The Berlin Film Festival has announced on Tuesday the jury members of the GWFF (Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten) Best First Feature award.
Since 2006, when it introduced the GWFF Best First Feature award, the Berlinale has been even more committed to supporting the next generation of film makers. The award is endowed with €50,000, donated by the GWFF, a society dedicated to safeguarding film and television rights. The prize money is to be split between the producer and the director of the winning film. Additionally, the director will be awarded with a high-quality viewfinder as both a useful instrument and memorable trophy.
Festival Director Dieter Kosslick and the heads of the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections have nominated a total of 16 directorial feature film debuts. The winners will be announced at the official Award Ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on 16 February.
Katja Eichinger (Germany)
After graduating from the British Film Institute, author and journalist Katja Eichinger worked for a number of papers and magazines, including Variety, Financial Times, Esquire, Dazed & Confused, The Independent on Sunday, and VOGUE Germany. After the death of her husband Bernd Eichinger, she wrote his biography, titled “BE” (2012). Her debut novel, “Amerikanisches Solo”, was published in 2014. Alongside being the initiator of the Giorgio Moroder retrospective “The Sound of Munich” and “Warholmania”— an homage to Andy Warhol — she supports young filmmakers through the “NO FEAR Award”, a scholarship for promising producers at the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF), as well as through her work at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). In 2014 she was on the jury of the “Made in Germany – PerspektiveFellowship” at the Berlinale. In 2018 she produced the concept album “Junkspace” with Rem Koohlhaas and the New York band Tempers.
Alain Gomis (France / Senegal)
Born in France in 1972, the French-Senegalese director studied art history and film at the Sorbonne University in Paris. After beginning with videos and short films, he made his feature film debut in 2002 with L’afrance which focused on the spiritual hardships of migrants in France and was awarded a Silver Leopard in Locarno. His feature film Andalucia was shown at the Venice Days, Aujourd’hui (Tey) screened in Competition at the 2012 Berlinale and was chosen as Senegal’s entry for an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2017, Alain Gomis presented his film Félicité in the Berlinale Competition and won the Silver Bear Grand Jury prize.
Vivian Qu (China)
Director, screenwriter, and producer Vivian Qu is one of Chinese independent cinema’s most important representatives. Her directorial debut Shuiyin jie (Trap Street, 2013) premiered to critical acclaim in Venice, and was shown at over 50 film festivals worldwide. In 2017 she presented her film Jia nian hua (Angels Wear White) in Venice Competition, and it garnered her numerous awards worldwide, including Best Director at the 54th Golden Horse awards and the Chinese Director’s Guild award in her home country. Prior to this, she has produced several award-winning independent films including Diao Yinan’s Bai Ri Yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice), which received the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 2014 Berlinale. Vivian Qu was president of the jury at the 2018 International Antalya Film Festival.