As the 70th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival approached, the jurors of side programmes, to take place concurrently with the main sections, were announced on Saturday.
International film experts and young cineastes comprise the official juries. Two international juries present further prizes in the Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus competition. Each will award the Grand Prix for the Best Film (endowed with €7,500) and the Special Prize for the Best Short Film (endowed with €2,500).
14plus International Jury
Abbas Amini (Iran)
Abbas Amini has been a filmmaker since he was 13. Living and working in Tehran, he was actively committed to the protection of human rights. In particular, he was a dedicated opponent of child labour, as demonstrated by his artistic work and engagement in the NGO Association for the Protection of Child Labourers. His two films Valderama (2016) and Hendi va Hormoz (Hendi & Hormoz, 2018), both of which talked about the lives of young Iranians, were shown at Generation 14plus.
Jenna Bass (South Africa)
Jenna Bass lives in South Africa and works as a writer and filmmaker. She is also a former magician. Her award-winning films include The Tunnel (2010), Love the One You Love (2014), and High Fantasy (2017). High Fantasy premiered in 2018 at Generation 14plus. Her third feature film, Flatland, was the opening film of Panorama in 2019. Most recently, she completed the short film Sizohlala, which was produced by Jia Zhang-Ke.
Rima Das (India)
As a self-taught cinematic all-rounder and as an advocate for gender equality, Rima Das was recognised by GQ India as one of the Most Influential Young Indians in 2018. Her film Village Rockstars premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017 and subsequently received the Indian Film Award. With Bulbul Can Sing, for which she was responsible for the script, direction, camera, montage, production design, and production, she was a guest at Generation 14plus last year and received a Special Mention from the 14plus International Jury.
Kplus International Jury
Marine Atlan (France)
Cinematographer and director Marine Atlan studied at La Fémis in Paris and worked as a camera woman for films by Louise Hémon, Benoît Bouthors, Caroline Poggi, and Jonathan Vinel. Her debut film Les amours vertes (The Green Loves, 2016) was awarded the main prize at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. For the sensitive staging of the film Daniel fait face (Daniel faces), she received a Special Mention in the Kplus competition in 2019.
María Novaro (Mexico)
Mexican filmmaker María Novaro premiered with her feature film Tesoros at Generation in 2017. Her films were shown at all renowned film festivals worldwide, including Danzón (1991) in Cannes and Sin dejar huella (Leaving No Trace) at Sundance in 2000. In the 1970s, she was part of the artist collective “Cine-Mujer”. Novaro now heads the Mexican Film Institute – IMCINE.
Erik Schmitt (Germany)
German director Erik Schmitt had a close connection with Generation. Following his two short films Nashorn im Galopp (Rhino Full Throttle, 2013) and Berlin Metanoia (2016), his feature film debut Cleo opened the Generation Kplus competition in 2019. He received the German Short Film Award for Nun sehen Sie Folgendes (Now Follows, 2011). He now works on the science fiction film Rebel Girl with his Berlin production company Seven Elephants.
The award ceremony for the Generation 14plus competition will take place on 28 February, while the awards for the Generation Kplus competition will be announced on 29 February, both at the Urania, the main venue for the Kinderfilmfest.
The Children’s and the Youth Jury
The youngest official Berlinale juries consist of eleven Berlin children aged 11-14 for the Generation Kplus competition and seven young people from 14 years of age for the Generation 14plus competition. Independent of the International Juries, they will award the Crystal Bears for the Best Short and Best Film. Young festival attendees who shared their thoughts and comments on Generation films via the film questionnaires could qualify for participation in the Children’s or Youth jury.
The New Jury AG Kino Gilde 14plus
In addition to the official juries, the independent jury AG Kino Gilde 14plus, consisting of three young, independent cinema operators, will award a prize to a feature film from the Generation 14plus competition for the first time this year. “We are pleased to support a significant step towards cinema exploitation in Germany. This move is aimed at making more qualitative films visible to a young audience beyond the Berlinale,” says section head Maryanne Redpath regarding the new cooperation with the AG Kino Gilde.
Meanwhile, Berlinale Shorts presented its programme and the International Short Film Jury 2020.
This year, Berlinale Shorts is entering a new chapter. After Maike Mia Höhne headed the section for 12 years, Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck took over the position as curator and section head.
The total of 24 films from 18 countries flow through a broad spectrum of topics and aesthetics. They invite to reflect, inspire, and discuss.
In 1988, Gabriele Stötzer took the liberty and asked her friends in the East German city of Erfurt to dance in ecstasy at self-chosen locations (Veitstanz/Feixtanz). Some 22 years later, virtual soldiers try to desert within a computer game and thus undermine the social rules of gaming and war (How to Disappear). Both small and large moments of refusal (HaMa’azin, Filipiñana, Girl and Body, So We live, Inflorescence) are searched for as well as the concrete feeling of freedom that was taken away by a prison sentence (Huntsville Station).
