Sundance dawns in Berlin

Pix mix from fest to Euro market

BERLIN — The Berlin Intl. Film Festival’s European Film Market will showcase pics screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

“Straight From Sundance” will give buyers who didn’t go to the Park City fest the opportunity to see some of the highlights, according to EFM director Beki Probst.

Among the 15 titles chosen are Rodney Evans’ “Brother to Brother,” “Down to the Bone” by Debra Granik, “Second Best” by Eric Weber and Nicole Kassell’s “The Woodsman.” Documentaries include “Born Into Brothels,” “Dirty Work,” “Imelda,” “Let the Church Say Amen” and “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.”

The EFM offers a similar showcase to New York’s IFP Market.

Fest has added Fatih Akin’s “Head-On,” about a Turkish woman in Germany trying to escape the constraints of her culture, to its competition section, while Joshua Marston’s “Maria Full of Grace” has also been tipped for selection.

In related news, the Berlinale’s Intl. Forum of New Cinema has completed its program, which includes nearly 60 titles from 23 countries, 30 of which will have their world premieres in Berlin.

The Forum’s Wolfgang Staudte Award jury includes French filmmaker Catherine Breillat, German writer-director Thomas Arslan and Tanzanian Imruh Bakari, director of the Zanzibar Film Festival.

With the Berlinale’ focus on South Africa this year, the Forum is spotlighting 10 films produced by young filmmakers as part of the sidebar Project 10: Real Stories From a Free South Africa.

In contrast to the loud Bollywood musicals of years past, Indian pics this time are offering a more sober look at the country, including works from a new generation of filmmakers who have rediscovered a political and socially responsible voice, according to Forum organizers.

Partho Sen Gupta’s debut “Let the Wind Blow” (Hava aney dey), an apocalyptic film about well-to-do youngsters set against the backdrop of India’s conflict with Pakistan, and Sudhir Mishra’s “A Thousand Dreams Such as These” (Hazaaron khwaishein aisi), examines the revolutionary student movement of the Indira Gandhi era.

The longest film in the Forum, the 218-minute documentary “Final Solution,” looks at the clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat, examining the political climate that led to the slaughter of 2,000 mainly Muslim villagers two years ago.

For the first time, the Forum is including three films from Thailand: Nonzee Nimibutr’s “Baytong,” about a Buddhist monk who falls in love with the girlfriend of a Muslim extremist; “My Girl” (Fan chan), a joint project by six young directors about childhood memories and young love; and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “The Adventures of Iron Pussy,” a transvestite comedy.

The fest will give Argentinean director Fernando Solanas an Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement.

Solanas’ work has focused on political and social themes in Argentina for more than 30 years, beginning with “The Hour of the Furnaces” in 1967. His 1972 pic, “Sons of Fierro,” was banned and the director was forced into exile in Paris by the military dictatorship in the mid-1970s. He returned 10 years later.

In his latest documentary, “Memoir of a Plunder” (Memoria del saqueo), Solanas addresses the economic crisis in Argentina as well as the impact of neoliberal politics and globalization.

“Memoir of a Plunder” will be screened after the special award presentation Feb. 10 at the Kino Intl.

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