Film Archivist Van Leer Heads Festival Jury Of 11

To mark this year’s centennial of cinema, the president of this year’s Berlin Competition Jury is an archivist. Veteran Lia Van Leer, founder and director of the Jerusalem Film Archive, heads an 11-member jury that will assess 23 features and 10 shorts to hand out Golden and Silver Bears on Feb. 20.

Van Leer, an Israeli, founded the Jerusalem archive in 1960, followed by those in Haifa and Tel Aviv in the early ’70s. In 1984, she set up the Jerusalem Intl. Film Festival, which she still heads.

The U.S. is repped on the international jury by Chicago fest topper Michael Kutza and Gotham critic David Kehr. Kutza founded the Chitown event in 1964, at age 22, and has headed it ever since. Kehr started his career in the Windy City in 1974 and became film critic for the Chicago Tribune in 1985. He now writes for the New York Daily News.

Two actresses are jurists: Siqin Gaowa, a Mongolian-Chinese now residing in Switzerland, has starred in many well-known Chinese pix of the past 10 years, including “The Women from the Lake of Scented Souls,” which won a Golden Bear two years ago; and Austrian movie actress Christiane Hoerbiger.

Four directors are lined up for jury chores. Spain’s Pilar Miro, whose “Beltenebros” played the fest circuit two years ago, also has been general director of Spanish Cinema and an exec at Spanish pubcaster RTVE. France’s Jean-Claude Brisseau is known for “Noce Blanche” (1989) and “Celine” (1992), while Georgi Dulgerov (“Advantage”) is one of Bulgaria’s best-known helmers.

Repping Taiwan is young director Ts’ai Ming-liang, whose “Rebels of the Neon God” bowed in Berlin’s Panorama two years ago, and whose second pic, “Vive L’amour,” shared a Golden Lion at last fall’s Venice fest.

Rounding out the team are production designer Alfred Hirschmeier from former East Germany, and Russian lenser Vadim Yusov, who has worked with directors Andrei Tarkovsky (“Solaris”), Sergei Bondarchuk and Nikita Mikhalkov.

Jurors also will decide the Blue Angel prize, awarded by the Brussels-based European Film Academy for the best Euro pic in Competition.