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European Film Promotion Reveals 10 European Shooting Stars

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European Film Promotion has revealed the 10 emerging actors who will take part in the 27th edition of European Shooting Stars program, which promotes European acting talent. Past Shooting Stars have included Carey Mulligan, Alicia Vikander, Maisie Williams and Riz Ahmed.

From Feb. 16-19, the actors will be presented to the international press and industry, and the German public at the Berlin Film Festival. One of the highlights will be the Shooting Stars Awards Ceremony on Feb. 19 at the Berlinale Palast.

The Shooting Stars for 2024 are Belgium’s Thibaud Dooms, Bulgaria’s Margarita Stoykova, France’s Suzy Bemba, Georgia’s Salome Demuria, Germany’s Katharina Stark, Ireland’s Éanna Hardwicke, Italy’s Valentina Bellè, Lithuania’s Džiugas Grinys, Poland’s Kamila Urzędowska and Sweden’s Asta Kamma August.

The jury that selected the actors comprised of Austrian director, screenwriter and producer Barbara Albert, Lithuanian producer Živilė Gallego, Irish actor Moe Dunford, British casting director Aisha Bywaters and Greek public relations officer and reporter at Cineuropa Vassilis Economou.

The selection recognizes the actors’ potential for an international career based on several factors, including their performance in a recent feature film or drama series, which were submitted with their nominations.

Tina Hajon, program director of European Shooting Stars, said: “We are thrilled to present such a diverse selection of talented up-and-coming actors and actresses hailing from diverse cultural backgrounds and professional experiences.”

Dooms is a graduate of the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam and works in both theater and film. The jury was impressed by his performance as Liam in Koen Motier’s feature film “Skunk.” “His versatile and unique portrayal captures a character dealing with tragedy, blending sensitivity and intensity in a rare and captivating manner,” the jury said.

Her first role in the feature film “Dyad” by Yana Titova earned accolades and awards, four alone at the Golden Rose Film Festival, including best film and the City of Varna Award for her performance. The jury lauded her nuanced work which “showcases her fearlessness as an actress.” The youngest talent in this year’s Shooting Stars lineup “portrays a multifaceted character exceptionally well. Initially appearing unsympathetic, her character gradually reveals layers of fragility.”

Bemba initially studied to become a surgeon, but then discovered a passion for cinema. She has appeared in films and series such as “L’Opera,” created by Cécile Ducrocq and Benjamin Adam, “Poor Things” by Yorgos Lanthimos and “Drift” by Anthony Chen. Her performance in “Homecoming” by Catherine Corsini, which premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, deeply touched the jury, “Bemba’s subtle acting style draws viewers into her character’s journey. She navigates the delicate nuances of her struggles, leaving a lasting impact with her stunning performance,” the jury said.

Demuria made her debut in 2012 with the Spanish-Georgian co-production “Seagull.” She was honored as best actress at the Shanghai Film Festival, the Almaty Independent Film Festival and the Minsk Film Festival for her role in Dito Tsintsadze’s “Inhale-Exhale.” In the nominated film “The Antique” by Rusudan Glurjidze she won over the jury “with her subtle yet powerful portrayal. Solome expertly navigates the character’s emotional journey with a genuinely heartbreaking performance.”

Stark is a graduate of the Otto Falckenberg School in Munich. Throughout her studies, she appeared in numerous television shows, films (such as Anna Roller’s feature film “Dead Girls Dancing”) and plays, often on stage at the Theatre Münchner Kammerspiele. She is currently starring as the Polish interpreter Eva Bruhns in the German Disney+ original miniseries “The Interpreter of Silence,” based on the novel by Annette Hess, directed by Isabel Prahl and Randa Chahoud. The jury was full of praise: “Katharina executes an emotionally charged and demanding role with ease. Her character’s depth is conveyed through a performance that is both understated and compelling.”

Immediately after graduating from the Lír Academy in Dublin, Hardwicke plunged into the film world and starred alongside Jesse Eisenberg in the feature film “Vivarium”; with Seána Kerslake and Ayoola Smart in the TV series “Smother”; and with Isabel Huppert in Laurent Lariviere’s feature film “Joan Verra.” For his role as a Gaelic footballer in the nominated film “Lakelands,” directed by Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney, the jury recognized Hardwicke’s “star quality” and lauded his performance which is “nothing short of gripping, skilfully revealing layers of sensitivity beneath a seemingly tough exterior.”

Bellè appeared in two competition films at the Venice Festival this year: Michael Mann’s “Ferrari” and “Lubo” by Giorgio Diritti. She plays the leading role in Disney + series “The Good Mother,” for which she won the Italian Nastro D’Argento award for supporting actress. The jury was impressed with her performance in which she “steals the spotlight as the audience follows her journey and roots for her throughout this tense drama.”

With his theater arts degree in hand, Grinys embarked on a wide-ranging stage career over a five-year period. He also proved his on-screen skills in supporting roles in three films: Robertas Kuliūnas’s “As Gyvas,” Algimantas Puipa’s “Cinephilia” and Kristijonas Vildžiūnas’ “Songs for a Fox.” Grinys successfully made the leap to the big screen with his first leading role in “Southern Chronicles.” The jury said: “In this heartfelt performance Džiugas showcases a promising future in the world of cinema.”

Urzędowska played her first leading role in the Canal + series “Zmijowisko” by Lukasz Palkowski. For her performance in the Polish Academy Award entry as best international feature film “The Peasants” by D.K. Welchmann and Hugh Welchmann, she was honored with the Crystal Star Elle and the Chopard Loves Cinema Acting Debut Award at the 48th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. The jury was impressed by her performance “that is nothing short of revelatory. Kamila is a versatile talent, bringing this character to life with her innocence and tenacity.”

Graduating from the Danish National School of Performing Arts in 2017, August swiftly gained recognition for her performances in a variety of cinematic and television productions. Her recent projects include leading roles in “Kalak,” helmed by Isabella Eklöf, which premiered and won two awards at San Sebastian Film Festival, and “The Hypnosis,” directed by Ernst de Geer, which premiered at Karlovy Vary Film Festival. The jury was thrilled by “her enigmatic portrayal of a woman on the verge of a crisis which makes for a thrilling journey. You never know what she will do next.”

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