Premieres drive Berlin Panorama

Mix of art house faves, actor-directors, first-timers

The Berlin International Film Festival's Panorama section will feature 26 world premieres in a lineup that represents a typically eclectic mix of established art house names, including Hal Hartley, Wim Wenders, Steve Buscemi and Sarah Polley, along with a raft of first-time helmers.

Buscemi and Polley represent one trend in this year's Panorama lineup: actors behind the camera. Buscemi will screen his latest directorial effort, "Interview," while Polley's helming debut, "Away From Her," will premiere as part of the Panorama Special section.

Other actor-directors whose films will screen in this year's Panorama include Julie Delpy ("Two Days in Paris") and Antonio Banderas ("Summer Rain").

Polley is one of three Canadian entries this year, joining Panorama opener "The Tracey Fragments," from Bruce McDonald, and Clement Virgo's drama "Poor Boy's Game."

U.S. independents also have a strong presence, with titles ranging from Hartley's tale of international espionage "Fay Grim" to Jamie Babbit's high school-set comedy "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" to such politically tinged documentaries as Lynn Hershmann-Leeson's "Strange Culture" and "Miss Gulag" by Maria Yatskova.

International highlights include Turkish drama "Takva: A Man's Fear of God" by Ozer Kiziltan, which was produced by famed German director Fatih Akin ("Head-On"); and the omnibus documentary "Invisibles," produced by Spanish actor Javier Bardem and featuring sections directed by Isabel Coixet, Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Mariano Barroso, Javier Corcuera and Wenders.

This year's Panorama jury, which selects the winners for the section's Manfred Salzgeber Prize, are Kanako Hayashi, director of Tokyo's Filmex film festival; visual artist and filmmaker Udi Aloni; and German producer Jost Hering.

The Panorama section is expanding this year, offering 41 extra screenings, including ones at the Cubix theaters on Berlin's Alexanderplatz for the first time. The Berlin fest runs Feb. 8-18.

The full Panorama lineup can be found at www.hollywood reporter.com.
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