Samuel Maoz, Rafi Pitts Among First Berlinale Residency Participants

Six international directors will travel to Berlin for four months to develop new film projects.

COLOGNE, Germany – Venice Golden Lion-winner Samuel Maoz (Lebanon), Iranian director Rafi Pitts (The Hunter) and Irish filmmaker Rebecca Daly (The Other Side of Sleep) will be among the first participants in the new Berlinale Residency program, an initiative set up by the Berlin film festival.

Under the program, a group of film industry professionals will pick six filmmakers to be invited to Berlin for a four-month residency to finish work on in-development screenplays. The participants will also meet with market experts to develop production and marketing strategies for their upcoming projects.

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The other three participants in the inaugural Berlinale Residency program are: Chilean director Matías Bize (The Life of Fish), Filipino filmmaker Raya Martin (Manila) and Sacha Polak, the Dutch director of Hemel, which debuted in the Forum sidebar of this year’s Berlin film festival and won the FIPRESCI critics’ award.

The jury for the inaugural Berlinale Residency program were: Fortissimo Films chairman Michael Werner; Danish producer Vibeke Windelov (Dancer in the Dark); Berlinale program manager Thomas Hailer; Bruno Bettati, director of the Valdivia film festival in Chile and Simon Ofenloch, a commissioning editor at European public broadcaster ZDF/Arte.

The first Berlinale Residency kicks off this September. The initiative is backed by Berlin’s Nipkow Program, which provides grants for film and TV professionals to finance long-term training and by Mexico’s Guadalajara International Film Festival.

The Berlinale Residency participants will present their projects at the Berlinale co-production market, which runs alongside the Berlin film festival in February and/or at Guadalajara’s Ibero-American co-production meeting in March, 2013.