Tonight will be the climax of three days of hectic activity for the Shooting Stars, as they come onstage at the Berlinale-Palast to accept their awards. Over this period, they have had intense sessions with numerous casting directors who come each year to the Berlinale for the annual meeting of the International Casting Directors Network. The ten have had the opportunity to meet talent agents – although increasingly our Shooting Stars are arriving not only with agents in their home country but also with international representation, such is the growing international interest in European acting talent. And of course they have met the press.
|Charles Gant © Ralf Uhler|
This morning, in a break from the official activities, the actors were invited to special tours by three Berlin residents from the film industry. Talent agent Mechthild Holter from the Players agency took Cosmina Stratan (Romania), Marwan Kenzari (Netherlands) and Mateusz Kosciukiewicz on a tour of Alexanderplatz, including the revolving restaurant at the top of the TV Tower. Italian actor Luca Marinella, who is now resident in Berlin after coming here as a 2013 Shooting Star, invited Maria Dragus (Germany), Miriam Karlkvist (Italy) and George MacKay (UK) to check out his favourite places in Kreuzberg, scene of the famous Banksy graffiti art and many street murals. And Nikola Rakocevic (Serbia) and I joined director Anno Saul in his own lakeside home in Hohenschoenhausen, for some exercise and sunshine next to Lake Obersee, and culture in the Mies Van Der Rohe Haus museum and gallery that is nearby. This beautiful lakeside spot was once the home of many elite Stasi members, who used the single-storey 1932 Mies Van Der Rohe house as a laundry facility.
Having served on the jury last December where we are judging based on the submitted spotlight films and the actors' showreels, it's been particularly special to spend time with all ten of the Shooting Stars – who also include Danica Curcic (Denmark), Edda Magnason (Sweden) and Jakob Oftebro (Norway) – at the Berlinale. I have served on juries for rising acting talent before, and of course I am aware that such accolades are useful for bringing press attention, enhancing status in our very competitive film industry, and giving a little extra spotlight to their next movies. But what I had never previously understood was the personal boost it also gives, and especially in their own confidence as actors, to receive this endorsement. I will leave Berlin knowing that the Shooting Stars initiative is more vital than I ever suspected, and I am happy to have played my small part.
Charles Gant, Shooting Stars 2014 jury member
Tonight, the ten Shooting Stars will walk the red carpet before Berlinale Competition film In Order Of Disappearance, and receive their Shooting Star awards on-stage before the film