First day of class at Talent Campus

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The Berlinale Talent Campus celebrated its fifth anniversary Saturday night as established international talents including director Walter Salles, composer Jan Kaczmarek and last year's Golden Bear winner Jasmila Zbanic joined festival director Dieter Kosslick and campus director Dorothee Wenner in welcoming the 350 young filmmakers participating in this year's event.

The Talent Campus kicked off with the Berlin Today Award, which this year went to the short "Wasserschlacht -- The Great Boarder Battle" from directors Kasia Klimkiewicz and Andrew Friedman.

A documentary on the annual waterfight between two neighboring Berlin districts -- one in east Berlin, one in the West -- "Wasserschacht" was chosen by the Berlin Today jury of German directors Sebastian Schipper ("A Friend Of Mine" and Thomas Grube ("Rhythm Is It!") and author Wladimir Kaminer.

The Talent Campus -- this year in the new venue the Hebbel am Ufer Theatre (HAU) -- runs through Thursday and features discussions, lectures and workshops from film makers as varied as "the pope of trash" John Waters, Canadian actress Sarah Polley and Mexican star, and Berlinale jury member, Gael Garcia Bernal.

The 350 talents come from more than 100 countries and were selected from almost 4,000 applications from around the world.

Campus director Dorothee Wenner said by cutting the number of participants from last year's record 500 is an attempt to make the event more manageable.

"Speaking with previous participants, we found one of the main things they complained about was that it was all too big, so in addition to reducing the numbers, we've also reduced the number of events."

Politics will again take center stage at this year's Campus, with two panels exploring the issues and challenges of making politically-charged cinema. On Monday, directors Jasmila Zbanic ("Grbavica"), Gregory Nava ("Bordertown") and Raoul Peck ("Sometimes in April") will discuss how to find the proper balance between the personal and the political in film making.

On Tuesday, a group of experienced filmmakers will share their survival strategies for shooting in crisis regions around the globe.

Technology is another key issue for emerging talents and one that German director Tom Tykwer ("Perfume: The Story of a Murderer") will debate with producer Kees Kasander ("Prospero's Books," "Ken Park") at a panel today between 5–6:30 p.m. at the HAU 1 building.

Talent Campus participants will also have a hands-on opportunity to engage with new filmmaking technologies as part of the Garage Studio. Introduced for the first time this year, the workshop will see the talents produce digital shorts that will be presented as exclusive podcasts on the Talent Campus website: www.berlinale-talentcampus.de.
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