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Berlin FF Introduces First Film Prize

The Berlin Film Festival introduced an new award it is calling the Viewfinder Award in 2006, given to the director of a first feature film. This year again, a dedicated, three-person international jury will decide on the best debut film. The award is endowed with 50,000 Euros, donated by the GWFF (Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrecht), a society dedicated to safeguarding film and television rights. In 2008 the director and producer of the winning film will be awarded with a high-quality viewfinder as both a useful instrument and memorable trophy.

Feature films from the sections Competition, Panorama, Generation Kplus and 14plus as well as debut films from the Forum will compete for the award: The winners will be announced at the official award ceremony in the Berlinale-Palast on February 16. The prize money is to be split between the producer and the director of the chosen First Feature.

Jury for the Best First Feature

Ben Barenholtz (USA) Producer, Distributor
Ben Barenholtz is one of the key protagonists in America’s independent film scene. In 1968 he opened the New York Elgin Cinema which became a legendary forum for independent filmmakers with its Midnight Movies. Barenholtz is also a successful producer and distributor. He produced several of the Coen brothers’ films, including the drama Barton Fink which won the 1991 Golden Palm in Cannes.

Dominique Cabrera (France) Director
Born in Algeria, the director first studied literature and then went to the Paris Film Academy. In 1996 she made her first feature film L’autre côté de la mer. In 1999 she presented the film Nadia And The Hippos in the Cannes –series ‘Un Certain Regard’. She was a guest at the 2004 Berlinale Forum with her drama A Wonderful Spell. Dominique Cabrera is also active as an actress and book author.

Jasmila Zbanic (Bosnia and Hercegovina) Director, Screenwriter
The director, who comes from Sarajevo, celebrated her feature film debut and an international success with Grbavica. The drama surrounding the aftermath of the war in Bosnia was awarded the Golden Bear at the 2006 Berlinale. In 1997 Jasmila Zbanic founded the artists‘ association and subsequent film production company Deblokada. In 2004 she presented a series of art videos and documentary films at the Kasseler Kunsthalle Fridericianum.

Sandy Mandelberger, Berlin FF Dailies Editor

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