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Berlinale Special

Bestsellers (Can-UK)

Dir. Lina Roessler
After shipping award-winning shorts, including 2017 Mustard Seed, Canadian actress Roessler makes her directorial debut with a comedy starring Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza about a mad retired writer who reluctantly goes on one last tour of books to help a young publisher. The film was produced by Cassian Elwes for Pierre Even’s Item 7 and Wishing Tree Productions. Contact: Unlimited foresight

courage (German)

Gov. Aliaksei Paluyan
This full-length documentary about the recent problems and mass protests in Belarus that were sparked by the controversial presidential elections marks the feature film debut of the German-born, Belarus-born filmmaker Paluyan. The film follows three actors from an underground theater in Minsk who are embroiled in the vortex of mass demonstrations against the existing regime. Courage is the first film from Belarus to have been selected for the main program of the Berlinale in almost 20 years. It is produced by the German Living Pictures Production. Contact: Rise and Shine films

For Lucio (It)

To you. Pietro Marcello
After the award-winning success with the drama Martin Eden from Venice and Toronto, the Italian filmmaker Marcello is returning to his documentary roots with an article about the late musician Lucio Dalla. The life of the Italian singer / songwriter, whose biggest hit was “Caruso”, is examined through interviews with his manager Umberto “Tobia” Righi and his childhood friend, Stefano Bonaga, among other things. Dalla also composed songs for some of the greatest Italian film directors, including Mario Monicelli and Michelangelo Antonioni. IBC Movie and Rai Cinema are producers. Contact: The match factory

I am Karl (Ger-Czech)

To you. Christian Schwochow
German writer / director Schwochow’s credits include local box office hit Paula, the Netflix miniseries Bad Banks, and two episodes of The Crown. His latest contribution is about the survivor of a terrorist attack (Luna Wedler) who joins a beguiling student (Jannis Niewöhner) in a youth movement that wants to seize power. Both leads are former EFP shooting stars. The German Pandora Film Produktion produces with the Negativ Film Productions of the Czech Republic. Contact: The match factory

Language lessons (US)

To you. Natalie Morales
This drama by Duplass Brothers Productions marks the directorial debut of the Cuban-American TV star Morales (Dead To Me, Parks And Recreation), who plays the film with the indie veteran Mark Duplass. Filmed in secret last year in California and Costa Rica, the language class revolves around a man whose husband surprises him after tragedy with Spanish classes and connections with his teacher. The film will also run on SXSW Online 2021 in the Narrative Spotlight section. Contact: ICM partner

limbo (HK-China)

To you. Soi Cheang
Following the success of the SPL II and The Monkey King trilogies, Hong Kong director Cheang returns with a gritty crime story about a reinstated veteran cop working with a rookie officer to hunt down a serial killer. With Wisdom Tooth as the Chinese title, the film is adapted from the novel of the same name by the Chinese author Lei Mi. Investors include Sun Entertainment Culture, Bona Film Group and Erdong Culture (Beijing) with Wilson Yip (Ip Man series) and Paco Wong (SPL series) as producers. Lam Ka Tung, Cya Liu, and Mason Lee star. Contact: Quin Lau, Sun Entertainment Culture

tide (Ger-Switz)

To you. Tim Fehlbaum
The Swiss filmmaker Fehlbaum continues his science fiction hell in 2011 with another dystopian thriller. Tides focuses on an elite astronaut (Nora Arnezeder) who travels from a space colony to a devastated Earth and must make a decision that seals the fate of both planets. The cast includes Iain Glen from Game Of Thrones. Saban Films has rights in North America and the United Kingdom. The producers are BerghausWöbke Filmproduktion, Vega Film and Resident Evil Outfit Constantin Film. Executive producers include Independence Day director Roland Emmerich. Contact: Mister Smith Entertainment

Tina (US)

Dirs. Dan Lindsay, TJ Martin
This documentary, which chronicles the life of music icon Tina Turner, was already attracting attention when Universal Pictures Content Group hit most of the world and is planning theatrical releases for several territories this summer. Directed by Oscar-winning actress Lindsay and Martin (Undefeated) are Simon Chinn (Searching For Sugar Man), Jonathan Chinn (Whitney) and Diane Becker (Belushi) of Lightbox. Tina will launch Max in North America on HBO through HBO, while Altitude is planning a release in the UK in April. Contact: Universal Pictures Content Group

