BERLIN: Two famous film veterans director Abel Ferrara and actor Willem Dafoe make the Italian, German, Mexican coproduction Siberia a tour de force fantasy that has earned the film a place in the main competition at this year’s Berlinale.  This is not the first time Ferrara and Dafoe have worked together and the close collaboration between them make you feel that this odd and sometimes frustrating excursion into Ferrara’s strange mind could not have been made with any other actor by Dafoe.

BERLIN: This is the fifth time in the main competition for German director Christian Petzold who has scored a slot in the lineup with Undine based on the myth of the water nymph which he has updated and set in contemporary Berlin.  Audiences will remember Petzold for his fine work on previous films Barbara, Phoenix and Transit that were major hits with critics and international art house audiences.  Petzold is a director that likes to take the woman’s point of view in his films and Undine is no exception.

BERLIN: An unlikely and daring choice for the main competition in Berlin the Russian, German, Ukraine, UK coproduction DAU.Natasha directed by Ilya Khrzhanovskiy and Jekaterina Oertel is the first film to emerge from the massive, multidisciplinary DAU art project an experiment in film and performance installation and probably some other things that no one has dreamed up a name for yet.  DAU is meant to recreate the experience of living everyday life in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and is set in a fictional Soviet research institute.

BERLIN: American director Eliza Hittman takes on the issue of teenage pregnancy and abortion in here lately film Never Rarely Sometimes Always which is screening in the main competition in Berlin this year. Hittman also wrote the script for this topical look at teenagers and the problems and choices they face.  Her previous films Beach Rats and It Felt Like Love also have tackled youth and anxiety but none so successfully as Never Rarely Sometimes Always.

BERLIN: American director Kelly Reichardt arrives in the main competition with First Cow an adaptation of Jon Raymond’s novel The Half Life sent in the Oregon wilderness during the early days of the American pioneers.  The pioneers in the Pacific Northwest is familiar territory for Reichardt as her highly regarded film Meek’s Cutoff about the fate of pioneers who died as they made their way west along the Oregon Trail was also set in this period.

TALLINN: FNE teamed up with the Baltic Event in Tallinn this year to promote innovation and let film professionals what tools are on offer on the Film New Europe web portal to help them meet the challenges of connecting with audiences in the digital age.

WARSAW: The cinema industry is an event industry and we are already feeling the impact of the Coronavirus crisis much more strongly than many other industry sectors as festivals are cancelled and cinemas are closed. Some big film productions have shut down. There is no doubt our industry is struggling across Europe as isolation and quarantine become the norm as the necessity to keep the public safe rightly takes priority.

FNE asked Elisabetta Brunella, head of Milano based Media Salles, about the latest trends in cinema admissions, especially in Central and Eastern Europe and what this can tell us about the future of the industry.

BERLIN: The 70th Berlin Film Festival (20 February - 1 March 2020) awarded its top prize the Golden Bear for Best Film in the main competition to the German/Czech/Iranian coproduction There Is No Evil / Sheytan vojud nadarad directed by Mohammad Rasoulof and produced by Cosmopol Film (Germany), Europe Media Nest (Czech Republic), Filminiran (Iran).

BERLIN: This year, the European Film Forum (EFF) season starts at the Berlinale. The forum will be held on 24 February, from 14:00-16:30 at a new venue the Landesvertretung Schleswig-Holstein, In den Ministergärten 8, 10117 Berlin.

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