Culture

Film Festival Pushes Homegrown Talent

The Berlinale is not just as a launch-pad for new films, but also for the "undiscovered" talent behind them. This year's festival is no exception, having provided breakthrough moments for several new homegrown stars.

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Germany's newest star: Julia Jentsch

Julia Jentsch, actress

The undisputed new star to emerge from the Berlinale is Berlin-born actress Julia Jentsch, 26. Her convincing portrayal of anti-Nazi resistance heroine Sophie Scholl in the competition film "Sophie Scholl -- The Final Days" went over well with both critics and audiences alike. Jentsch's face is now gracing the covers of German magazines, meaning her days of going unrecognized are coming to an end. Jentsch previously appeared in "The Edukators," a film about a group of young people who break into the homes of the wealthy not to steal, but to send them a message about social injustice. Jentsch has been a member of the Munich Kammerspiel theatre ensemble since 2001. At a Berlinale press conference, Jentsch said she would be returning to the stage and had no plans to make another film. But that's likely to change soon -- especially if Jentsch scoops the Silver Bear for best actress, as many are already predicting.

Julia Hummer, actress

Julia Hummer

Julia Hummer

Another young actress named Julia has created a stir at the Berlinale -- Julia Hummer, 24, who stars in Christian Petzold's film "Ghosts" (Gespenster). Festival director Dieter Kosslick said Hummer's portrayal of a young woman the film's protagonist believes is her lost daughter could make her "a very big star in Europe or worldwide." But that will depend very much on which of her ambitions Hummer decides to pursue. She is also a dedicated musician with an album and negotiations with record labels in the works. Hummer's previous film credits include the coming-of-age story "Crazy," and another film by Petzold, "The State I Am In" (Die Innere Sicherheit).

Hannes Stöhr, director

Der Regisseur Hannes Stöhr

Hannes Stöhr

"One Day in Europe" has been described as "delightful" and "refreshing," and has earned its director, Hannes Stöhr, 35, accolades that are just as positive. Not bad, considering "Europe" is only his second feature-length film, following on 2001's "Berlin is in Germany." The film is made up of four episodes told in four European cities and seven different languages. The thing that holds them together is a fictional European Champions League soccer match played in Moscow between Spanish and Turkish teams. "Soccer, whether you like the game or not, is something that connects all the cultures of Europe," said Stöhr, who also wrote the film's screenplay. The story was a natural for Stöhr, who lives in Berlin, but has also spent parts of his life in Moscow and Istanbul, and who speaks English, German, Spanish and French.

Max Riemelt, actor

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Max Riemelt in "Napola" from Constantin Film

It doesn't get any more official than actually being named a Shooting Star 2005, but that's exactly what happened to young German actor Max Riemelt, 21. His current film, "Napola", in which he plays a working-class student at an elite training academy during the Third Reich, is not showing at the Berlinale, but Riemelt was one of 21 young actors from 21 different countries to be awarded the prize at a European Film Promotion event held alongside the festival. Riemelt first achieved teen-idol fame in Germany with the film "Mädchen, Mädchen!" As a prize winner, Riemelt will be introduced to countless producers, casting agents, and other actors over the next few days, but his attitude is relaxed. "It's cool to be named a Shooting Star, and of course, a big honor," Riemelt said. "But as to what comes of that, I'm just going to see what comes my way."

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