MacKay scored his first role at age 9 in P.J. Hogan’s adaptation of “Peter Pan.” Since then, he has worked alongside such stars as Daniel Craig (“Defiance”) and Clive Owen (“The Boys Are Back”). Last October saw the release of three pics starring the thesp: “How I Live Now,” “For Those in Peril” and “Sunshine on Leith.” This year, MacKay tackles his first legit role in “The Cement Garden,” with two pics on tap: “Bypass” and “Pride.” “I’ve been so lucky with all the experiences I’ve had as they teach you something important one way or the other,” he says.
Cosmina Stratan – Romania
Stratan has made incredible strides since entering the acting profession following her studies in journalism and advertising. In 2012, after appearing in only a string of shorts, she was cast in Cristian Mungiu’s “Beyond the Hills,” repping her feature film debut. That year in Cannes she blew the jury away with her performance and left the fest with the actress award. “Both cinema and theater give me a lot of sense right now,” Stratan says. “It’s the most proper and honest way of expression for me.” Stratan is starring in HBO Europe series “Stay With Me.”
Danica Curcic – Denmark
Curcic was hired by the Royal Danish Theatre right after her graduation from drama school in 2012 and since then has notched up a string of credits including two Swedish hit TV series, “The Bridge” and “Wallander III”; she’s filming Bille August’s “Silent Heart” and is toplining Christian E. Christiansen’s upcoming pic “On the Edge” and Mikkel Norgaard’s “The Absent One.” But, says Curcic, “I hope to expand my work beyond Denmark … I did part of my acting studies in California so I hope to go back there and keep challenging myself in terms of characters and genres.”
Edda Magnason – Sweden
Magnason’s talents go beyond the screen. The Swedish-Icelandic actress is also a musician, songwriter and music producer, all of which she exhibits in her film debut in “Waltz for Monica,” in which plays the titular role of the famous Swedish jazz singer Monica Zetterlund. She performed the entire repertoire of Zetterland in the pic, which the Shooting Stars jury deemed “an exciting debut performance, carrying the film and our attention in every scene.” Magnason has released two albums to date including 2010’s self-titled debut “Edda Magnason” and 2011’s “Goods.”
Jakob Oftebro – Norway
Oftebro is no stranger to the spotlight. Not only has the actor appeared in acclaimed Danish-Swedish TV series “The Bridge,” but he has also featured in TV hit “Lilyhammer” and stars in upcoming series “1864,” directed by Ole Bornedal. He boasts a film career that includes roles in “Kon-Tiki,” produced by Jeremy Thomas; “Max Manus: Man of War”; “Victoria”; and “The Hidden Child,” playing the leads in the latter two. In 2014, he will star in Christian E. Christiansen’s drama “On the Edge” and Hans Petter Moland’s “Krafidioten.”
Mateusz Kosciukiewicz – Poland
Polish thesp Kosciukiewicz made his feature debut in Peter Greenaway’s 2007 “Nightwatching,” but it was his perf in Jacek Borcuch’s 2009 Sundance screener “All That I Love” that brought him recognition on his home turf. The busy thesp’s recent pics include “In the Name Of,” Andrzej Wajda’s “Walesa,” the upcoming “Elixer” and “11 Minutes.” However, the thesp sees challenges ahead: “I’m a realist and I know that for an actor from Eastern Europe it is difficult to get international recognition for many reasons,” citing the Slavic accent as one.
Maria Dragus – Germany
Dragus catapulted into the spotlight for her role in Michael Haneke’s 2009 “The White Ribbon,” for which she won the German Film Award. Dragus, who trained as a classical dancer, has already racked up credits in pics such as Andres Veiel’s “If Not Us, Who?” Emily Atef’s “Kill Me” and Friederike Jehns’ “Summer Outside.” She has also had recurring roles in local TV series “Dance Academy” and “SOKO Leipzig.” “A wonderful thing about having gotten so far in such a short time, is to be given the opportunity of meeting people whom I admire,” she says.
Miriam Karlkvist – Italy
Half-Italian and half-Swedish thesp Karlkvist made her feature film debut in Fabio Mollo’s drama “South Is Nothing” immediately after completing high school. In the pic, she plays a 17-year-old devastated by the loss of her brother, a performance that the Shooting Stars jury described as “vividly original work … giving us an enticing glimpse of her future potential.” Pic screened in both Toronto and Rome film festivals and is set to screen at the Berlinale this year in the Generation 14plus section. Karlkvist lives in Rome where she is studying acting, writing and photography.
Marwan Kenzari – The Netherlands
Dutch actor Kenzari trained at the prestigious Theatre Academy Maastricht and featured in many award-winning plays before making his screen debut in 2009 in “Maite Was Here.” He received acclaim in 2010 crime drama “Loft.” More recently, Kenzari has collaborated with helmer Jim Taihattu on pics “Rabat” and “Wolf.” “As an actor, I just hope to be part of wonderful projects. Being able to play interesting characters is, in my opinion, clearly what drives an actor,” he says.
Nikola Rakocevic – Serbia
Rakocevic is the youngest of five lead actors in 2013 pic “Circles,” helmed by Srdan Golubovic, and was Serbia’s official entry for the foreign-language film Oscar. The pic went on to win the Special Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance. The thesp was trained in theater and is a member of the Yugoslavian Drama Theater. His film debut was in 2005 with “Shetian’s Warrior,” followed by “Sons of My Brothers” and “Skinning.” He stars in upcoming pics “Trolling,” helmed by Kosta Djordjevic, and “Travelator,” directed by Dusan Milic.