Riz Ahmed Among Berlin Film Festival’s Shooting Stars

The Four Lions actor to be championed among Europe’s finest.

Four Lions actor Riz Ahmed is the UK representative at the Berlin Film Festival’s Shooting Stars of 2012.

Now in its 15th year, the Shooting Star programme will showcase select European actors at the 62nd Berlinale, which runs from 9th to 19th February. A jury, including Dutch Oscar-winning director Marleen Gorris, picked the young actors who will be championed at the event.

Previous Shooting Stars include Carey Mulligan, Moritz Bleibtreu, Mélanie Laurent, Alba Rohrwacher, Domhnall Gleeson and Elena Anaya.

Gorris commented: ’ We came away marvelling at the often brilliant way the nominated actors portrayed the feeling of a kind of modern loneliness, taking you on a journey in their search for identity no matter which part of Europe they came from. It was a real challenge choosing our ten favourites from such an interesting and high-quality group of nominees.’

Details of Ahmed’s peers, and the jury comments, can be found below.

United Kingdom: Riz Ahmed
Selected Films: Shifty, Four Lions, The Road to Guantanamo
Jury’s comment: Watching Ahmed on screen is to be treated to an actor of extraordinary presence and talent. In Trishna, he bridges love and rage, fragility and power, tenderness and brutality. A versatile, elegant, dignified actor with outstanding potential.

France: Adèle Haenel
Selected Films: Water Lilies, House of Tolerance, Heat Wave
Jury’s comment: Coming from a country renowned for producing great screen actresses, Haenel still stands out as a true original. Whether playing tomboyish, spiky, fragile or misunderstood, she is always daring and hypnotic, vanishing into her characters with unabashed fearlessness.

Germany: Anna Maria Mühe
Selected Films: Cracks In The Shell, November Child, Big Girls Don’t Cry
Jury’s comment: Never predictable despite her already impressive body of work, Mühe is an actress of consummate skill whose ability to bring such a great variety of characters to vivid life is both rare and breath-taking. Vibrant, complex and technically commanding.

Iceland: Hilmar Gudjónsson
Selected Films: Either Way, Mr. Bjarnfreðarson, Black’s Game
Jury’s comment: A compelling and wonderful actor with a strong, tangible style even playing the seemingly weak, foolish boy at the heart of Either Way. With his versatility and ability to stand out, Gudjónsson has a promising career ahead.

Ireland: Antonia Campbell-Hughes
Selected Films: The Other Side Of Sleep, Kelly and Victor, Albert Nobbs
Jury’s comment: Antonia’s acting is seductively minimalistic but demonstrates magnificent charisma at the same time. In The Other Side Of Sleep, her character’s inner solitude and sadness are conveyed with haunting, empathetic power. She is a performer of wonderful soul and depth.

Italy: Isabella Ragonese
Selected Films: The First Assignment, Our Life, Her Whole Life Ahead
Jury’s comment: Ragonese is an actress of great versatility and deep intelligence, with a commanding ability to present a clear emotional journey on screen. This makes her an extremely accessible screen presence, capable of fragility, intensity, sophistication and edginess.

Poland: Jakub Gierszał
Selected Films: Suicide Room, All That I Love, Lasting Moments
Jury’s comment: From the moment you see him, it is clear that Gierszał was born to be on the big screen. Revealing a kaleidoscope of emotions, his ability to draw you into a story is unparalleled. He is touching, believable, sensitive – a pure and unique talent.

Romania: Ana Ularu
Selected Films: Outbound, Turkey Girl
Jury’s comment: With Outbound, Ularu not only carries an entire film on her shoulders but does so with a complex, difficult character in convincing, magnetic fashion. Steely yet vulnerable, she possesses an amazing and adaptable physical presence, and eyes that really do serve as windows to her soul.

Sweden: Bill Skarsgård
Selected Films: Simple Simon, Simon and the Oaks, The Crown Jewels
Jury’s comment: In Simon and the Oaks, Skarsgård conveys depth, emotion and deep longing as a young man plunged into an identity crisis and desperate to know more about his family background. His acting feels like an exploration that we are lucky enough to witness.

Switzerland: Max Hubacher
Selected Films: The Foster Boy, Stationspiraten
Jury’s comment: In a performance of beautiful clarity, Hubacher conveys the struggle, suffering and will to survive of his Foster Boy with enlightening authenticity. Given his young age, it is impressive how he is able to make such a strong and moving connection with the audience.
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