“Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film
Fatih Akin (Germany - President)
Born in 1973 in Hamburg to Turkish parents, Akin studied Visual Communication at the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg from 1994 to 2000. His first short film, Sensin - Du bist es! (1995), won the Publikumspreis at the Internationales Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg. In 1998, he became the rising star of German cinema with his first feature film, Kurz und Schmerzlos (Short Sharp Shock), in which he tackled the theme of international encounters that he would subsequently explore further. The film won the Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival in 1998. Two years later, he made a road movie, Im Juli (In July), and the documentary Denk ich an Deutschland - Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren (We forgot to go back). In 2002, he made Solino, the chronicle of a family of Italian immigrants in Duisburg. In 2003, he co-founded his production company corazón international with Andreas Thiel and Klaus Maeck. Gegen die Wand (Head on) was his international breakthrough in 2004, a depiction of Turkish culture and the difficulties of integration into Germany, which received the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the award for Best Director at the Deutscher Filmpreis and European Film Awards. In 2005 in Cannes, he presented his documentary Crossing the Bridge - The Sound of Istanbul. In 2007 he made Auf der Anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven), which also won numerous awards. In 2009, he won the Special Jury Prize at the 66th Venice Film Festival with his comedy Soul Kitchen.
Nina Lath Gupta (India)
Since 2006 she has been the Director General of the National Film Development Corporation Ltd (NFDC), the state body for Indian film – a venerable institution whose policies she has radically changed, making it more flexible and adapting it to the needs of independent producers. In 2009, she promoted an ambitious film restoration programme of films produced by the NFDC in tandem with similar projects on a global scale, including Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation. The programme, which inaugurated with Satyajit Ray’s filmography, has the aim of restoring and digitalising around a hundred Indian film classics in association with Pixion Studios in Mumbai. Among the NFDC’s recent productions are Arindam Nandy’s psychological Hindi thriller Via Darjeeling (2008), Anjali Menon’s Manjadikkuru (Lucky Red Seeds), Laxmikant Shetgaonkar’s The Man Beyond the Bridge (2009) and Jay Weissberg’s Haat (The Weekly Bazaar, 2010), a movie set in rural Rajasthan which focuses on the theme of ritual female humiliation. In 2007, Gupta also created the Film Bazaar at the International Film Festival of India in Goa, an incredible workshop-market with projects coming from all the regions of India and via all possible production means. She is currently working on the creation of a circuit of arthouse cinemas (which disappeared from Indian cities over twenty years ago).
Stanley Kwan (Hong Kong - China)
Born in Hong Kong, in 1957. After studying at the Department of Communications, Baptist College, he joined the television station TVB as a trainee actor but soon moved to the production training division. He found himself working as an assistant to several of the young directors who went on to launch a new wave in Hong Kong cinema, including Ann Hui, Yim Ho and Patrick Tam. He soon followed them into the film industry and directed his own first feature Nüren xin (Women), in 1985. His second film, Dei ha ching (Love Unto Waste), was invited in competition at the Locarno Film Festival and his third, Yinji kau (Rouge), won him a substantial international audience. Maggie Cheung won the Best Actress Prize at the Berlin Film Festival for his 1991 film Yuen Ling-yuk (Centre Stage), and in 1997 Yu kuaile, yu duoluo (Hold You Tight) won both the Alfred-Bauer-Preis for innovation and the Teddy Award for Best Lesbian/Gay Feature, again in Berlin. In 2001, Lan Yu premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Festival and in 2005 Changhen ge (Everlasting Regret) was in competition at the Venice Film Festival. In addition to his feature films, which have won him a worldwide art-house following, he has directed shorts and documentaries. In 2008, he ventured into directing for the stage, first for a Chinese musical in Shanghai and two years later, a Chinese opera in Beijing.
Samuel Maoz (Israel)
Born in Tel Aviv in 1962, and a film buff since childhood, by the age of eighteen he had already made numerous amateur short films. In 1980, he enrolled in the Tank Corps of the Israeli Army and in 1982 fought in the Lebanese War, an experience that affected him deeply. In 1987, he graduated in Film from Beit Zvi Academy of the Arts. He then made various shorts, ads and documentaries, including Total Eclipse (2000), which was also screened at the MOMA in New York. The nightmare of the war in which he had taken part continued to torment him and it was only with his first feature-length film, Lebanon(2009), the Golden Lion winner at the Venice Film Festival in 2009, that Maoz, referring to his own personal experience, would re-evoke the trauma of the war, recounting the experiences, the consequences and the devastation that would mark all those who took part in it for ever. After its presentation in Venice, the film was shown at numerous international festivals (Toronto, New York, Vancouver, Pusan, San Paolo, London, Thessalonica, Göteborg, Rotterdam, Glasgow, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Moscow and Los Angeles).
Jasmine Trinca (Italy)
Without ever having attended acting class or even thinking of becoming an actress, in her last year of high school Jasmine Trinca was chosen out of 2500 girls to appear in Nanni Moretti’s La stanza del figlio, Golden Palm winner at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001. She then played Giorgia in Marco Tullio Giordana’s La meglio gioventù, for which she won the Nastro d’Argento for Best Actress together with the female cast of the film. In 2004, she tried her hand at comedy, appearing with Silvio Muccino in the first episode of Giovanni Veronesi’s Manuale d’amore. The following year, audiences saw her in Michele Placido’s Romanzo criminale. In 2006, she was back working with Nanni Moretti as the young director in Il Caimano for which Jasmine received the Trophée Chopard for young actors. She subsequently performed in Valerio Mastandrea’s directorial debut, the short Trevirgolaottantasette, for which she won a Nastro d’Argento. In 2007, she was reunited with Kim Rossi Stuart in Riccardo Milani’s Piano solo. In the same year she won the Shooting Star Award at the Berlin Film Festival and was a jury member in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. The following year, she made her foreign debut in Alain Tasma’s French-Israeli film Ultimatum. At the 66th Venice Film Festival in 2009, she won the Premio Mastroianni for her performance in Michele Placido’s film Il grande sogno. She has just finished filming in France in Bertrand Bonello’s latest film, L’Apollonide - Souvenirs de la maison close.