Lone Scherfig's 'The Kindness of Strangers' to Open 2019 Berlin Film Festival

The Kindness of Strangers
Courtesy of the Berlin Film Festival

Zoe Kazan, Tahar Rahim, Andrea Riseborough, Caleb Landry Jones, Jay Baruchel and Bill Nighy star in the New York-set drama.

The Kindness of Strangers from Danish director Lone Scherfig (An Education), will open the 69th Berlin International Film Festival.

The New York-set drama, starring Zoe Kazan, Tahar Rahim, Andrea Riseborough, Caleb Landry Jones, Jay Baruchel and Bill Nighy, will have its world premiere in competition in Berlin on Feb.7, 2019.

Scherfig is a Berlin Festival regular. The Danish director and screenwriter made her first trip to the Berlinale in 1990 with The Birthday Trip, which screened in the Panorama sidebar. Her 1998 feature On Our Own screened in the Kinderfilmfest (now known as Generation).

Scherfig's international breakthrough also came in Berlin, when her Dogme comedy Italian For Beginners premiered in competition, and won the jury prize Silver Bear. Two years later, her English-language debut, Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, was presented in a Competition Special Screening in Berlin.

Her British coming-of-age drama An Education screened as a Berlinale Special in 2009, en route to international success and three Oscar nominations. 

“How lovely that Lone Scherfig is back and that her most recent work will open the 2019 Berlinale. Her feel for characters, strong emotions and subtle humor promises a wonderful start to the festival," said Berlin Festival director Dieter Kosslick in a statement.

The Kindness of Strangers is a contemporary ensemble drama that follows a disparate group of characters, all trying to survive a cold New York City winter, who find laughter, love and kindness in each other. HanWay Films is handling worldwide sales and distribution rights backed by Ingenious Media and Apollo Media. Entertainment One will distribute the film in Canada and SF Studios in Scandinavia.

“I am truly honoured that Dieter Kosslick has selected our film to celebrate such a festive and important evening. It will be a great joy to watch it for the first time alongside the renowned Berlinale audience," said Scherfig.