Berlin Film Festival Unveils Competition Jury

Fred Meylan
Juliette Binoche

'Toni Erdmann' actress Sandra Huller, 'A Fantastic Woman' director Sebastian Lelio and Trudie Styler are among the members of the upcoming fest's panel, led by president Juliette Binoche.

The Berlin International Film Festival on Tuesday unveiled the competition jury for its 2019 edition, with German actress Sandra Huller (Toni Erdmann, In the Aisles), Oscar-winning Chilean director Sebastian Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) and British helmer (and partner to Sting) Trudie Styler among the luminaries joining jury president Juliette Binoche to pick the winners of this year's Gold and Silver Bears.

Completing the Berlinale jury are Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang and Rajendra Roy, the Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

For most of the members of this year's jury, the Berlin fest has played a pivotal role in their careers. Huller made her feature film debut there in 2006 with Requiem from director Hans-Christian Schmid, winning the Silver Bear award for best actress. Lelio's A Fantastic Woman premiered at Berlin in 2017, en route to winning the Oscar for best foreign-language film. Binoche is a Berlinale regular, having appeared in several competition films, including Lasse Hallstrom's Chocolat in 2001 and Isabel Coixet's Endless Night, which opened the festival in 2015. And Styler's directorial debut, Freak Show, had its world premiere in Berlin's Generation sidebar in 2017.

This year's jury will assess a Berlin competition lineup strong on female representation — seven of the 17 titles in the running, or 41 percent, were directed by women — but lacking an obvious frontrunner.

Spanish director Coixet, a Berlinale regular, returns with her black-and-white period drama Elisa & Marcela, the first Netflix film to screen in competition in Berlin. She will vie with Polish auteur Agnieszka Holland, whose Mr. Jones made the competition cut; German helmers Nora Fingscheidt and Angela Schanelec, who will celebrate the world premieres of their dramas System Crasher and I Was at Home, But, respectively; and Austria's Marie Kreutzer, whose The Ground Beneath My Feet focuses on a high-powered business executive who starts to lose her grip on reality.

Among the more prominent male directors in competition at Berlin this year are Francois Ozon, represented with his Catholic drama By the Grace of God; Sweden's Hans Petter Moland, back with Out Stealing Horses, his third Stellan Skarsgard-starring dramedy to play in Berlin competition following In Order of Disappearance (2014) and A Somewhat Gentle Man (2010); and Chinese master Zhang Yimou, who will present his historic drama One Second.

Fatih Akin, the last German director to win the Golden Bear (for his 2004 break-out Head-On) returns with The Golden Glove, an adaptation of the best-selling novel by Heinz Strunk about a serial killer stalking the residents of Hamburg during the early 1970s.

The 69th Berlinale is set to kick off Feb. 7 with Danish director Lone Scherfig's The Kindness of Strangers, a New York-set drama starring Zoe Kazan, Andrea Riseborough and Jay Baruchel.

The Gold and Silver Bear winners will be unveiled Feb. 16 at a gala.