The Berlinale’s children’s and youth section is celebrating its 30th anniversary under the new label, Generation. “The successful establishment of our youth film competition 14plus alongside the tradition-steeped Kinderfilmfest”, says festival director Dieter Kosslick, “has made it absolutely essential to rename the section. The new name Generation is a fitting 30th birthday present and does justice to the section’s diverse programme structure.”
The section continues to be divided into two competitions. Seven films have already been selected for the Generation Kplus programme and the International Jury has been invited. For Generation 14plus the first six films have been selected. “We can already predict that we’ll be celebrating our anniversary with an extraordinary diversity in terms of film genres,” says section director Thomas Hailer, announcing the films that have so far been selected for competition.
At this point, five features and two feature length animations have been invited to take part in the children’s film competition. From Estonia and Latvia comes Leiutajateküla Lotte (Lotte from Gadgetville) by Heiki Ernits and Janno Pöldma. This visually challenging foray through a village of eccentric inventors and their mad creations is suitable for the youngest audiences and will open in German cinemas shortly following the festival.
In U, French directors Grégoire Solotareff and Serge Elissalde lovingly tell a fairytale about the difficult coming of age of a princess who is befriended with a talking unicorn,. Both films are evidence of the ever-growing artistic and technical potential of the European animation industry.
In the musical Förortsungar (Kidz in da Hood) Swedish directors Ylva Gustavsson and Catti Edfeldt address the harsh reality of a young illegal immigrant who finds an unconventional foster father in a musician (Sweden’s Shooting Star 2007 Gustaf Skarsgård). Dek Hor (Dorm), a stylish thriller from Thailand, promises breathtaking excitement. In an explosive game of the senses, director Songyos Sugmakanan lets a ghost bring chaos to the strictly regimented life at a boy’s boarding school.
The Israeli dance film Sipur Hatzi Russi (Love & Dance) by Eitan Anner a precise and surprising social portrait of Russian immigrants. The Norwegian-Swedish-Danish co-production Trigger by Gunnar Vikene, is a great cross-generational adventure centring around a renegade racehorse. Blöde Mütze!, a sensitively told feature debut by Johannes Schmid from Munich, is the first German film announced for the Generation Kplus competition.
Generation Kplus – International Jury
Within the framework of Generation Kplus, an international jury awards the “Grand Prix of the Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk” (German Child Support Organisation) for the best feature and the “Special Prize of the Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk” to the best short film in the competition.
Members of the international jury are: Andreas Steinhöfel, German author of books for children and youth, (Die Mitte der Welt, Es ist ein Elch entsprungen); Sitora Alieva of Russia (director of the Kinotavr festival in Sochi); Justin Johnson (children’s film programmer at the London Film Festival); the Dutch film producer Leontine Petit (Het Schnitzel Paradijs) and Swedish director, Reza Bagher (Populärmusik från Vittula) whose films have already featured in both competitions of the section.
In the youth film competition Generation 14plus a common theme appears to have already emerged. In films from around the world, young people tackle the challenges of their daily lives by employing art in a creative way.
Rajnesh Domalpalli’s Vanaja, a dance film from India/USA, which is a far cry from folklore and Bollywood, takes the viewer right into the life and caste problems of a 14-year-old girl. In Antônia (Antonia) from Brazil, director Tata Amaral follows the rhythms of four talented young woman singers who hope to start a band and nearly fail amidst the confusion of growing up.
The young hero of the South Korean film Cheonhajangsa Madonna (Like a Virgin) directed by Hae-young Lee und Hae-jun Lee is also searching for himself. He too wants to dedicate his life to dance and singing, but preferably in the body of a woman. Romanian director Catalin Mitulescu addresses the recent history of his country: In Cum mi-am petrecut sfârşitul lumii (The Way I Spent the End of the World) the revolutionary time of 1989 and the fall of the old regime is emphatically captured through the eyes of a 17-year-old.
This is England directed by Shane Meadows presents an interesting historical perspective while focusing the beginnings of the skinhead movement in Britain. Man in the Chair by Michael Schroeder from the USA pays homage to cinema itself. While searching for an idea for his debut film, a young man meets an old, film-obsessed Hollywood veteran, resulting in an unequal pair, congenially played by Hollywood shooting star Michael Angarano and Christopher Plummer.
The complete programme of Generation will be published in January 2007.
Films selected so far:
Blöde Mütze! directed by Johannes Schmid, Germany 2007
Dek Hor (Dorm) directed by Songyos Sugmakanan, Thailand 2006
Förortsungar (Kidz in da Hood) directed by Ylva Gustavsson and Catti Edfeldt, Sweden 2006
Leiutajateküla Lotte (Lotte from Gadgetville) directed by Heiki Ernits and Janno Põldma, Estonia/Latvia 2006
Sipur Hatzi Russi (Love & Dance) directed by Eitan Anner, Israel 2006
Trigger directed by Gunnar Vikene, Norway/Sweden/Denmark 2006
U directed by Grégoire Solotareff and Serge Elissalde, France 2006
Antônia (Antonia) directed by Tata Amaral, Brazil 2006
Cheonhajangsa Madonna (Like a Virgin) directed by Hae-young Lee and Hae-jun Lee, Republic of Korea 2006
Cum mi-am petrecut sfârşitul lumii (The Way I Spent the End of the World) directed by Catalin Mitulescu, Romania/France 2006
Man in the Chair directed by Michael Schroeder, USA 2006
This is England directed by Shane Meadows, Britain 2006
Vanaja directed by Rajnesh Domalpalli, India/USA 2006
December 14, 2006