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Shorter Berlinale forum still innovative

Sidebar spotlights innovative pix

See lineup

While the Berlin Film Festival has trimmed its Forum of New Cinema by more than a quarter, the avant-garde section has kept its focus on innovative, experimental and unconventional global filmmaking, including 39 feature and documentary pics from 33 countries.

Debuts include U.S. pic “On the Outs,” by Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik, which looks at the lives of three young women in Jersey City, and docu “El Inmortal,” the story of twins on opposite sides of the Nicaraguan civil war.

Brit artist Tracey Emin presents her hometown, Margate, in “Top Spot,” her first feature. In Chinese pic “Niu pi” (Oxhide), 23-year-old Liu Jiayin captures her cramped Beijing family life in bigscreen images.

“Lost and Found,” an anthology of six shorts by young directors from Central and Eastern Europe, will open the Berlinale’s Intl. Forum of New Cinema on Feb. 11.

Meanwhile, the first Amnesty Intl. Film Award will be presented at this year’s fest, which runs Feb. 10-20. Prize will go to a film from the Berlinale’s three sections — Competition, Panorama or Forum — in order to inform both the industry and public about human-rights issues and inspire filmmakers to tackle the subject in their works.

Members of the AI jury include actress Nina Hoss (“Wolfsburg”), producer Christoph Friedel of Cologne-based Pandora Filmproduktion and Brita Lax of Amnesty Intl.

The prize, which will be given Feb. 19, has been awarded at other international film fests such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Copenhagen.

In related Berlin news, helmer Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”), production designer Dante Ferretti (“The Aviator”) and Japanese costume designer Emi Wada (“House of Flying Daggers”) will make up the team of godfathers hosting this year’s Talent Campus.

The three will lead mentor activities for 590 talents from 90 countries, including the “Talent Movie of the Week” short film contest from entries by the participants.

Berlinale also announced it is paying special homage to Korean director Im Kwon Taek, with a retrospective. Helmer has chosen 20 of his pics, five of which have not been shown outside South Korea, and will be honored Feb. 12 at the screening of “Chunhyang dyeon” (2000).

A restored version of Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate” will get a special screening at the fest. The Forum sidebar is showing the 225-minute original cut of Hollywood’s biggest financial flop, restored thanks to MGM/United Artists archivist John Kirk. The screening will be augmented by the European premiere of Michael Epstein’s documentary “Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of ‘Heaven’s Gate.’ ”

The Forum of New Cinema Lineup:

“Amu,” Shonali Bose, India
“Arlit, deuxieme Paris,” Idrissou Mora-Kpai, Benin, France
“Barrage,” Raphael Jacoulot, France
“Brasileirinho,” Mika Kaurismaki, Brasil, Finland, Switzerland
“Coca – The Dove from Chechnya,” Eric Bergkraut, Switzerland
“Como pasan las horas” (The Hours Go By), Ines de Oliveira Cezar, Argentina
“Crash Test Dummies,” Joerg Kalt, Austria
“D’Annunzios Hoehle (Photographie und jenseits – Teil 8-10),” [D’Annuncio’s Cave (Photography and beyond – Part 8-10)], Heinz Emigholz, Germany
“Der irrationale Rest,” Thorsten Trimpop, Germany
“Die Vogelpredigt oder Das Schreien der Moenche” (St. Francis Birds Tour), Clemens Klopfenstein, Switzerland, Italy
“Durchfahrtsland,” Alexandra Sell, Germany
“El Inmortal,” Mercedes Moncada Rodriguez, Nicaragua, Mexico, Spain
“Grietjie van Garies,” Odette Geldenhuys, South Africa
“Kekexili Kekexili: Mountain Patrol,” Lu Chuan, China
“Les yeux clairs,” Jerome Bonnell, France
“Lost and Found,” Nadejda Koseva, Cristian Mungiu, Jasmila Zbanich, Kornel Mundruczo, Stefan Arsenijevic, Mait Laas, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia
“Lu Cao Di” (Mongolian Ping Pong), Ning Hao, China
“Mahiru no hoshizora” (Starlit High Noon), Nakagawa Yosuke, Japan
“Mein Bruder. We’ll meet again,” Thomas Heise, Germany
“Melegin Dususu” (Angel’s Fall), Semih Kaplanoglu, Turkey
“Niu pi (Oxhide),” Liu Jiayin, China
“Odessa Odessa…,” Michale Boganim, Israel, France
“On the Outs,” Lori Silverbush, Michael Skolnik, USA
“Oprosti za Kung Fu” (Sorry for Kung Fu), Ognjen Svilicic, Croatia
“Pakostnik” (The Rascal), Tania Detkina, Russia
“Profils paysans: Le quotidien,” Raymond Depardon, France
“Putevoditel” (The Guidebook), Alexander Shapiro, Ukraine
“Ratziti lihiyot gibor” (On the Objection Front), Shiri Tsur, Israel
“Sekai no owari World’s End” (Girl Friend), Kazama Shiori, Japan
“Shin Sung-il-eui hangbang-bulmyung” (Shin Sung-il Is Lost), Shin Jane, Korea
“Stadt als Beute” (Berlin Stories), Irene von Alberti, Miriam Dehne, Esther Gronenborn, Germany
“Top Spot,” Tracey Emin, U.K.
“Vers Mathilde,” Claire Denis, France
“verschwende deine jugend.doc” (wasting one’s youth.doc), Juergen Teipel, Sigrid Harder, Germany
“Violent Days,” Lucile Chaufour, France
“Yamanaka Tokiwa” (Into the Picture Scroll – The Tale of Yamanaka Tokiwa), Haneda Sumiko, Japan
“Yan Mo” (Before the Flood), Yan Yu, Li Yifan, China
“Yeoja, Jeong-hae” (This Charming Girl), Lee Yoon-ki, Korea
“Zero Degrees of Separation,” Elle Flanders, Canada