Pair cite work, family reasons

The Berlin Film Festival has been shaken on its opening day by the loss of two members of its international jury, Danish director Susanne Bier and French actress Sandrine Bonnaire.

Both announced their withdrawal from the jury on Thursday as the fest was gearing up for its opening night premiere of Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones documentary “Shine a Light.”

Bier, who made her English-language directing debut with DreamWorks’ Halle Berry-Benicio Del Toro starrer “Things We Lost in the Fire,” said she was leaving for the U.S. due to unforeseen circumstances related to her next film, “Lost for Words.”

“The bags were already packed; however, an unforeseen occurrence demanded my immediate professional presence elsewhere. For that reason, I was unfortunately not able to perform the task of a jury member. I am very sad about this,” Bier said in a statement.

Bonnaire, who was due to be a lecturer at the Berlinale’s Talent Campus, said she had to pull out due to family reasons but would try to keep her schedule at the educational platform.

“For me it was a great honor to have been appointed to the Berlinale jury, and I was looking forward to enjoying the 10-day cinematic journey. However, for family reasons, I’ve been forced to cancel and ask everyone involved for their understanding. I’m so sorry about this and wish (festival director) Dieter Kosslick and his team the very best for the festival in the coming days.”

The Berlinale will not replace the members, leaving the main competition section with a jury of six to award the Golden and Silver Bears. They are jury prexy Constantin Costa-Gavras; actress Diane Kruger; editor and sound designer Walter Murch; production designer Uli Hanisch; Alexander Rodniansky, the Ukrainian president-producer of Moscow media holding CTC; and Taiwanese actress Shu Qi.

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