Michael Mann, as a screenwriter and especially as a director, developed his own very personal style in thematic and formal elaborations drawn from the American urban experience (Heat, Collateral) becoming established as one of the great innovators and infl uences in American cinema. Mann made his debut as a film director with Thief (1981). His post modern style, detailed in its aesthetics and precise in the definition of the physical spaces, use of music, psychology and emotions, reveals its full complexity in Manhunter (1986). The epic and intimate The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and the large canvas of Heat (1995), consecrated his talent for wielding complex stories and his versatility. Insider (1999), which immerses one with unusual intensity, reveals the solitary soul of his cinema, filled with stressed heroes and images that leave you dazed. In 2001, he directed Ali, the struggle of the boxer to define his identity and representation. The metropolitan thriller Collateral (2004) participated Out of Competition in the 61st Venice International Film Festival. The film adaptation of Miami Vice (2006), was followed by Mann’s Public Enemies (2009), a biopic noir on the short life of John Dillinger. As a producer, Mann’s work includes Aviator (2004), directed by Martin Scorsese, Hancock (2008), Texas Killing Fields (2011) directed by his daughter Ami Canaan Mann, and the HBO series, Luck (2011) and Witness.
Since the beginning of her career in Belgrade in the 1970s, Marina Abramovic has pioneered performance as a visual art form, creating some of the most important early works in the field. The body is her subject and medium. Exploring her physical and mental limits in works that ritualize the simple actions of everyday life, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. From 1975–1988 Abramovic and the German artist Ulay performed together, dealing with relations of duality. Abramovic´ returned to solo performances in 1989. She has presented her work at major institutions in the US and Europe. She has also participated in many large-scale international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale (1976 and 1997) and Documenta in Kassel. In 2010, she had her first major retrospective in the United States at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and simultaneously performed for 716 hours. In 2011 a theater piece by Robert Wilson entitled The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic premiered in Manchester. In 2012 the HBO documentary The Artist Is Present premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Exhibitions in 2012 include shows at PAC and Lia Rumma, Milan; La Fabrica, Madrid; Gallerie Krinzinger, Vienna; and Galleri Brandstrup, Oslo.
Laetitia Casta (France)
In 1998, the audience discovers Laetitia Casta in her first film Astérix et Obélix contre César by Claude Zidi, alongside Gérard Depardieu. Her career as an actress is started: La bicyclette bleue by Thierry Binisti, Les âmes fortes by Raoul Ruiz, Rue des plaisirs by Patrice Leconte, Errance by Damien Odoul, Le grand appartement by Pascal Thomas, La jeune fille et les loups by Gilles Legrand, Visage by Tsai Ming-Liang (offi cial competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009), Serge Gainsbourg, vie héroïque by Joann Sfar for which she was nominated at the César for Best Supporting Female Role in 2011, The War of the Buttons by Christophe Barratier, Derrière les murs by Pascal Sid and Julien Lacombe, The Island by Kamen Kalev which was previewed at the Cannes Festival in 2011 at the Directors’ Fortnight. In 2004, Laetitia decided to go on stage and asked Jacques Weber to direct her on Ondine by Jean Giraudoux. Florian Zeller asked Laetitia to embody the character of Anna in the play Elle t’attend in 2008. Laetitia Casta will next appear in Nicholas Jarecki’s thriller Arbitrage opposite Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon. The film, her first American production, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, was extremely well received. In October 2012, she will be appearing in the new fi lm by Yvan Attal Do Not Disturb and soon in Une histoire d’amour by Hélène Fillières.
Ari Folman (Israel)
In the mid 1980s, after completing his military service, Ari Folman ventured out on his dream trip to circle the world with a backpack. Just two weeks he realized travelling was not for him, so he settled into small guesthouses in South-East Asia and wrote letters to his friends in which he totally fabricated the perfect trip. Onece returned home he studied cinema. His graduate fi lm, Comfortably Numb (1991) documented Ari’s close friends taking cover on the verge of anxiety attacks during the first Gulf War. The fi lm won the Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary. Between 1991 and 1996 Folman directed documentary specials for TV. In 1996 he wrote and directed Clara Hakedosha; in 2001 he made his second feature: Made in Israel, a futuristic fantasy that centers upon the pursuit of the world’s only remaining Nazi. Ari Folman has written for several successful Israeli TV series, including Be Tipul, which was the basis for the HBO series In Treatment. Ari made his initial attempt at animation in his series The Material that Love Is Made of which was followed by Vals im Bashir (2008). Based on a true story, this film is a quest into the director’s memory for the missing pieces from the days of the Lebanon War in the mid 1980s: an animation, full of imagination and fantasy, that has won and been nominated for many additional important awards.
