Jury President Werner Herzog has become one of Germany’s most influential directors over the course of his 50-year career. Producing more than 50 feature and documentary films, Herzog is one of the most recognisable personalities of “New German Cinema,” a genre characterised by low-budget art house films that emerged from the 1960s to 1980s.
In 1968 he was awarded the Berlinale’s Silver Bear for best first film “Signs of Life.” Among Herzog’s most famous films are “Aguirre: The Wrath of God” (1972), “Nosferatu the Vampyre” (1979), “Fitzcarraldo” (1982, Silver Palm in Cannes for Best Director), “Grizzly Man” (2005) and “Encounters at the End of the World” (2007), for which he received an Oscar nomination. The eccentric director publicly cooked and ate a shoe in 1978 after saying he would do so to motivate director Errol Morris to finish a movie project.
By far the most famous actor of the jury, Oscar-winner Renée Zellweger is known for her performances in blockbusters such as romantic comedies “Jerry Maguire” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” The Texas-born Zellweger received Academy Award nominations for her role as a befuddled thirtysomething single woman in that 2001 film and its sequel, “Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason” (2004), in addition to a nomination for her role in “Chicago” (2002). She won the Oscar for Best Lead Actress in the Civil War film “Cold Mountain” in 2004.
Italian director Francesca Comencini made her first award-winning film “Pianoforte” at age 23, winning the Best First Feature award at the Venice Film Festival in 1985. She has since aired films at filmed festivals around the world. Her most recent film Lo spazio bianco, or “White Space,” competed at the 2009 Venice Film Festival.
Somalian novelist Nuruddin Farah launched to international fame with the 1970 publication of his first book, “From a Crooked Rib.” Focusing on questions of social and family identity, the award-winning writer’s works have been translated into more than 20 languages.
German actress Cornelia Froboess, who found fame as a child singer, has been awarded numerous prizes for her onscreen skills, among them the Ernst Lubitsch Award for her role as Claire in the screen adaptation of Tucholsky’s “Rheinsberg” (1967). She also starred in Herzog’s fellow New German Cinema compatriot Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film “Veronika Voss.”
Producer of more than 50 films, Spaniard José Maria Morales has worked with directors such as Arturo Ripstein, Costa Gavras and Goran Paskaljevic. He worked on Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s drama La Teta Asustada, or “The Milk of Sorrow,” which won the 2009 Berlinale’s highest prize – the Golden Bear.
Known in her homeland of China as an “art house queen,” actress Yu Nan played the lead role in the 2007 Golden Bear-winning film Tuya de hun shi, or “Tuya’s Marriage.” She was awarded the prize for best actress in the film at the Chicago International Film Festival. She also starred in the 2008 Hollywood action film “Speed Racer,” which was made at the Babelsberg studios outside Berlin.