Berlin taps troika for jury duty


COLOGNE, Germany -- The Berlin International Film Festival has selected the three-person jury for this year's Best First Feature Award.

The jurists are Gerhard Meixner, co-managing director of Berlin-based production house Razor Films, which co-produced Oscar-nominated "Paradise Now"; Iranian actress and director Niki Karimi, who won the best actress nod in San Sebastian for "Hidden Half"; and U.K. producer Judy Counihan, whose features include the Oscar-winning "No Man's Land" (2001) and "Antonia" (1995).

The First Feature Award, now in its second year, comes with a €50,000 ($64,500) cash prize and is awarded to the best debut film running in the Panorama, Forum or Generation sections of the Berlin festival. The prize money is split between the director and producer of the winning film.

This year, 15 films will compete for the prize, which will be announced Feb. 17 during the official awards ceremony in the Berlinale Palast.

The 57th annual Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb. 8-18.