Looking Forward to the Next Mistakes – Summary of the 17th Edition of Berlinale Talents

In front of a full house yesterday, anti-Mafia author Roberto Saviano brought the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents to a successful close. Charlotte Rampling, Erika Lust, André Téchiné, Adina Pintilie, David Lowery, Sandra Hüller, Guy Nattiv, James Schamus, Joanna Hogg and 120 other guests talked with 250 Talents and thousands of Berliners about making (sometimes wrong) choices and dealing with them productively. One thing was clear: Mistakes happen and quitting is seldom the best option – instead, you have to face personal and social challenges by finding your own artistic path, or detours, and pursuing them with a passion.

For Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Monika Grütters, who opened the screening of Nora Fingscheidt’s Competition entry Systemsprenger (System Crasher) in HAU Hebbel am Ufer, the talent development initiative is exceptional: “The Berlinale is famous for being open to the world and for addressing urgent issues of our time fearlessly and critically. Berlinale Talents is an important expression of this tradition – and the festival today would certainly be missing something without the critical perspectives of its young, international Talents.” Talents alumna Nora Fingscheidt received the 2017 Kompagnon Fellowship for her screenplay for Systemsprenger (System Crasher).

Going a Step Further, With Empathy and Openness

Straight talk about failure: Producers Cédomir Kolar, Roshanak Behesht Nedjad and Chelsea Winstanley shared their personal and culturally-specific solutions to challenging production situations in and outside of Europe. Stepping into someone else’s shoes and considering team dynamics from different angles, these important insights were shared in talks about sensitive interviewing techniques in documentary film or as part of the “Safer Set” workshop by indie adult film director Erika Lust. Alumnus Manuel Abramovich (Blue Boy, Berlinale Shorts) reiterated how important empathy can be as a key to success, quoting one of his former main protagonists, who told him: “You need to be me and I need to be you.”

Taking a Stance to Instigate Change in the Film Industry

In the Berlinale’s think tank, questions of representation were at the heart of many experts’ and Talents’ concerns. During the public roundtable “Continental Drift” on the image of Africa in film, panellists expressed their desire for more diverse perceptions, specific and sustainable support for new voices, and easing practicalities like the visa process. Current transformations in our cinema and film landscape were highlighted from a variety of perspectives; in his dialogue with the Talents, Tendo Nagenda, VP of Original Film at Netflix, emphasised that the platform’s global approach can also generate a diverse range of international content. Golden Bear winners and alumnae Adina Pintilie and Bianca Oana (Touch Me Not) presented a distinctly new focus on audience development, proposing an alternative to the often short-lived and anonymous distribution of arthouse films with their concept of intimate “Open Debates”. And in “Battle for the Big Screen: Future of Cinema” at Lichtblick-Kino (in cooperation with Berlinale Goes Kiez), Berliners were once again invited to talk with experts about joint strategies for movie theatres and streaming services.

Awards During Berlinale Talents 2019

The following awards were bestowed:

As part of the “Talent Project Market”, producer Vincenzo Cavallo from Kenya received the EUR 10,000 VFF Talent Highlight Award for Bufis (directed by Mahad Ahmed). Nomination prizes of EUR 1,000 each were awarded to producers Jessie Fisk from Ireland for Wolf and Alona Refua from Israel for Kullu Men Allah.

Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH awarded, for the seventh time during Berlinale Talents, its Film Prize for International Cooperation worth a total of EUR 180,000 to German-Arabic film teams. The winners are:

Homeless Hearts (short film)
Directed by Mohamed Sabbah (Lebanon), produced by Bastian Klügel (Germany), Ghina El Hachem (Lebanon)

Abo Zabaal 1989 (documentary)
Directed by Bassam Mortada (Egypt), produced by Anna Bolster (Germany), Kesmat Elsayed (Egypt)

Do you love me (documentary)
Directed by Lana Daher (Lebanon), produced by Jasper Mielke (Germany), Lana Daher (Lebanon)

Honourable mention:

Fouledh (documentary)
Directed by Mehdi Hmili (Tunisia), produced by Michel Balagué (Germany), Moufida Fedhila (Tunisia)

This evening, for the third time, the Perspektive Deutsches Kino and Berlinale Talents joint Kompagnon Fellowship will be awarded during the closing event for Perspektive Deutsches Kino.

Press photos and recordings from selected events are available on the Berlinale Talents website: www.berlinale-talents.de

The next edition of Berlinale Talents will take place February 22 to 27, 2020.

Download the press release in German | English

Berlinale Talents Head of Press:
Marie Ketzscher
Tel. +49.30.259 20.518

Berlinale Talents is an initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival, a business division of Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin GmbH, and is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme of the European Union, the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Federal Film Board.