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By Shaibu Husseini
24 January 2021   |   2:58 am
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Berlinale Talents, a major side event of the Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise called Berlinale, is set to create a space for encounters

2021 Berlinale Talent Programme’s Themed Dreams
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Berlinale Talents, a major side event of the Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise called Berlinale, is set to create a space for encounters, networks and exchanges amongst the 200 talents invited from 65 countries for this year’s edition of the talent programme.

Held under the theme of Dreams, this 19th edition will run from March 1 to 5. As the first part of this two-fold Berlinale 2021, 200 chosen talents, as well as a host of guests and the public, will participate in a virtual forum showcasing the unending possibilities and dream worlds of the film: An opportunity to begin building and sharing a global vision for the cinema of the future.

The initiative draws not only on the utopic potential of dreams — crucial to so many of us these days — but also brings into sight the many fascinating parallels between the nocturnal film sets we visit in our sleep and the dream-machine that is cinema. A statement from the Berlin Press office indicates that the HAU Hebbel Theatre am Ufer will be transformed into a digital set, allowing Berlinale Talents to convert the distance between the homes of participants from 65 countries and the HAU Theatre into an “SDream,” or an augmented meeting point.

In the words of Berlinale Talents heads, Christine Tröstrum and Florian Weghorn, “It’s just like being in a dream: Talents, audience and guests will be in Berlin and elsewhere at the same time. The alleged opposition between ‘Real’ and ‘Virtual’ is consumed by our optimistic ‘Everywhere’ for this edition of Berlinale Talents – a programmatic dream journey, which gives new form to our vision for a creative world without boundaries’’. The complete programme, including events for the film industry, talks and live-workshops open to the public will be published mid-February. Together with 200 invited participants (from 65 countries, selected from a pool of 3,000 applicants), Berlinale Talents is committed to scouting out new paths for the creative industry in the midst of radical change. Additional information on the Talent programme can be sourced at www.berlinale-talents.de.

Asia TV Forum And Market To End February 28
THE 2020 edition of the yearly Asia TV Forum and Market (ATF), which held in December, is to continue till February 28, 2021. Although the market faced a difficult time in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, organisers say that the ATF made a significant mark in the industry, closed the year on an encouraging note and provided an uncomplicated digital platform aimed at stimulating connections and networking. Records sourced from filmfestival.com indicate that ATF Online+ 2020 saw 1,215 companies and 15 official pavilions participating, with 4,156 programmes presented on the platform. The first official four-days also saw more than 15,500 meetings arranged, underpinning ATF’s importance as a platform to facilitate business dealings and a key year-end market where deals are sealed, with a host of partnerships and deals announced. According to reports, The Japan Pavilion, which was one of the participating official pavilions and a featured sponsor had a strong presence at ATF Online+ in 2020, with 30 Japanese companies featured. 

The Pavilion also presented 2 Coffee Hour Content Showcase conference sessions, showcasing Fresh Content from Japan for both Scripted and Unscripted programmes. The Pavilion received more than 450 unique attendees during the first official four-days, whilst the sessions saw over 280 viewers tuning in life – underscoring the industry’s interest in Japan’s entertainment content. According to Yeow Hui Leng, Group Project Director of ATF, “ATF has always been the foremost platform for global industry players seeking for current insights and the right leads to doing business in Asia. The industry responded encouragingly when we invited them to join our discussions on ‘Prelude to 2021’, the theme for ATF Online+ 2020. It reflects the industry’s sentiment and eagerness towards a positive 2021, and also the trust they placed in ATF. We look forward to continuing partnering closely with the industry, as we navigate 2021 together. The next edition of ATF is slated to return 1 to 3 December 2021.

Jurors Selected For 2021 Sundance Film Festival
ORGANISERS of the 2021 Sundance International Festival, which opens on January 28, have selected 22 jurors that will award prizes at the festival. The jurors described as ‘22 celebrated voices across film, art and culture’ will bestow this year’s awards on feature-length and short films at a digital ceremony holding February 2. This year’s event is available online at Festival.Sundance.org while the awards night will be live-streamed. However, award-winning films will be available for special extended-run viewing the day after the ceremony. Six section juries decide on the awards, which recognise standout artistic and cinematic achievement.

As in years past, Festival audiences have a role in deciding the 2021 Audience Awards, open to films in the U.S. Competition, World Competition and NEXT categories. According to festival’s Director of Programming, Kim Yutani, “our jurors have reached a high level of achievement in their individual fields, and can bring their unique perspective to the process of analysing and evaluating films.” He added, “we are pleased to bring this accomplished, creative group together, and look forward to hearing their thoughts.”

The World Cinema Dramatic Jury has Zeynep Atakan, a producer in İstanbul; Isaac Julien, a filmmaker and Daniela Vega, a Chilean actress known for starring in the Academy Award-winning feature, A Fantastic Woman, as members while filmmaker Kim Longinotto and Mohamed Saïd Ouma will serve on the World Cinema Documentary jury. The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola and the Angry Inch, Reservoir Dogs and sex, lies, and videotape. The festival is a programme of the non-profit Sundance Institute.