3,678 hopefuls apply for one of the 350 slots

A record number of 3,678 prospective film industry professionals from 129 countries have applied to take part in the fifth Berlinale Talent Campus that runs alongside the Berlin Film Festival in February.

Berlinale organizers said Thursday that hopefuls from Rwanda, Barbados and Morocco had for the first time applied for one of the 350 slots.

The Talent Campus, the brainchild of Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick, runs Feb. 10-15, giving young talent the chance to meet industry professionals to discuss strategies, challenges and opportunities.

The Berlinale also announced its first Talent Campus patron: Chinese director Jia Zhangke, who won the Golden Lion at the Venice fest for “Still Life,” about two people searching for their partners as villages are submerged by a giant dam project in China.

The 36-year-old director made his international debut with “Xiao wu” (Pickpocket) at the Berlinale Intl. Forum of New Cinema in 1998.

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