9 new Shooting Stars chosen for Berlin


MUNICH -- European Film Promotion, the EU cinema marketing agency, has revamped its signature Shooting Stars program for the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival. The festival is set for Feb. 7-17.

For the first time since EFP was founded in 1997, a jury has selected the top new European actors from among nominees by member organizations. Until now, each country represented in the EFP got to chose its own Shooting Star -- and Germany and France, because of the size of their markets, got two picks each. This led to a veritable meteor shower of hopeful young actors at the annual press conference, casting agent breakfast and awards ceremony during the Berlinale.

The jury for the 2008 Shooting Stars is made up of Italian casting director Beatrice Kruger, U.S. personal manager Derek Power, Danish producer Vibeke Windelov, German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and the U.K.'s Shooting Star from 2002, Lucy Russell. In another innovation, the jury will mentor the actors selected for this year's program in order to nurture their international careers.

Another crucial change is that the featured actors' recent films will all be shown, either in Berlinale sidebars or at the European Film Market, as well as at other international festivals. In previous years, many of the chosen actors faded right back into obscurity because no one saw the films in which they had starred.

Despite all these drawbacks, the Shooting Stars program certainly helped launch the international careers of several young European actors, including Daniel Craig, Franka Potente and Rachel Weisz.

The new strategy, by focusing more intensely on a smaller number of actors, may be even more helpful in the long run. A few of the actors have already got a head start on becoming well-known names, including Denmark's Stine Fischer Christensen, who was in the Oscar-nominated "After the Wedding"; the Romanian actor Annamaria Marinca, who starred in this year's Cannes Palme d'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"; Germany's Hannah Herzsprung from Stephen Daldry's upcoming "The Reader"; and British actor Andrew Garfield, who was in the Robert Redford-helmed "Lions for Lambs."

The nine European actors selected by the jury as this year's "Shootings Stars" are:

Stine Fischer Christensen (Susanne Bier's "After the Wedding," 2006) -- Denmark
Nicolas Cazale (Eric Guirado's "The Grocer's Son," 2006) -- France
Hannah Herzsprung (Stephen Daldry's "The Reader," 2008) -- Germany
Zsolt Nagy (Eric Novak's "Nosedive," 2007) -- Hungary
Elio Germano (Daniele Luchetti's "My Brother is an Only Child," 2007) -- Italy
Maryam Hassouni (Albert ter Heert's "Kicks," 2007) -- The Netherlands
Annamaria Marinca (Christian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" 2007) -- Romania
Joel Basman (Dominique de Rivaz's "Life For Sale," 2008) -- Switzerland
Andrew Garfield (Robert Redford's "Lions for Lambs," 2007) -- U.K.