LONDON — European Shooting Stars, the annual showcase for up-and-coming acting talent, has been unveiled. The 10 young thesps follow in the footsteps of Carey Mulligan, Melanie Laurent, Domhnall Gleeson and Moritz Bleibtreu, who were selected in years past.
The Shooting Stars are Danica Curcic (“On the Edge”), Maria Dragus (“Summer Outside”), Miriam Karlkvist (“South Is Nothing”), Marwan Kenzari (“Wolf”), Jakob Oftebro (“Victoria”), Mateusz Kosciukewicz (“In the Name Of…”), Cosmina Stratan (“Beyond the Hills”), Nikola Rakocevic (“Circles”), Edda Magnason (“Waltz for Monica”) and George MacKay (“For Those in Peril,” pictured).
A jury of industry professionals picked the performers from a short-list of 24, who were nominated by industry organizations across Europe. The actors and actresses will be presented to the world’s media and film industry leaders on Feb. 8-10 at the Berlin Film Festival. Among those at the weekend’s profile-raising events in Berlin will be casting directors, agents, directors, producers and the international media. The program will culminate in a ceremony at the Berlinale Palast, where each actor will receive the Shooting Stars award.
The program is staged by European Film Promotion, which works to promote European cinema worldwide. It is supported by the European Union’s MEDIA Program and the EFP member organizations.
Renate Rose, managing director of EFP, said, “Our 17th year of the Shooting Stars initiative raises the bar once again for identifying the next generation of international acting talent. We were very pleased by the performers that were nominated and are excited to support these talented newcomers in their international careers.”
The Shooting Star jury included Norwegian actor Anders Baasmo Christiansen, film magazine editor Charles Gant from the U.K., German film director Hermine Huntgeburth, Croatian casting director Oriana Kuncic and film producer Jani Thiltges from Luxembourg.
Huntgeburth said: “The European Shooting Stars program has developed a reputation for uncovering raw talent, and the diverse mix of actors that we have selected for 2014, from all over Europe, once again celebrates the varied backgrounds and insights our young stars bring to their craft.”
EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS
Danica Curcic (Denmark)
“On the Edge,” dir: Christian E. Christiansen; “The Absent One,” dir: Mikkel Norgaard; “Silent Heart,” dir: Bille August.”
Jury’s comment: “Danica’s effortless charm lights up the screen in hit-and-run drama ‘On the Edge.’ In a film that initially seems to occupy a very male-dominated world, she quietly emerges as the story’s beating heart and moral compass.”
Maria Dragus (Germany)
“Summer Outside,” dir: Friederike Jehn; “Kill Me,” dir: Emily Atef; “The White Ribbon,”dir: Michael Haneke.
Jury’s comment: “Maria’s personality infuses her work with a quiet strength that demands our attention. Not yet 20, she brings interior depths that suggest an actor of great maturity and accomplishment. We were captivated by her intriguing screen presence.”
Miriam Karlkvist (Italy)
“South Is Nothing,” dir: Fabio Mollo.
Jury’s comment: “Miriam makes a striking debut in ‘South Is Nothing.’ We were impressed by vividly original work: a significant leading role that remains committed to the complexity of the character. By the film’s climax, Miriam’s talent is revealed in further depth, giving us an enticing glimpse of her future potential.”
Marwan Kenzari (The Netherlands)
“Wolf,” dir: Jim Taihuttu; “Rabat,” dirs: Jim Taihuttu, Victor Ponten; “Loft,” dir: Antoinette Beumer.
Jury’s comment: “In ‘Wolf,’ Marwan has a very strong, masculine, magnetic screen presence, playing a naturally gifted kick-boxer whose choices send him on a criminal path. He earns our empathy while never wavering from embracing the character’s flaws, delivering a highly convincing performance that carried us on a journey.”
Jakob Oftebro (Norway)
“Kon-Tiki,” dirs: J. Ronning, E. Sandberg; “Victoria,” dir: Torun Lian; “The Hidden Child,” dir: Per Hanefjord.
Jury’s comment: “Jakob is an exceptionally charismatic young actor. He is delightful as the romantic male lead in Knut Hamsun adaptation ‘Victoria,’ while demonstrating admirable breadth in the other work we viewed. We are confident that Jakob has an exceptional career ahead of him.”
Mateusz Kosciukewicz (Poland)
“In The Name Of…,” Małgoska Szumowska; “Mother Teresa of Cats,” dir: Pawel Sala; “All That I Love,” dir: Jacek Borcuch. Jury’s comment: “Mateusz has an intense screen presence. In contemporary Polish drama ‘In the Name Of,’ he ingeniously conveys a character that journeys from enigmatic misfit to wildly unpredictable ticking bomb, enlivening his performance with a goofy energy, and finally a beguiling tenderness. At all times, we were carried along with conviction.”
Cosmina Stratan (Romania)
“Beyond the Hills,” dir: Cristian Mungiu; “Stay with Me,” dir: Constantin Popescu; “Retur,” Emi Parvu.
Jury’s comment: “Cosmina rules with her emotions. In ‘Beyond the Hills,’ she demonstrates incredible precision in her acting, with an expertly modulated performance that keeps emotion reined in but radiates a powerful feeling.”
Nikola Rakocevic (Serbia)
“Circles,” Srdan Golubovic; “Trolling,” dir: Kosta Djordjevic; “Travelator,” dir: Dusan Milic.
Jury’s comment: “The youngest of five lead actors in ensemble piece ‘Circles,’ Nikola registers strongly with an exceptionally vivid performance. While showcasing consistent energy and charisma, Nikola’s additional screen credits reveal an impressive range of acting registers — indicating a versatile stealth weapon with great casting potential.”
Edda Magnason (Sweden)
“Waltz for Monica,” dir: Per Fly.
Jury’s comment: “In ‘Waltz for Monica,’ Edda offers an exciting debut performance, carrying the film and our attention in every scene. She convinced us of her talent while playing a treasured Swedish icon, showcasing her fine singing voice. Thanks to Edda’s sparkling presence, audiences outside Sweden are introduced to the complex personality and star quality of jazz singer Monica Zetterlund.”
George MacKay (U.K.)
“How I Live Now,” dir: Kevin Macdonald; “Sunshine on Leith,” dir: Dexter Fletcher; “For Those in Peril,” dir: Paul Wright.
Jury’s comment: “George wowed us with his commanding performance in ‘For Those in Peril,’ evoking a descent into an increasingly fractured mental state with brilliantly controlled subtlety. And the range of this young actor’s work is remarkable: in the past year alone he impressed as a singing soldier returned home in musical ‘Sunshine On Leith’; as the romantic male lead of dystopian teen drama ‘How I Live Now’; and the emotionally raw protagonist of ‘For Those in Peril.’ ”