it wins an award at the Göteborg IFF (January 29 – February 8, 2010).
January 26, 2010