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Heartfelt and daring – Berlinale Talents 2018 Turns Out a Successful Edition

Cinematographer Rui Poças and participant Julia Hoenemann at the Camera Studio Workshop
Cinematographer Rui Poças and participant Julia Hoenemann at the Camera Studio Workshop

The 16th edition of Berlinale Talents came to a successful close. Gus Van Sant, Josephine Decker, Christian Petzold, Nancy Schreiber, Agnès Godard, Tom Tykwer, Mónica Lairana and Lav Diaz, amongst 120 other mentors and experts, met in cinematic dialogue with 250 Talents and several thousand Berliners, with a notable sense of honesty and openness. The talks and the Talent-dedicated formats were not only about secrets to success and career leaps, but also about facing personal setbacks and coping with challenges.

Going Beyond the Comfort Zone
“What you struggle with, what you don’t want your parents to see, that’s the film you should make,” recommended International Jury President Tom Tykwer in his opening speech. Exchange rather than secrecy, collaboration rather than withholding knowledge – Tykwer’s talk addressed the themes running throughout the entire Berlinale Talents programme. Honorary Golden Bear recipient Willem Dafoe and Eric Schlosser from the Glashütte Original ― Documentary Award Jury also spoke openly about their experiences and articulated practical outlooks on the future of filmmaking.

Breaking Away From Conventional Narration
In their talks, Berlinale Talents experts returned often to aspects of gender equality as well as cultural and sexual diversity. Cinematographer Nancy Schreiber, who interacted with colleague Agnès Godard and an enthusiastic public, encouraged women filmmakers to get active: “We have to be political, vocal, we can’t sit around hoping that somebody else will do it.” But Schreiber added that society is already undergoing a major change. Gus Van Sant shared her opinion, commenting in his talk that filmmakers today have far more opportunities to tell queer stories than their counterparts in the past.
The Berlinale’s networking and talent development platform also offered its participants multiple opportunities to try out new perspectives and contribute their own specific cultural point of view. Madagascar film critic and “Talent Press” participant Domoina Ratsara is convinced that African filmmakers should “take apart their own history” in order to move past the dominance of foreign narratives.
In an open format that was inspired by improvisation and collaboration, musicians and composers Ryūichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai rounded off the “Secrets”-themed Berlinale Talents experience and captured the audience’s attention up to the very last minute.

Prizes Awarded During Berlinale Talents 2018

Numerous filmmakers received awards as part of Berlinale Talents.

At the “Talent Project Market”, Chinese producer Jing Wang was the happy recipient of the 10,000 euro VFF Talent Highlight Award for her project Tropical Memories. The nomination prizes, each worth 1,000 euros, went to Israeli producer Maya Fischer (Milk) and Danish producer Charlotte de La Gournerie (Flee).

For the sixth time Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH awarded film grants in the amount of 60,000 euros each for courageous German-Arab film productions:
In animation: How My Grandmother Became a Chair; directed and written by Nicolas Fattouh (Lebanon), produced by Fabian Driehorst (Germany), co-produced by Nermine Haddad (Lebanon).
In documentary film: Purple Sea, directed by Khaled Abdulwahed and Amel Alzakout (Syria), screenwriter and co-producer: Khaled Abdulwahed, produced by Ines Meier (Germany).
In short film: Maradona’s Legs, directed and written by Firas Khoury (Palestine), produced by Zorana Musikic (Germany), co-produced by May Odeh (Palestine).

In addition to the three aforementioned winning teams, other nominees for the grant this year received a special prize. For the first time, the Dubai International Film Festival offered an invitation to the Dubai Film Market for a representative of the team from the project Embodied Chorus.

Co-Partner Nespresso announced a vertical video competition “Nespresso Talents 2018” with a call to share stories and create videos about inspiring women. Under the motto “The Difference She Makes”, participants can submit their films to by March 25, 2018. The official announcement of the winning film – which includes a cash prize and participation in a mentoring programme – will take place during the Cannes Film Festival on May 11.

Finally, and already for the second time, the joint Kompagnon-Fellowship from Perspektive Deutsches Kino and Berlinale Talents will be awarded during the closing ceremony for Perspektive Deutsches Kino this evening.

Press photos as well as selected Berlinale Talents event recordings are being made available at

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, Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Federal Film Board.

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