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By Shaibu Husseini
13 February 2022   |   2:39 am
Eighteen films will compete for the Golden and Silver Bears of the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, which opened on February 10, will last for 10 days.

Hakeem Kae-Kazim

18 Films To Compete For Berlinale 2022 Top Award
Eighteen films will compete for the Golden and Silver Bears of the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, which opened on February 10, will last for 10 days. While productions came from 15 countries, 17 films are world premieres and seven were directed by women.

Filmfestival.com reports that 11 filmmakers have been at the festival before, eight in competition, and five of them already hold a ‘bear’ in their hands. One film is a non-fiction and animated one, set in an unspecified time.

“We are happy to have back artists we cherish and whose work is important to us. We are also happy to welcome for the first time in the competition, filmmakers whose films have thrilled us. More than half of the films selected take place in the present day, but only two deal with the current pandemic times. Human and emotional bonds are a common thread – with half of the selection choosing the family as a context for their tales. Almost all films set their tales out of the city centre, in the periphery, in the countryside or they follow the characters in their journeys away from towns,” said artistic director, Carlo Chatrian.

The films in competition include A E I O U – Das schnelle Alphabet der Liebe (A E I O U – A Quick Alphabet of Love) Germany / France by Nicolette Krebitz; Alcarràs (Spain / Italy) by Carla Simón, Avec amour et acharnement (Both Sides of the Blade) France, by Claire Denis; Call Jane (USA) by Phyllis Nagy; Drii Winter (A Piece of Sky), Switzerland / Germany by Michael Koch; Everything Will Be Okay (France / Cambodia) by Rithy Panh; La ligne (The Line) Switzerland / France / Belgium by Ursula Meier and Leonora addio (Italy) by Paolo Taviani. The festival ends on February 20.

Kae-Kazim Makes Directorial Debut In It’s The Blackness
PIRATES of the Caribbean: At World’s End star, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, is set to make his directorial debut with the upcoming feature, It’s the Blackness. Written by newcomer Dapo Oshiyemi, it tells the story of two ambitious graduates from an elite university, who must navigate institutional and structural racism, as they look to build their careers in modern Britain while at the same time still making space in their lives for love and family.

The film, which is currently in pre-production, is set in South London. Shooting is set to start in London in March/April. “I breathe this world, I grew up in it, It’s about my community, my family and not just about the struggles we face but the culture, family dynamics and love and happiness we experience, which is rarely seen on the big screen,” Kae-Kazim said, in a statement. Casting for It’s the Blackness is yet to be announced.

Kae-Kazim has appeared in films including, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and King Kong v Godzilla as well as numerous series such as Black Sails, Troy: Fall of a City, in which he played the god, Zeus, the Dynasty reboot and 24. He will next be seen on screen in Starz’s Dangerous Liaisons, in which he plays Majordome, alongside Alice Englert, Nicholas Denton and Paloma Faith. It’s the Blackness is produced by Oshiyemi’s U.K.-based company, Talking Drum Entertainment, which focuses on developing and making Black film and TV content for a global audience and distributing it across the U.K. and internationally.

Esmiol Is Co-Executive Director Of Cannes Festival’s Marche Du Film
GUILLAUME Esmiol has been named co-Executive Director of the Marché du Film alongside Jérôme Paillard. They will work together during the upcoming edition of the festival before Esmiol replaces Paillard for 2023.

In 2020, Esmiol joined the Marché du Film as Deputy Director in charge of development with the prospect of taking over new functions linked to the succession of Paillard.

After confirming his wish to retire following the 75th Festival de Cannes, Paillard advised Pierre Lescure, President of the Festival, and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate, to name by his side, Esmiol as co-Executive Director of the Marché du Film. This allows them to work in tandem before seeing Esmiol replace Paillard in 2023. Esmiol was formerly Innovation Director for TF1 Group and Marketing Director for the startup studio, Wefound, an experience that allowed him to bring his expertise in digital, media, and innovation.

The managing team of Marché remains the same and comprises Maud Amson (Operations and Sales Director), Michèle Waterhouse (Administrative Director), Alice Kharoubi (Cinema programming Director), Camille Rousselet (Head of Cinando) and Aleksandra Zakharchenko (Head of Programming).

Paillard will step down in December 2022 during Ventana Sur, the co-production market that the Festival co-organises with the INCAA, each year in Buenos Aires. The Marché du Film 2022 is anticipated to be the true post-pandemic market after the difficulties that the industry faced in 2020 and 2021.