Berlinale: Press Releases

Press Releases 2004


Dec 17, 2003:
Kinderfilmfest 2004: A powerful start for 14plus – the Berlinale’s new youth film competition. Retrospective of films from the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School, Jerusalem

The Kinderfilmfest 2004 will open with two innovations. Alongside the new competition of youth films, a retrospective of productions from a single film school will be presented for the first time.

Five movies have already been selected for the competition entitled 14plus – films for the young generation. As Thomas Hailer, director of the Kindefilmfest and 14plus announced: “We have been able to draw on a rich range of outstanding international productions for this target group. At last we are able to offer these films a proper platform at the festival. This makes us really happy and is long overdue.“

14plus will open at the Atelier am Zoo on February 7, 2004 with a world premiere. In Bagland (Scratch) by Danish director Anders Gustafsson, viewers are thrust right into the life of seventeen-year-old Mille. Her turbulent day-to-day existence gives rise to a longing for independence and an ordered normality. Yet her biggest obstacle turns out to be precisely those she believes to love – they provoke the young woman to make a far-reaching decision of great consequence.

The German entry Jargo by Icelandic director Maria Solrun is set in what is known as the “Märkische Viertel”, one of the huge high-rise housing estates in the north of Berlin. In this world premiere, Solrun drafts an unusually sharp portrait of young people caught between cultures: a blond Arab boy encounters a Turkish Berliner – performed in an intense and entertaining manner by a convincing young cast.

That self-realization for teenagers can involve entirely other kinds of issues can be seen in the Iranian entry Behesht jaye digari Asti (Paradise is somewhere else). Director Abdolrasoul Golbon’s feature film debut has already won high acclaim at international festivals. In forceful images, it accompanies a young man, who in trying to escape the ancient custom of retribution killing, sets off on a journey to find himself.

Puberty is not always a question of age. In the Norwegian film United, Magnus Martens brings this home in an unpretentious romantic comedy. Indeed, Kåre is already 26 years old, but is still lost in youthful dreams of ever-lasting love and a professional career with Manchester United. His path is roundabout but he gradually faces up to reality and begins to tackle his life without betraying his innermost desires.

The USA will be represented by an independent film: Quality of Life. After years of social work in the graffiti scene in San Francisco’s Mission District, newcomer Benjamin Morgan transforms the life stories of two young men into a disturbingly realistic tale. The film makes a powerful plea for the acknowledgment of graffiti as an artform. The presentation of this work in 14plus is also a world premiere.

For 2004 the Kinderfilmfest has also organized a retrospective on works from a single film school. Seven short films from the famous Israeli Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem depict some problems of growing up in a society torn apart by daily violence. The programme includes Susei yam (Sea Horses) by Nir Bergman (who received a Panorama award in 2003 for Knafayim Shvurot/Broken Wings). In Nadav Gol’s Milhama a'heret (A Different War), the retrospective deals directly with the present: the wall recently erected between residential Palestinian and Israeli districts in Jerusalem becomes the site of a boy’s disarming appeal for compassion amongst his fellow beings. Produced in 2003, this film is also running in the Kinderfilmfest’s short film competition.

The entire programme of the 27th Kinderfilmfest will be announced in January 2004.

Press Office

December 17, 2003