Berlin digest: Smitsman's 'Raak' wins Silver Bear

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Dutch director Hanro Smitsman has won this year's Golden Bear for a short film for his ingenious humoristic tryptich movie "Raak." The jury, comprised of producer Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima (Nigeria), critic and producer Riina Sildos (Estonia) and director Ning Ying (China), said they chose the title for being "a brilliant film" on its approach to the subjects of love, anger and desperation. "We honor the ability of the director to show in a compact manner three angles of the same story," they said. The runner-up Silver Bear award was shared by France's Manuel Schapira for the comedy "Decroche" and the urban love story "Mei" from Arvin Chen, a USA-Taiwan coproduction. The Prix UIP went to "Rotten Apple" by Ralitza Petrova of the U.K., the story of a young boys' quest for a normal family life. The awards were presented Tuesday evening at a ceremony in Berlin's Kino International theatre.

Hong Kong will open with "Cyborg"
Hong Kong International Film Festival curator Jacob Wong said Tuesday that this year's event will kick off with "I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK." Director Park Chan-wook and leading talent Rain (Jung Ji-hoon) and Lim Soo-jung will attend the official opening gala March 19 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, with the festival running March 20-April 11 this year. The film unspooled In Competition here earlier this week. Said Wong: "Park Chan-wook's masterpiece underscores the beauty of the human condition, profoundly touching on compassion which resonates universally."

Academy Breaks takes low-key approach
Bleary-eyed execs looking to escape the industry hustle on Potsdamer Platz would be well-advised to take the short walk to Kothener Str. 44 and enjoy the chill out atmosphere of the Academy Breaks. The event, which features low-key discussions and panels in a no-stress setting, is organized by the German Film Academy and runs through Friday. The talks, which features prominent names from the German and international film scene, are held every day between 1-2 p.m. The Academy Breaks lounge is open from noon to 3 p.m. daily.

Cannes Marche broadens online network
The Cannes Marche du Film has changed the web address of its on-line international film community network to cinando.com. Launched in 2000 as cannesmarket.com, the database was initially centered around the Riviera event, but since 2005 it has widened into a year-round tool for film industry professionals. Information on available titles is continually updated, notably for the main movie markets including AFM, Berlin's EFM, Toronto and Cannes. The site has details of more than 1,500 titles in Berlin, as well as listings for buyers and sellers attending. Cinando.com contains entries on more than 6,000 companies and more than 8,000 movie titles, detailing available rights in given territories. The site is run by the Cannes market in conjunction with the Media Program of the European Commission, and enables industryites to follow companies, people and film projects from pre-production to the screen even after the film markets end.
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