Lone Scherfig's The Kindness of Strangers to open the Berlinale
by David González
- The new English-language title by the Danish director will open the 69th edition of the festival on 7 February
The 69th Berlin International Film Festival has announced its opening film. The world premiere of Lone Scherfig's latest film The Kindness of Strangers will open the event programme on 7 February, participating in the international competition.
The Kindness of Strangers (formerly known as Secrets of the Russian Tea Room – read the news) is a contemporary drama following a disparate ensemble of characters, all struggling to survive a New York City winter in their own way, who find laughter, love and kindness in each other. Starring Zoe Kazan, Tahar Rahim, Andrea Riseborough and Caleb Landry Jones, with Jay Baruchel and Bill Nighy, the English-language drama was written by Lone Scherfig herself, and was filmed in Toronto, Copenhagen and New York. The Kindness of Strangers is a production between Denmark (Creative Alliance) and Canada (Strada Films), with the participation of the Danish Film Institute and Telefilm Canada, Danmarks Radio, Ontario Creates, Copenhagen Film Fund, Swedish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Entertainment One and Ingenious Senior Film Fund/Apollo Media, in co-production with Sweden's Unlimited Stories, Germany's Nadcon and France's D'Artagnan, Film i Väst, WDR/ARTE Grand Accord and ARTE France Cinéma. The film is being sold worldwide by HanWay Films, backed by Ingenious Media and Apollo Media.
Scherfig is no stranger to the Berlinale. She presented The Birthday Trip in the Panorama section in 1990, and On Our Own in the Kinderfilmfest (now known as Generation) in 1998. Her breakthrough film was Italian For Beginners, a Dogme film which won the Jury Prize Silver Bear in 2001. Later on, she presented Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself [+see also:
film profile] as a Special Screening and An Education [+see also:
film profile] in the Berlinale Special section in 2009, before receiving three nominations for the Academy Awards. Her latest European productions, The Riot Club [+see also:
film profile] and Their Finest [+see also:
interview: Lone Scherfig
film profile], premiered at Toronto.
"Lone Scherfig's feel for characters, strong emotions and subtle humour promises a wonderful start to the festival," said Dieter Kosslick, for whom this 69th edition (7-17 February) will be his last as festival director.
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