Berlinale: Best First Feature Award

Best First Feature Award, endowed with € 50,000, funded by GWFF

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, funded by 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 is awarded with a high-quality viewfinder as both a useful instrument and memorable trophy that should accompany them on their future road to success. Debut feature films from the sections Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation or Perspektive Deutsches Kino compete for the award.


Mohamed Ben Attia and producer Dora Bouchoucha Fourati

Inhebbek Hedi
by Mohamed Ben Attia

The Jury 2016

Michel Franco (Mexico)

Director and producer Michel Franco was born in Mexico City and started making films whilst he was still a student. After various short films and commercials, he celebrated his feature debut in 2009 with Daniel & Ana, which was invited to the Directors' Fortnight sidebar in Cannes. Three years later he received the Un Certain Regard Award for After Lucia, also in Cannes. In 2015 he returned to the Croisette, where his Chronic, with Tim Roth in the lead role, won the Best Screenplay Award in the Competition. That same year 600 Miles, which Franco produced and was directed by Gabriel Ripstein, screened in the Panorama section of the Berlinale, winning the award for Best First Feature. Franco was also involved as a producer in the Venezuelan-Mexican coproduction Desde allá (D: Lorenzo Vigas), which won the Golden Lion at the 2015 Venice Film Festival.

Enrico Lo Verso (Italy)

Enrico Lo Verso was born in Palermo in 1964 and grew up in Syracuse. His first leading role, in The Stolen Children (1992) by Gianni Amelio, brought the Sicilian actor to international attention as well as gaining him nominations for the European Film Award and the Golden Globes in the Best Actor category. Following this he appeared before the camera for Gérard Corbiau in Farinelli (1994), Gianni Amelio in Lamerica (1994, European Film Award) and Ridley Scott in Hannibal (2001). He went on to later film with Giuseppe Tornatore Baarìa (2009). In addition, he has worked with such greats as Ettore Scola and Ricky Tognazzi. In 2012 audiences saw him in Edoardo Ponti's The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars, which won the Best Narrative Short award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Ursula Meier (Switzerland / France)

Part Swiss part French director Ursula Meier studied film at the Institut des Arts de Diffusion (IAD) in Belgium. She was second assistant director on two films by Alain Tanner while also making her own short films. After two documentaries, she directed the TV film Strong Shoulders for Arte. Her first feature for the big screen, Home, premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Semaine de la Critique. Her next film, Sister, was shown in Competition at the 2012 Berlinale and won a Silver Bear Special Award. Both films were the Swiss submissions for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Home in 2009 and Sister in 2013. Ursula Meier directed the Quiet Mujo segment of the omnibus film Bridges of Sarajevo presented in official selection at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Ursula Meier was at the 2015 Berlinale with her documentary short Kacey Mottet Klein, Birth of an Actor (Generation).