Frears, Eichinger among mentors
BERLIN — Stephen Frears, Bernd Eichinger and actress-director Sandrine Bonnaire will attend this year’s Berlinale Talent Campus to take part in the educational platform’s focus on biopics.The event, which runs Feb. 9-14, will discuss the success of biopics and explore their popularity with auds. Frears’ “The Queen” as well as his 1987 biopic of playwright Joe Orton, “Prick Up Your Ears,” offered insight into the lives of very different British personalities, while Eichinger enjoyed huge success with “Downfall,” a chronicle of Adolf Hitler’s final days, which he penned and produced. Bonnaire, who played Joan of Arc in 1994’s “Joan the Maid,” recently directed a documentary about her autistic sister Sabine (“Her Name Is Sabine”). Other high-profile industryites taking part in various Campus events include director Stephen Daldry (“The Reader”); Mike Leigh, whose “Happy-Go-Lucky” screens in competition; Hungarian helmer Istvan Szabo; helmer Mike Figgis; composer Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla (“Brokeback Mountain”); and set designer Alex McDowell (“Minority Report”). Meanwhile, Talent Campus organizers are celebrating the selection of two competition screeners from Campus alumni. Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke, a Campus participant in 2003, is in the running for the Golden Bear with his feature “Lake Tahoe.” Also competing is Lance Hammer, an American participant in the 2004 Campus, who is in competition with “Ballast,” a collaboration with cinematographer Lol Crawley, who he met at the Campus. Former talents are well-represented in other sections of the festival. Panorama screener “The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela,” about a Filipino lady-boy prostitute who believes herself to be the true queen of France, is a clear testament to the success of the Campus as an international networking platform. Icelandic filmmaker Olaf de Fleur Johannesson and actor Stefan Schaefer met at the first edition of the Campus and later brought Filipino producer Arleen Cuevas, another former Campus participant, to the team after meeting through the Campus’ online database. Other titles from former talents include Panorama screener “Megane,” by Japan’s Naoko Ogigami; Perspektive Deutsches Kino titles “Football Undercover,” by Iranian director Ayat Najafi; and “Lea,” by Steffi Niederzoll. The Forum sidebar unspools “Divizionz,” a collaboration by Ugandan director Donald Mugisha and Luxembourg-based producer Adolf El-Assal. Mugisha will also participate as an expert of hip hop and cinema in the Campus panel “From Street Cred to Screen Credibility — Hip Hop and the Movies.” In related news, the Berlinale has named this year’s jury members to oversee the Euros 50,000 ($73,550) first feature award: U.S. producer Ben Barenholtz; French director Dominique Cabrera (“Nadia and the Hippos”); and Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic, who won the 2006 Golden Bear for “Grbavica.” Pics from Competition, Panorama, Generation Kplus and 14plus, as well as debut films from the Forum will compete for the award. The winners will be announced at the award ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on Feb. 16, with the prize money split between producer and director.