‘Neukoelln’ wins Berlin’s Crystal Bear

Drama named best feature in youth and children's section

BERLIN — Agostino Imondi and Dietmar Ratsch’s “Neukoelln Unlimited” has nabbed the Berlinale’s Crystal Bear for best feature in the youth and children’s Generations section.

Pic, about two talented Lebanese siblings who are making a name for themselves in Berlin’s street dance and hip hop scene while their family faces deportation, moved jury members.

“It made us laugh, cry, cheer, and protest,” the jury said,” commenting on its decision. “It is a work of art that takes full advantage of the medium of cinema.”

The jury awarded Zhang Lu’s Korean-French coproduction “Dooman River,” about Chinese children who befriend illegal aliens from North Korea.

“We were stunned by the weight of the images,” the jury said.

The Crystal Bear for best short went to Batin Ghobadi’s Iranian work “Ask The Wind,” which left the jury “speechless,” with a special mention going to Danish helmer Birgitte Staermose’s “Out of Love.”

The Berlinale’s official awards ceremony takes place Feb. 20, although Generations prizes are presented a day earlier.

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