Since 2006, when it introduced the Best First Feature Award, the Berlinale has been even more committed to supporting the next generation of film makers. The award is endowed with 50,000 Euros, donated by the 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 will be awarded with a high-quality viewfinder as both a useful instrument and memorable trophy.

Festival Director Dieter Kosslick and the heads of the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation, and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections have nominated a total of 18 directorial debuts. The winners will be announced at the official Award Ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on February 20.

GWFF_Jury_klein

A three-person jury will decide on the Best First Feature Award:

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).

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.

The following 18 films are nominated for the Best First Feature Award:

Competition (2)

Genius by

Genius by Michael Grandage / @Berlinale

Genius – United Kingdom / USA
By Michael Grandage
With Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, Guy Pearce

Inhebbek Hedi (Hedi) – Tunisia / Belgium / France
By Mohamed Ben Attia
With Majd Mastoura, Rym Ben Messaoud, Sabah Bouzouita, Hakim Boumessoudi, Omnia Ben Ghali

Panorama (5)

Aloys by

Aloys by Tobias Nölle / @Berlinale

Aloys – Swiss / France
By Tobias Nölle
With Georg Friedrich, Tilde von Overbeck

Já, Olga Hepnarová (I, Olga Hepnarová) – Czech Republic / Poland / Slowak Republic / France
By Tomáš Weinreb, Petr Kazda
With Michalina Olszanska, Marta Mazurek, Ondrej Malý

Nakom – Ghana / USA
By Kelly Daniela Norris, TW Pittman
With Jacob Ayanaba, Grace Ayariga, Abdul Aziz, Justina Kulidu, Shetu Musah, Esther Issaka, Thomas Kulidu, James Azudago, Felicia Awinbe, Sumaila Ndaago

San Fu Tian (Dog Days) – Hong Kong, China / People’s Republic of China
By Jordan Schiele
With Huang Lu, Tian Mu Chen, Luo Lan Shan

Shelley – Denmark / Sweden
By Ali Abbasi
With Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Cosmina Stratan, Peter Christoffersen

Forum (4)

In the Last Days of the City by

In the Last Days of the City by Tamer El Said / @Berlinale

Akher ayam el madina (In the Last Days of the City) – Egypt / Germany / United Kingdom / United Arab Emirates
By Tamer El Said
With Khalid Abdalla, Laila Samy, Hanan Youssef, Maryam Saleh, Hayder Helo

Barakah yoqabil Barakah (Barakah Meets Barakah) – Saudi Arabia
By Mahmoud Sabbagh
With Hisham Fageeh, Fatima AlBanawi, Sami Hifny

Deadweight – Germany / Finland
By Axel Koenzen
With Tommi Korpela, Ema Vetean, Archie Alemania, Jeanne Balibar

Zhī fán yè mào (Life after Life) – People’s Republic of China
By Zhang Hanyi
With Zhang Li, Zhang Mingjun, Wang Ji Shan, Wie Xiao Min, Zhang Zhi Min

Generation (5)

6A by

6A by Peter Modestij / @Berlinale

6A – Sweden
By Peter Modestij
With Emine Özkan, Tyra Olin, Omeya Lundqvist, Caroline Söderström

Rara – Chile / Argentina
By Pepa San Martín
With Julia Lübbert, Emilia Ossandón, Mariana Loyola, Agustina Muñoz

Valderama – Iran
Von Abbas Amini
Mit Hamed Alipour, Nafiseh Zare, Gity Ghasemi, Assadolah Monjazi

Woorideul (The World of Us) – Republic of Korea (South Korea)
By Yoon Ga-eun
With Choi Soo-in, Seol Hye-in, Lee Seo-yeon

Zhaleika – Germany
By Eliza Petkova
With Anna Manolova, Snezhina Petrova, Mihail Stoyanov, Stoyko Ivanov

Perspektive Deutsches Kino (2)

Agonie by

Agonie by David Clay Diaz / @Berlinale

Agonie (Agony) – Germany
By David Clay Diaz
With Samuel Schneider, Alexander Srtschin, Alexandra Schmidt

Meteorstraße (Meteor Street) – Germany
By Aline Fischer
With Hussein Eliraqui, Oktay Inanc Özdemir, Bodo Goldbeck

 

(Film still lead photo: Já, Olga Hepnarová By Tomáš Weinreb)

/Berlinale Press release/