With the Berlinale just nine days away, the fest completed its official selection on Tuesday, unveiled an initiative to lure filmmakers to the German capital and announced a special award to sound engineer Ray Dolby for his contribution to cinema.
Wang Quan’an’s Chinese drama “Bai lu yuan” (White Deer Plain) rounds out this year’s 23-pic Competition selection, with 18 of those, including “White Deer Plain,” vying for Golden and Silver Bears and five showing out of competition.
Promising a star-heavy affair, Robert Pattinson, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan are expected at the fest. Jake Gyllenhaal is serving on the international jury.
Nearly 400 films will unspool, among them Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod’s “Bel Ami,” Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire,” Jolie’s “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” Billy Bob Thornton’s “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” Tsui Hark’s “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate,” Nikolaj Arcel’s “A Royal Affair,” Phyllida Lloyd’s “The Iron Lady” and Benoit Jacquot’s historical drama “Farewell My Queen,” which opens the fest.
The Berlinale Residency, meanwhile, is the latest initiative aimed at promoting international film production. The international fellowship program will invite six filmmakers to bring their projects to Berlin for a four-month stay starting in September.
“The Berlinale Residency is a logical progression of the previous Berlinale initiatives,” said fest topper Dieter Kosslick. “The fellowship serves as a follow-up for filmmakers who already had a feature in the official program of a festival, who were selected with projects in the Berlinale Co-Production Market or Berlinale Talent Campus or who were supported through the World Cinema Fund. However, we are also looking forward to receiving other filmmakers from around the world, whom the program will entice to Berlin.”
Kirsten Niehuus, managing director of regional funder Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg — one of the Residency’s sponsors — said the program works on traditional story development in close relationship with the market and industry experts. “Audience orientation and effective analysis are more important today than ever before,” she said.
The six projects will include features documentaries and cross-media works.
The Berlinale Co-Production Market and the Guadalajara Film Festival, also a Berlinale Residency partner, will serve as presentation platforms for the projects. The Berlinale is also considering partnerships with co-production marts in Buenos Aires, Durban and Sarajevo.
The Berlinale Residency’s other main backers include the Nipkow Program, the Berlin-based European fellowship program, and the EU’s Media Mundus Program.
The first call for entries will be at the Berlinale, which runs Feb. 9-19.
The fest also announced that it is presenting Dolby — the man behind Dolby Stereo and Dolby Surround — with its Berlinale Camera award.
“Dolby revolutionized sound in cinemas and contributed greatly to making films the amazing acoustic experience we know today,” the fest said.
Through the use of multiple loudspeakers and multichannel technology, Dolby surround sound introduced viewers to the feeling of being fully immersed in the action.
Dolby introduced Dolby Stereo, his first surround sound technology, in 1975. It was quickly adopted by theaters worldwide as films including “Star Wars” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” were released in the new format.
Dolby Digital surround sound followed, becoming the standard for home cinema audio with the introduction of DVD.
Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965 and remained on its board until his retirement last year, although he remains director emeritus.