'Cherry' With Heather Graham and James Franco Gets Berlin World Premiere

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BERLIN – Cherry, the debut feature from writer/director Stephen Elliot starring Heather Graham and James Franco will have its world premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlin international film festival.

Ashley Hinshaw plays a troubled woman who gets involved with a coke-addled lawyer (Franco) and San Francisco’s pornography scene, in particular with a performer turned adult film director (Graham). Lili Taylor and Dev Patel also star.

On the other end of the film spectrum, Iron Sky, the long-in-production Finnish Nazis-from-space movie, will also gets its world premiere in Berlin. The sci-fi feature from first-timer Timo Vuorensola has garnered attention in the industry for its unique use of crowd-funding in securing its budget. The producers used online donations and investments as a guarantee to secure traditional bank loans. Germany’s Udo Kier, Gotz Otto and Julia Dietze star alongside Christopher Kirby (Matrix Revolutions).

In total, 34 features will have their first bow in Berlin’s Panorama this year. Highlights include Alexei Mizgirev’s The Convoy, an apocalyptic look at the police and military in Russia today; the feline-focused drama Rent-A-Cat from Japanese filmmaker Naoko Ogigami and My Brother The Devil from first-time British director Sally El Hosaini which follows two teenage brothers, both British Arabs, who struggle to survive in the London gang scene.

Queer cinema fans will have plenty to celebrate this year, when Berlin’s Teddy award, given to the best LGBT feature screening at the Berlin festival, honor underground cinema legend Mario Montez  - star of Andy Warhol’s Camp – as well as German director Ulrike Ottinger (Prater) with a special Teddy for lifetime achievement.

The 62nd Berlin international film festival runs Feb.9-19.

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