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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 12:59 GMT
Berlinale pushes homegrown talent
Amos Kollek's Bridget competes for Golden Bear
More than 100,000 visitors are expected to descend on the German capital as the Berlin Film Festival officially opens.

The programme will feature 400 films from across the world with an emphasis on promoting German film talent to overseas audiences.

Although the Berlin festival lacks the glamour of its Cannes and Venice counterparts, the sheer volume of visitors makes it one of the most important in the world.

New festival director Dieter Kosslick vowed to use the festival as a platform for German film.

Bloody Sunday
James Nesbitt stars in Bloody Sunday
This pledge will be helped by the anticipated attendance of actress Cate Blanchett, who stars in German director Tom Tykwer's Heaven.

Mr Tykwer is one of four German director's competing for the coveted Golden Bear award, the highest ever for the festival.

His 1999 Run Lola Run movie was greeted with critical acclaim.

"It's a strong showing for German film," said Mr Kosslick. "And I think it was time for that."

Charlie Chaplin

Former festival director Swiss Moritz de Hadeln was criticised during his 22-year reign for failing to use the festival as a platform for German films

A highlight of the two week event, which runs until 17 February, is a new print of Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator to be shown at a screening attended by members of his family.

In total 23 films will be in the running for the Golden Bear, including Bloody Sunday, which has already been screened on ITV.

Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett
Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett star in Heaven

Indian director Mira Nair is heading up the festival jury, having won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Monsoon Wedding.

She will be joined by an international panel of judges.

A trio of Dame Judi Dench's films, The Shipping News, Iris and Chocolat, will be playing during the programme, showcasing the actress' prolific film career of recent years.

The French film, Intimacy, directed by Patrice Chereau won the top Golden Bear award in 2001.

See also:

22 Nov 01 | Film
Nair to lead Berlin film jury
22 Oct 01 | Film
US attacks 'affect' Berlinale
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Stalingrad meets Hollywood at Berlin
21 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Magnolia triumphs in Berlin
08 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Berlin reaches for the stars
05 May 99 | Entertainment
Berlin loses its cultural cool
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