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Kristine Kujath Thorp, Nader Khademi in Ninjababy
Kristine Kujath Thorp, Nader Khademi in Ninjababy

Berlinale revealed the 15 films including seven world premieres and six debuts for the Generation program in the two competitions Kplus and 14plus.

Notably, many of the Generation films are made by women, the proportion of female directors is 60%, in the Kplus competition even 75%.

2021 Berlin International Film Festival Generation Films

Generation Kplus: On the Bridge to New Terrain

Beans
Canada
by Tracey Deer
with Kiawentiio Tarbell, Rainbow Dickerson, Violah Beauvais, Paulina Alexis

All of a sudden, racism becomes a cruel reality in the life of twelve-year-old Beans, whose real name is Tekahentahkhwa. The Mohawk-First Nations community to which she belongs is being threatened by white supremacists. Beans learns valuable lessons about defending both her own and her people’s rights, from her family as well as some tough new friends. The film is based on the director’s childhood memories of the 1990 Oka crisis in Québec.

Ensilumi (Any Day Now)
Finland
by Hamy Ramezan
with Aran–Sina Keshvari, Shahab Hosseini, Shabnam Ghorbani, Kimiya Eskandari
*International premiere

The asylum application of the Mehdipour family has been rejected; Ramin (13), his little sister and their parents can be deported by the Finnish authorities at any time. Despite their precarious situation as refugees, their everyday life is rich in loving family rituals, humour, and – for teenager Ramin – exciting discoveries along the way to growing up.

Han Nan Xia Ri (Summer Blur)
People’s Republic of China
by Han Shuai
with Gong Beibi, Huang Tian, Zhang Xinyuan, Yan Xingyue
Debut film

Guo’s face is veiled in a delicate layer of wistfulness. She has to spend the summer alone in Wuhan with her aunt, who lives in poor conditions, while her mother leads a dazzling life in Shanghai. Being on the cusp of becoming a teenager, a terrible secret, the longing for love and safety and the fear of being abandoned are Guo’s constant companions.

Jong chak yeok (Short Vacation)
Republic of Korea
by Kwon Min-pyo, Seo Hansol
with Seol Si-yeon, Bae Yeon-woo, Park So-jung, Han Song-hee
*International premiere / Debut film

What do you look for when you are supposed to take a photo of the end of the world? Together, four school friends journey to explore the unknown outskirts of the big city of Seoul, equipped with an old-fashioned analogue camera and a film that only has 27 pictures. The task sharpens their view of the familiar and opens their eyes to themselves and each other.

Last Days at Sea
Philippines / Taiwan
by Venice Atienza
*World premiere / Documentary form / Debut film

Reyboy’s world is the sparkling ocean, the hidden treasures on the long coast, the taste of honey rice. The filmmaker accompanies the Filipino boy in his fishing village by the sea as his life is about to change forever. A profound dialogue in thoughts and images about the beauty of the little things and saying goodbye.

Mission Ulja Funk
Germany / Luxemburg / Poland
by Barbara Kronenberg
with Romy Lou Janinhoff, Jonas Oeßel, Hildegard Schroedter, Luc Feit
*World premiere / Debut film

Ulja (12) is an energetic, clever researcher who is never at a loss for a good saying. She does not want to miss the arrival of the asteroid she discovered. With her parents’ hearse, her accomplice Henk of the same age as the driver and her Russian-German grandmother in the back, a fast-paced road movie towards Belarus starts – always following the stars.

Nelly Rapp – Monster Agent
Sweden
by Amanda Adolfsson
with Matilda Gross, Lily Wahlsteen, Marianne Mörck, Johan Rheborg
*International premiere

Nelly wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps, as a monster agent. When she visits her uncle Hannibal, the door opens up to a hidden parallel world full of ghosts, monsters and Frankensteiners. But who should actually be regarded as a monster and which side will Nelly decide to take as an agent? The film is based on the successful Swedish children’s book series by the author Martin Widmark.

