'Jolly Fellows' to open Berlin Panorama

Sidebar comprises 54 films, 31 world premieres

BERLIN -- The Berlin film festival's Panorama sidebar is coming back loud and proud this year with a lineup packed with films examining gender identity and the gay movement.

The 2010 Panorama opens Feb. 11 with the Russian film "Jolly Fellows," director Felix Mikhailov's look at the drag queen subculture of a Moscow club.

This year's lineup also features Cheryl Dunye's thriller "The Owls," in which aging lesbians try to get away with murder; and Jake Yuzna's "Open," a series of intertwined love stories featuring gay and trans-gendered partners.

Several of Panorama's documentary selections explores related themes -- such as Crayton Robery's "Making The Boys" about Matt Crowley's ground breaking gay play "The Boys in the Band;" "Cuchillo de Palo," Renate Costa's expose of persecution of homosexuals during the Paraguayan dictatorship and the German doc "Rock Hudson -- Dark and Handsome Stranger" from directors Andrew Davies and Andre Schaefer.

U.S. indies of all stripes have a strong presence at the Panorama this year, with highlights including the world premiers of Trent Cooper's comedy "Reinventing Robert Axle" (aka "Father of Invention") starring Kevin Spacey, Virginia Madsen, Johnny Knoxville and Heather Graham and the drama "Welcome to the Rileys" from director Jake Scott featuring James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart.

Panorama's Special section opens Feb. 12 with the Czech feature "Kawasaki 's Rose" from director Jan Hrebejk, a look at the failures of the Prague Spring revolution while the Panorama Dokumente kicks off the same day with "David Wants To Fly," a critical look at the international obsession with meditation from Berlin filmmaker David Sieveking.

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Another Berlin local, Andreas Kleinert, has made Panorama's official lineup, with his latest drama, "Barriere," while Julia Bacha's doc "Budrus," a look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is one of several politically-focused non-fiction works heading to Berlin in February.

In total, 54 films, including 31 world premieres, make up the Panorama lineup. The 60th Berlin festival runs Feb. 11-21.

Panorama main program lineup:
"Barriere," Andreas Kleinert, Germany (world premiere)
"Due Vita per caso" (One Life Maybe Two), Alessandro Aronadio, Italy (world premiere)
"Fucking Different Sao Paulo," Rodrigo Diaz Diaz, Luiz Rene Guerra, Sabrina Greve, Joana Galvao, Monica Palazzo, Max Julien, Ricky Mastro, Rene Guerra, Silvia Lourenco, Gustavo Vinagre, Herman Barck, Luciana Lemos, Elzemann Neves, Germany/Brazil
"Propavshyi bez vesty" (Missing Man), Anna Fenchenko, Russian Federation
"Red Hill," Patrick Hughes, Australia, (world premiere)
"The Owls," Cheryl Dunye, U.S., (world premiere)
"Veselchaki" (Jolly Fellows), Felix Mikhailov, Russian Federation
"Zona Sur" (Southern District), Juan Carlos Valdivia, Bolivia

Panorama special:
"Broder!" (Broder!), Jeferson De, Brazil
"Die Fremde" (When We Leave), Feo Aladag, Germany (world premiere)
"Mine vaganti" (Loose Cannons), Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy (world premiere)
"Monga," Doze, Niu Chen-Zer, Taiwan (world premiere)
"Open," Jake Yuzna, U.S. (world premiere)
"Paha perhe" (Bad Family), Aleksi Salmenpera, Finland
"Reinventing Robert Axle," Trent Cooper, U.S. (world premiere)
"Welcome to the Rileys," Jake Scott, U.S. (world premiere)

Panorama Dokumente:
"Arias With a Twist The Movie," Bobby Sheehan, U.S. (world premiere)
"Blank City," Celine Danhier, U.S.
"Budrus," Julia Bacha, U.S.
"Cuchillo de palo" (108), Renate Costa, Spain (world premiere)
"Daniel Schmid -- Le chat qui pense," Pascal Hofmann, Benny Jaberg, Switzerland (world premiere)
"David Wants to Fly," David Sieveking, Germany/Austria/Switzerland (world premiere)
"Friedensschlag -- Das Jahr der Entscheidung" (To Fight For -- The Year of Decision), Gerardo Milsztein, Germany (world premiere)
"Fritz Bauer -- Tod auf Raten" (Death By Installments), Ilona Ziok, Germany (world premiere)
"I Shot My Love," Tomer Heymann, Israel/Germany (world premiere)
"New York Memories," Rosa von Praunheim, Germany (world premiere)
"Red, White & The Green," Nader Davoodi, Iran
"Rock Hudson -- Dark and Handsome Stranger," Andrew Davies, Andre Schaefer, Germany (world premiere)
"Shtikat Haarchion" (A Film Unfinished), Yael Hersonski, Israel

Supporting films:
"Covered," John Greyson, Canada
"Herbert White," James Franco, U.S.
"Last Address," Ira Sachs, U.S.
The Feast of Stephen," James Franco, U.S.