Breakout talents among festival favorites Saint-Omer and Tori and Lokitanew faces of Netflix hits The reading list and Babylon Berlinand arthouse feature film discoveries from across Europe are among the top 10 talents selected to be European Shooting Stars 2023.
The annual list of promising actors from across Europe – which has proven a reliable talent scout over the years – was unveiled on Wednesday by European Film Promotion, which organizes the selection.
The eight women and two men selected by the Shooting Star jury will attend the Berlin International Film Festival in February, where they will be introduced to the international industry and meet talent agents, directors and producers.
Previous European Shooting Stars have included Michaela Coel (2018), Luca Marinelli (2013), Riz Ahmed (2012), Alica Vikander (2011), Daniel Brühl (2003), Ruth Negga (2006) and Matthias Schoenaerts (2003).
Here is a short introduction to next year’s class:
Gizem Erdogan (Sweden)
Erdogan caught the eye of European directors and casting agents after his supporting performance in Ronnie Sandahl’s 2014 feature film Underdog. His 2017 follow-up, beyond dreams earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Guldbaggen Awards, Swedish Film Academy awards. But his real escape came with the SVT drama Caliphate, where she plays Pervin, a Swede who travels with her husband to Syria to join ISIS. Her performance earned her a Best Actress Kristallen – Sweden’s equivalent of the Emmys – and, after Caliphate was picked up by Netflix worldwide, international recognition. Erdogan has since become a streamer regular, starring in romantic comedy-drama Love and Anarchy, and going blonde to play a lawyer in The reading listabout the creation of Spotify.
Leonie Benesch (Germany)
Her turn as Dead-Eyed Girl Eva in Michael Haneke’s 2009 Palme d’Or The white ribbon was Leonine Benesch’s escape, but the German actress won a wider audience with her role as Greta, the naive maid caught up in a Nazi plot in a hit German series Babylon Berlin. Benesch followed that up with a starring role alongside David Tennant in the Deadline/PBS remake of Around the world in 80 daysin which she showed her perfect British accent, as well as supporting roles in Netflix The crown, play Princess Cecile, and in AMC+’s spy town. But she hasn’t neglected the big screen. Benesch appeared in Vadim Perelman’s Persian Lessons, a 2020 Berlin Film Festival entry, and stars in Ilker Çatak’s upcoming drama The Teachers’ Longue.
Yannick Jozefzoon (Netherlands)
A familiar face on Dutch screens big and small, Yannick Jozefzoon was named Best Actor at the Dutch Academy’s Golden Calf Awards for Television — for his 2018 performance in Tom Eagle as a telemarketer in identity crisis — and film, with 2022 femi, where he plays a once violent college student trying to make amends with his heavily pregnant ex-girlfriend. Jozefzoon continues to balance film and TV, with roles in hit Dutch series Vice from Amsterdam and silver wolvesas well as feature films in Dana Nechushtan piece of my heartwhich premiered at the Tallinn Film Festival last month, as well as Dan Geesin’s recently released Dutch sci-fi film Sputum.
Kayije Kagame (Switzerland)
Swiss-born Kayije Kagame has been active as an artist, director and performer of theater productions and art installations for some time now – she is currently on tour with her latest work, Inner Life / Inner Nightco-directed with Hugo Radi – but moviegoers first discovered her in the role of Rama, the journalist who reports on the infanticide case in Alice Diop’s film Saint Omer. Kagame’s big screen his debut caused a sensation. Saint-Omer won the Silver Lion won the Grand Jury Prize on the Lido and is France’s official entry for the 2023 Best International Feature Film Oscar. The French academy has officially named Kagame as one of the “ revelations” of 2023 in this year’s César nominations.
Thorvaldur Kristjansson (Iceland)
Thorvaldur Kristjansson’s back-to-back performances in Óskar Thór Axelsson’s crime thriller black game (2012) and Baldvin Zophoníasson’s drama Life in a fishbowl (2014), earned the Icelandic actor a reputation for the range and intensity of his performances, and secured him a supporting role in Gary Shore’s horror actor Unspeakable Dracula (2014) alongside Luke Evans and Sarah Gadon. Since then, Kristjansson has had a starring role in the local blockbuster I remember you and entry to the Toronto Film Festival The Swan (both 2017) and won an Icelandic Oscar, an Eddie, for his supporting role in a hit political drama series The Minister. In his final performance, in Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir’s “A Letter from Helga,” Kristjansson plays a burly farmer in 1940s Iceland who begins an illicit affair with a budding local poet.
Kristine Kujath Thorp (Norway)
A festival breakthrough last year with the winner of the SXSW Audience Award baby ninja —in which she plays a party-girl cartoonist and a reluctant mother-to-be engaged in a foul-mouthed argument with her unborn offspring—Kristine Kujath Thorp has switched gears, playing a no-frills submarine expert in John Andreas Andersen’s disaster thriller The burning sea. The former earned her an Amanda, the Norwegian Film Academy Award, for Best Actress. The second earned her a Best Actress nomination, only losing to Renate Reinsve for the Oscar-nominated indie hit. The worst person in the world.
Thorp wowed Cannes audiences in black comedy sick of meplaying the less successful half of an artistic couple who are determined to upstage their partner, no matter what.
Joely Mbundu (Belgium)
A real find, Belgian actress Joely Mbundu made her acting debut as the eponymous Lokita in the Dardenne brothers’ 2022 Cannes competition film Tori and Lokita, playing the teenage sister who traveled alone with her younger brother from Africa to Europe and struggles to survive together. The film won a special 75e anniversary award from the Dardennes and puts Mbundu at the top of the list of all casting agents in Europe.
Benedetta Porcaroli (Italy)
Italian actress Benedetta Porcaroli made her television debut in the popular RAI series Everything can happenan NBC remakeparentingbut he played the rebellious girl in Paolo Genovese’s 2016 hit comedy Complete strangers who makes its name. Porcaroli followed the Netflix series Babe, which sparked international controversy for its depiction of underage sex workers, but no one could fault its performance. She landed a supporting actress nomination from David di Donatello for 18 giftsa Sky/Netflix film and won acclaim for her roles in Stefano Mordini The catholic schoolan entry to the Venice Film Festival 2021 and that of Francesca Archibugi The Hummingbird, which premiered in Toronto and opened the Rome Film Festival this year. And she dazzled in the eponymous lead role in Carolina Cavalli’s 2022 Venice Film Festival entry Amandaas a loner in his twenties who tries to convince his childhood companion that they are still best friends.
Judith State (Romania)
Trained as a professional ballet dancer, Judith State transitioned to acting after being cast in Cristi Puiu’s competition at Cannes in 2016. Sierra Nevada. Puiu reprized her in his period drama Manor House (2020), a Berlin festival entry, and she played the lead role in Marius Olteanu’s directorial debut, Monsters, another Berlin title, and RMN by Cristian Mungiu, in Cannes competition this year. But State hasn’t lost her moves, nor her love of dancing. She did the choreography for Iosif Demian’s 2021 drama night patroland then appears in Zenitha dance feature film by Hungarian director Gyuri Kristoff.
Alina Tomnikov (Finland)
In Finnish TV drama donna, Alina Tomnikov plays a blind woman forced back into the dating scene after her husband of 8 years leaves her for a work colleague. The role got Tomnikov noticed and led to several high-profile TV shoots, including in the Sky Original series. Funeral for a dogby Marja Pyykko Heaven and the Netflix crime drama dead wind. On the big screen, Tomnikov’s next performance will be in Pamela Tola’s upcoming comedy-drama The worst idea everwhich will be released in early 2023.
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