From February 11 to 21, the 66th annual Berlin Film Festival will serve as a venue for 18 films from 22 different countries that are vying for the coveted Golden and Silver Bears. Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep has been selected as the president of the jury which includes film critic Nick James, photographer Brigitte Lacombe, director Malgorzata Szumowska, as well as actors Lars Eidginger, Clive Owen, and Alba Rohrwacher. In addition, the festival features over 100 other feature-length and short films, art installations, retrospectives, and this year, there will be a special tribute to David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Ettore Scola.
The festival is also an international market for films. Distributors all over the world bid on films for their respected territories — and some films are still in development.
In the past couple of days, some star players in Hollywood have scored some major deals including Harrison Ford’s Iraq drama, Official Secrets and the George Clooney-directed Suburbicon. Read all the deals below and watch clips and trailers from some of the buzz-worthy titles at the festival.
Synopsis: Based on the book The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War: Katharine Gun and the Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq Invasion, the story follows a British intelligence officer months before the Iraq war in 2003. She leaks vital information about an illegal spy operation against the UN Security Council to ensure passage of a resolution for war. When she is arrested, one reporter searches for evidence to free her.
Director: Justin Chadwick
Writers: Gregory Bernstein, Marcia Mitchell (Book), Sara Bernstein, Thomas Mitchell (Book)
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Gillian Anderson, Harrison Ford, Martin Freeman, Natalie Dormer, Paul Bettany
Acquired by: SND for France, Notorious Pictures for Italy, Corbi for Spain, Swen Group International for Latin America, Times Media Films for South Africa, Cinemundo for Portugal, Eagle Films for the Middle East, Tanweer for Greece and India, Aqua/Pinema Group for Turkey, IPA for Taiwan, PT Prima Cinema for Indonesia, Shaw Organisation for Singapore and Entertainment in Motion for airlines.
Synopsis: Jack Harriman becomes a spiritual celebrity after debunking Reverend Guy Roy on a public-access TV show. While on the road speaking his brand of truth, forces natural and supernatural lead him to question whether he has a deeper calling.
Director: Steven Chester Prince
Writer: Steven Chester Prince
Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Barak Hardley, Billy Burke, Dora Madison, Gary Cole, Joel David Moore, Patrick Warburton, Sarah Shahi
Acquired by: Freestyle Digital Media
Synopsis: Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s.
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Guy Hibbert
Cast: David Oyelowo, Laura Carmichael, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton
Acquired by: Pathe International
Synopsis: A squad of soldiers fight in the Korean War’s crucial Battle of Incheon.
Director: John H. Lee
Writers: John H. Lee, Man-Hee Lee
Cast: Dean Dawson, Liam Neeson, Jung-jae Lee
Acquired by: Finecut
Synopsis: Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.
Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon, Nick Kroll, Ruth Negga,
Acquired by: Focus
Synopsis: A crime mystery set in the quiet family town of Suburbicon during the 1950s, where the best and worst of humanity is hilariously reflected through the deeds of seemingly ordinary people. When a home invasion turns deadly, a picture-perfect family turns to blackmail, revenge and betrayal.
Director: George Clooney
Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, Julianne Moore, Matt Damon
Acquired by: eOne
Synopsis: A philosophy teacher soldiers through the death of her mother, getting fired from her job, and dealing with a husband who is cheating on her.
Director: Mia Hansen-Love
Writer: Mia Hansen-Love
Cast: André Marcon, Isabelle Huppert, Roman Kolinka
Acquired by: Sundance Selects
Synopsis: In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming-of-age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination.
Director: Naji Abu Nowar
Writers: Bassel Ghandour, Naji Abu Nowar
Cast: Hassan Mutlag Al-Maraiyeh, Hussein Salameh Al-Sweilhiyeen, Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat
Acquired by: Fortissimo Films
Synopsis: Following an ace assassin who is double crossed by gangsters and falls into the hands of rogue surgeon known as The Doctor who turns him into a woman. The hitman now a hitwoman sets out for revenge, aided by a nurse named Johnnie who also has secrets.
Director: Walter Hill
Writers: Denis Hamill, Walter Hill
Cast: Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub
Acquired by: The Solution Entertainment Group sold to France (TF1), Italy (Notorious Pictures), Latin America (California Filmes), the Middle East (Eagle Films), Greece (Odeon), South Korea (Double & Joy), Turkey (Pinema Group), Singapore (Shaw Organisation), the Philippines and Vietnam (MVP Entertainment) and India (PVR)
Synopsis: A detective from Hong Kong teams up with an American gambler to battle against a notorious Chinese criminal.
Director: Renny Harlin
Writers: BenDavid Grabinski, Jay Longino
Cast: Fan Bingbing, Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville
Acquired by: Saban Films
Synopsis: A dark political fantasy about the future of Hong Kong featuring five sections directed by five different directors imagining different views of how the city would be 10 years from now.
Directors: Chow Kwun-Wai, Fei-Pang Wong, Jevons Au, Kwok Zune, Ng Ka-leung
Cast: Lau Ho-Chi, Liu Kai-chi, Kin-Ping Leung, Peter Chan, Siu Hin Ng, Wong Ching
Acquired by: Golden Scene
TRAILERS AND CLIPS
UNITED STATES OF LOVE — Trailer
Synopsis: Poland, 1990. The winds of change are blowing in Poland. The first euphoric year of freedom, but also of uncertainty for the future. Four apparently happy women of different ages decide it’s time to change their lives, fight for their happiness and fulfill their desires. Agata is a young mother, trapped in an unhappy marriage, who seeks refuge in another, impossible relationship. Renata is an older teacher fascinated with her neighbor Marzena – a lonely former local beauty queen, whose husband works in Germany. Marzena’s sister Iza is a headmistress in love with the father of one of her students.
Director: Tomasz Wasilewski
Writer: Tomasz Wasilewski
Cast: Andrzej Chyra, Dorota Kolak, Julia Kijowska, Magdalena Cielecka, Marta Nieradkiewicz
ALONE IN BERLIN — Clip
Synopsis: Berlin, 1940. Working class couple Otto and Anna Quangel receive the news that their only son has lost his life in the battlefield and decide to resist the Nazi regime in their very own way. Soon the Gestapo is hunting “the threat”.
Director: Vincent Perez
Writers: Achim von Borries, Bettine von Borries, Hans Fallada (Book), Vincent Perez
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, , Daniel Brühl, Emma Thompson
Click here for more coverage of the 66th Berlin Film Festival.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer