Iran, Kazakhstan and Syria short doc feature in Berlinale Generation selection

With a press release titled "Let's Dance" Berlinale announced the line up for the section's feature and short programme, with the focus of the overall Generation selection on young people: how they perceive the world, how they appropriate it or how they oppose it.
Iran, Kazakhstan and Syria short doc feature in Berlinale Generation selection

The intro paragraph to the latest Berlinale press release goes: "Angry and free, courageous and tender, eloquent and introverted. Shining the spotlight on fresh, untamed, resonant voices in the world of young cinema, the selection of this edition’s two competition programmes Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus comprises 24 feature-length films and 28 short films. 12 feature film debuts, more than 50% female directors, a wide range of cinematic forms and perspectives..." And we couldn't have said it better ourselves! 

This is also a time for goodbyes, as Maryanne Redpath, long-time head of Generation, disclosed the final programme she has in store for Berlinale, thus bidding adieu to the festival.

Carlo Chatrian, Artistic Director and Mariette Rissenbeek, Managing Director of the Berlin International Film Festival commented on Redpath's departure by saying “We would like to thank Maryanne Redpath, who has shaped and developed the festival's programme for young people for almost three decades: from the former Kinderfilmfest to Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus. We hope that Maryanne will continue to contribute her commitment and her great, global enthusiasm for films and young people in the future.”

And Redpath added, addressing her work's mission: “To never underestimate the young audience, that growing up can be beautiful as well as dangerous, that this is no time for ordinary cinema – are lessons learnt at Berlinale Generation. Festival work has played a major role in my life for almost 30 years and over that time I have – amongst other things - been called ‘a game changer’ or ‘the godmother of edgy cinema for young audiences’. I like to think there is some truth in that. As I prepare my departure, the title of a subtly subversive Australian short film comes to mind: We don’t say goodbye, we say see you soon.”

This year in the lineup there are features and shorts, from as far away as South Korea, Japan and Mexico and as near by as Iran, Ukraine and Germany. Divided as usual into two sections, Generation Kplus and Generation 14plus -- these further subdivided into features and shorts programmes -- we took a closer look at the selection of MENA titles.

From Iran, the world premiere of Rooz-e sib (The Apple Day, pictured above) by Mahmoud Ghaffari, starring Mahdi Pourmoosa, Arian Rastkar, Zhila Shahi and Khodadad Bakhshizade will be screened as part of the Generation Kplus selection. The film's synopsis from Berlinale: "When the truck is stolen from his father and with him his livelihood as a mobile apple seller, his son Saeed cannot meet the demand of supplying a basket of apples to school. A razor-sharp look at the age-old city versus countryside discrepancy the film follows Saeed through the alleys and streets of a Tehran suburb in search of a solution."

In the Generation 14plus, is the world premiere of Skhema (Scheme) by Farkhat Sharipov from Kazakhstan. The film stars Victoriya Romanova and Tair Svintsov and the synopsis goes: "The focus is on Masha, a teenager who, through a friend, gets caught in an opaque web of dependency and exploitation. In complex images that capture Masha's lack of anchors and connections, as well as her search for support, the film creates the multi-layered portrait of coming of age in new-rich Almaty, precise, vivid, dramatic and of universal relevance."

As part of the shorts programme of Generation Kplus is Laura Wadha's Born in Damascus, a UK production. In her documentary, "the Scottish-Syrian director tries to reconcile the two worlds in her head: her fond memories of visiting relatives in Damascus and what has happened in Syria since then. She confronts her cousin, who fled from there, with her recordings from then - and thus calls back memories that were buried under trauma," as the Berlinale press release discloses.

Check out all the world cinema titles included in the programme here.

As previously announced, this year's Berlinale will take place with its industry arm, the European Film Market unfolding online instead of on the ground in Berlin. From February 10th to the 16th, film delegations will present their work to the press and industry insiders, while the last four days of the festival will be more geared towards the viewing public -- always a huge part of the festival.

For more information, stay tuned to, as we'll bring you the line up announcement on January 19th as well as all updates.

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