Una escuela en Cerro Hueso (A School in Cerro Hueso)
Argentina
by Betania Cappato
with Mara Bestelli, Pablo Seijo, Clementina Folmer, Irene Zequin
*World premiere

After numerous rejections, Ema’s parents finally find a safe place for their daughter who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In the loving community of the new primary school in the small town on the river, Ema can silently observe and explore the world at her own pace. The film gently follows Ema’s small steps that evolve into magical moments.

Generation 14plus: Diving Into the Unknown

Cryptozoo
USA
by Dash Shaw
with Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Zoe Kazan, Louisa Krause, Angeliki Papoulia
*International premiere / Animation

In an opulent fantasy world, humans fight for the existence of threatened and threatening creatures. In the style of psychedelic underground comics, filmmaker and comic artist Dash Shaw has designed a wild trip in which marginalisation, social diversity, species protection and the power of the imagination all play a role.

Fighter
Republic of Korea
by Jéro Yun
with Lim Seong-mi, Baek Seo-bin, Oh Kwang-rok, Lee Seung-yeon
*International premiere

As a North Korean in exile, Jina has no choice but to literally box her way through. With gentle force, she begins to stubbornly rebel against the everyday injustices which she experiences as an outsider from a disreputable country. While she has become accustomed to harshness, feelings such as tenderness or security are new to her. Her personal struggle on the way to recognition goes far beyond the boxing ring.

From the Wild Sea
Denmark
by Robin Petré
*World premiere / Documentary form / Debut film

Weather conditions are becoming more extreme. A giant, stranded whale, seals with plastic in their bodies, oil-coated swans and dolphins that have been rammed by ships – these patients require emergency medical care. The director portrays the critical relationship between humans and wild animals and the consequences of climate change, in profound documental images which are more impactful than any explanation.

La Mif (The Fam)
Switzerland
by Fred Baillif
with Claudia Grob, Anaïs Uldry, Kassia Da Costa, Joyce Esther Ndayisenga, Charlie Areddy, Amélie Tonsi, Amandine Golay, Sara Tulu
*World premiere

Told episodically and bordering between the fictional and the documental, the film intimately interweaves the life stories of young women who no longer have a real home with their own families. They are given refuge in a temporary youth home, where they and their carers bond to form a new family. The Fam is a safe haven for wounded protagonists who do not spare themselves or others.

Ninjababy
Norway
by Yngvild Sve Flikke
with Kristine Kujath Thorp, Arthur Berning, Nader Khademi, Tora Dietrichson
*International premiere

A baby has lodged itself unnoticed in her stomach, and if there’s one thing that Rakel knows: She doesn’t want it. The life-hungry young woman has a blooming imagination and spends time illustrating her everyday life. Hence, the Ninjababy appears as a comic figure which accompanies Rakel through the madness that is called growing up.

Stop-Zemlia
Ukraine
by Kateryna Gornostai
with Maria Fedorchenko, Arsenii Markov, Yana Isaienko, Oleksandr Ivanov
*World premiere / Debut film

Hanging out with friends, smoking a lot, spinning bottles and kissing, making mistakes, playing, refusing to accept, dreaming with open eyes – life as a teenager can be overwhelmingly beautiful and difficult at the same time. In her debut, the Ukrainian director composes a deeply emotional and multi-layered portrait of a generation whilst seamlessly flowing between the fictional and the documental.

Tabija (The White Fortress)
Canada / Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Igor Drljača
with Pavle Čemerikić, Sumeja Dardagan, Jasmin Geljo, Kerim Čutuna
*World premiere

What could be a beautiful fairy tale for some – boy meets girl – could also be the beginning of a horror film for Faruk. The young man is crushed between the dark world of his criminal cousins in Sarajevo and the discovery of love. The film powerfully visualises and contrasts a harshness and tenderness experienced and dreamed.

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