Who we were (German)

Dir. Marc Bauder
Seven years after his bank documentary Master Of The Universe won the Critics’ Week Prize at the Locarno Film Festival and the best documentary at the European Film Awards, the German Bauder returns with a cinematic essay in which he asks what future generations of will hold us. Inspired by Roger Willemsen’s posthumously published book of the same name from 2016, the film asks six intellectuals, including an astronaut, an oceanologist, and a Buddhist monk. Warner Bros and X Verleih are released in Germany. Before that, Bauder was at the 2006 Berlinale with Last To Know, which played in Panorama. Contact: Boutique movies

Forum Highlights

Tsarevna scaling

On the occasion of the second edition, which is being overseen by the German film writer Cristina Nord, this year’s forum sidebar has given more space to first-time filmmakers. Seven of the 17 members were selected by directorial directors. This includes the Argentine Manque La Banca, with whom she makes her debut ski, and Inheritance by the American artist / filmmaker Ephraim Asili.

The latter, first selected for Toronto 2020, links the history of the MOVE organization, the Black Arts movement and Asili’s involvement in a black Marxist collective.

Jean-Luc Godard’s La Chinoise uses inheritance as a touchstone Just one movementwhich focuses on the character of Omar from the 1967 film. The director is the US-born Brussels director Vincent Meessen, whose Ultramarine won the Tiger Award for best short film at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2019.

Tsarevna scaling marks the feature film debut of the Russian photographer Uldus Bakhtiozina and combines a fairy tale with less traditional elements such as characters with diamond-set teeth.

The strand highlighting challenging features linking film to visual arts, theater, and literature also includes more established filmmakers. This includes the Israeli documentary filmmaker Avi Mograbi, who examines the meaning of the cast in The First 54 Years – An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupationsold by The Party Film Sales.

Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong returns with a coming-of-age feature come here, sold by Rediance. The Berlin directors Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe portray a real killer with a puppet in their docu-drama hybrid anamnese, sold by Deckert Distribution.

The selection of 17 titles, which includes 14 world premieres, is half the size of the list of 35 titles last year, as the festival is getting smaller for its virtual edition.

generation Highlights

Ninja baby

The 15 films in this year’s Generation series, which focuses on youth-oriented stories, offer “a break from life as we currently know it,” according to department head Maryanne Redpath. While the selection has significantly decreased compared to the 59 competition entries from 2020, it is no less diverse in this pandemic year.

Among the seven world premieres are Mission Ulja Funk, the debut of German filmmaker Barbara Kronenberg, sold by Picture Tree International; documentary Last days at sea, the first feature by Filipino director Venice Atienza; and Ukrainian youth drama Stop Zemlia by Kateryna Gornostai, represented by Pluto Film in Berlin for international distribution.

It’s also a premiere The white fortress, a co-production between Canada and Bosnia and Herzegovina directed by Igor Drljaca, whose drama Krivina played in Toronto in 2012, while its successor The Waiting Room was selected for Locarno in 2015.

Other features that are to celebrate their world premiere are the Argentine production A school in Cerro Huesodirected by Betania Cappato; Eco documentation From the wild sea, from the debut of Danish filmmaker Robin Petré, sold by DR Sales; and Swiss feature The Fam, Directed by Fred Baillif and sold by Latido Films. His international debut is Ninja baby, the second feature by Yngvild Sve Flikke from Norway after the Women In Oversized Men’s Shirts from 2015. TrustNordisk takes care of world sales.

Asia and Scandinavia are well represented with four entries each, and 60% of Generation films are made by women – 75% of women filmmakers make up the Kplus selection.

Strong heroines lead six of the eight films in the Kplus competition, including South Korea Short vacation, the debut of director duo Kwon Min-pyo and Seo Hansol, sold by M-Line Distribution; and Amanda Adolfsson’s Scandinavian supernatural adventure Nelly Rapp – Monster Agent, sold by REinvent Studios.

The line-up also includes Beans, the debut feature film for Mohawk Girls director Tracey Deer, which is inspired by real life and focuses on a Mohawk girl who comes of age during the armed conflict over land rights of the 1990 Oka Crisis. Worldwide distribution was taken over by WaZabi Films ahead of the Toronto New Wave Discovery premiere last year.

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