Matteo Garrone (Italy)
From Terra di mezzo to Reality via L’imbalsamatore and Gomorra, Matteo Garrone has revealed himself to be one of the most interesting Italian fi lmmakers of the new generation. Born in Rome in 1968, he started as an assistant cameraman before working as an artist full time. In 1996 his short film Silhouette won the Sacher Festival. The following year he and his production company Archimede made their fi rst feature Terra di mezzo, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Torino Film Festival. In 1998 he made the documentary Oreste Pipolo, fotografo di matrimoni in Naples. In the same year his second feature, Ospiti, won the Kodak Award at the Venice Film Festival. Estate romana was chosen for the Venice Film Festival in 2000, and in 2002 he earned critical and public acclaim with L’imbalsamatore, presented at the Quinzaine des Realisateurs in Cannes. In 2005 Primo amore won the Silver Bear for Best Soundtrack at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2008 he made Gomorra, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival along with numerous other prizes and plaudits. In the same year he produced Gianni Di Gregorio’s Pranzo di ferragosto, which won the Best First Film award at the Venice Film Festival. In 2012 Garrone won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival again, this time for Reality.
Ursula Meier (France/ Switzerland)
Ursula Meier is a film-maker, part Swiss part French. She was born in Besançon, France. From 1990 to 1994 she studied film-making at the Institut des Arts de Diffusion (IAD) in Belgium. The success of her short fiction film Le songe d’Isaac (1994), her end-of-course project, then of Des heures sans sommeil (1998), and Tous à table (2001) enabled her to pursue an independent career, while, at the same time, working as assistant director on two films by Alain Tanner. After two documentaries, Autour de Pinget (2000) and Pas les flics, pas les noirs, pas les blancs (2001), she directed Des épaules solides (2003), a feature film produced for ARTE’s Masculin-Féminin/Petite Caméra series, which was met with great acclaim. Home her feature debut for the big screen, has been premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week in 2008 and awarded in many international film festivals. Her second feature film for cinema. L’enfant d’en haut (2012), was written by Meier for the young Kacey Mottet Klein, Isabelle Huppert’s son in Home. L’enfant d’en haut received a Silver Bear Special Award at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival.
Samantha Morton (Great Britain)
Morton’s career spans 25 years, working extensively in fi lm including Under the Skin (1997), Dreaming of Joseph Lees and Jesus’ Son (1999); Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown (2000) for which Morton received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, was followed by Spielberg’s Minority Report (2002). Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern Callar (2002) got fi ve Best Actress awards nominations and won at BIFA and Toronto. In America (2002) won her second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In 2004 she starred in Code 46 and Enduring Love, in 2005 The Libertine and she played Myra Hindley in the TV film Longford (2006), directed by Tom Hooper, which won her a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. In 2007 she starred in Mister Lonely followed by Control and as Mary, Queen of Scots, in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. In 2008 Morton appeared in Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. She starred in The Messenger in 2009 before she made her directorial debut, co-writing and producing The Unloved. The film was nominated for three BAFTAs and won for Best Single Drama. The Unloved also won Morton a nomination for the Douglas Hickox award at the BIFAs 2009. The film forms the fi rst part of a trilogy and Morton is currently in pre-production for the second film. In 2012 Morton appeared in Cosmopolis directed by David Cronenberg. She recently wrapped on Spike Jonze’s movie Her.
Pablo Trapero (Argentina)
Pablo Trapero was born in Buenos Aires in 1971. He began his international career in 1999 releasing Mundo grúa his first feature, that was presented at the Venice Film Festival, harvesting awards and critical acclaim through film festivals around the globe. The black and white, 16mm fi lm was a breaking point in Argentinean cinema and encouraged young directors into their first features. In 2002, his second feature, El bonaerense premiered at Cannes, again with critical and audience acclaim. He opened his own production company in Buenos Aires, Matanza Cine, from which he has produced ever since other fi lmmakers features apart from his own. As a director he’s also done Familia rodante (2004) which debuted at Venice Film Festival, Nacido y criado (2006) fared at Toronto Film Festival, Leonera (2008), the director’s first feature to compete at Cannes Film Festival, Carancho (2010) fared again at Cannes Film Festival, in the Un certain regard section. All these fi lms have been commercially released in Argentina and abroad, and also presented in major film festivals around the world. Apart from his features films, he has been part of collective films such as Stories on Human Rights (with his segment Sobras), and made the shorts Nómade (included in 25 miradas - 200 minutos) and Naif (for the feature film Visual Telegrams). In 2012 Trapero is presenting as a producer Caito directed by Guillermo Pfening and has released his last feature Elefante blanco and 7 días en La Habana, both screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.