Death and disappearance are themes that run throughout the programme (Gumnaam Din and À l’entrée de la nuit). Idiosyncratic mourning rituals provide comfort and create a sense of community (Playback. Ensayo de una despedida and Écume) as well as constitute a form of confrontation with the present (Union County and Atkūrimas) and past (Cause of Death) of our society.
And then there are all of the cinematic worlds that lift the veil of reality (Genius Loci and Celle qui porte la pluie) or create their own universes (It Wasn’t the Right Mountain, Mohammad; Stump the Guesser; and My Galactic Twin Galaction).
Setting one’s own aesthetic rules opens up cinematic spaces of thought (Aletsch Negative and A Demonstration). A form of freedom that can be bliss.
This year, Berlinale Shorts screenings will be enriched with more extensive Q&As, inviting the audience to participate – following the slogan “shorts take their time.” Hungarian animation filmmaker Réka Bucsi, Turkish curator Fatma Çolakoğlu, and filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese from Lesotho are the International Short Film Jury 2020.
Bucsi’s magical-surreal animated films Symphony no. 42, LOVE and Solar Walk celebrated their premieres at the Berlinale Shorts, and were shown at festivals worldwide (Sundance, SXSW, Annecy, Pictoplasma, etc.) and won over 50 prizes. For Solar Walk, she received the Audi Short Film Award 2018 at the Berlinale. This film was based on a 45-minute film symphony, a work which she realised on behalf of and in collaboration with the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra. Bucsi received both a BA and MA from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. Her clients include Adult Swim, FX Networks, and Cartoon Network. She lives and works in Budapest.
Çolakoğlu has been a curator for exhibitions, films, and video art for 15 years now. In 2005, she established the film department of the Istanbul Modern – Museum of Contemporary Art. Subsequently, she was responsible for the film and video programme of Pera Film and headed the communications department of the Pera Museum in Istanbul. Today, Çolakoğlu is associate director for research and programming at SALT in Istanbul. She received her BA in film history and production from Emerson College in the USA and her MA in Theatre Directing from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Mosese is a filmmaker and artist from Lesotho, currently based in Berlin. He works as author, director, and cinematographer. His award-winning short films and video art works were presented internationally. Mosese’s long film essay “Mother, I am Suffocating. This is My Last Film About You.” celebrated its premiere in 2019 at the Berlinale Forum. His feature film This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection was screened at the International Film Festivals in Venice and Rotterdam, the Museum of Modern Art, and at the Sundance Film Festival.
Mosese was an alumnus of Berlinale Talents (2012) and participated in several film programmes: Focus Features Africa First, Realness Screenwriter’s Residency, Final Cut Venice, Venice Biennale Cinema College, and Cannes L’Atelier.
In the 2020 edition, the new competitive section Encounters will be introduced. Its goal is to support new voices in cinema and to give more room to diverse narrative and documentary forms in the official programme. A three-member jury will choose the winners for Best Film, Best Director, and Special Jury Award. The Encounters programme features 15 films (14 world premieres), four debuts, and an animation. The following figures were appointed to the Jury.
Shôzô Ichiyama (Japan)
Born in 1963 in the Yamaguchi Prefecture of Japan, Shôzô Ichiyama graduated from Tokyo University in 1987 and worked as the producer. He founded the Tokyo Filmex film festival in 2000. Since 2013, Ichiyama has served as a visiting professor at Tokyo University of Arts. His latest productions include Ryu san (Mr. Long) by SABU, which ran in the Competition at the Berlinale in 2017 and Jiang hu er nü (Ash is Purest White) by Jia Zhang-ke, which was selected for the competition at Cannes in 2018. His latest film Aru sendo no hanashi (They Say Nothing Stays the Same) by Joe Odagiri was selected for the Venice Days 2019. Also, The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time by Yerlan Nurmukhambetov and Lisa Takeba was the opening film at Busan in 2019.
Dominga Sotomayor (Chile)
Dominga Sotomayor is a film director, writer, and producer. He was born in Santiago de Chile in 1985. Her first feature film De Jueves a Domingo (Thursday Till Sunday, 2012) was developed at the Cannes Cinéfondation Residence. It won the Tiger Award in Rotterdam and gained international recognition ever since. In 2015, she premiered her medium-length film Mar at the Berlinale Forum. For Tarde para morir joven (Too Late to Die Young, 2018), she became the first woman to receive the Leopard for Best Direction at Locarno. Sotomayor was also one of the founders of the production company CINESTACIóN and the Centro de Cine y Creación, a new arthouse cinema centre in Santiago de Chile.
Eva Trobisch (Germany)
Eva Trobisch assisted first in theatre, then in film. Previous to her MA in screenwriting at the London Film School, she studied directing at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and at the University of Television and Film Munich. With her graduation film Alles ist gut (All Is Well, 2018), she received the Young German Cinema Award as well as the FIPRESCI Prize at the Munich Film Festival in 2018. The film also gained international recognition and took home many awards, including the Woman in Motion Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 and the Best First Feature at the Locarno Film Festival in 2018. Her filmography also includes the short films Wie Du küsst (The Way You Kiss, 2013) and Es ist egal, aber (2018).