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Culture

Berlin Today Award: And the winner is...

The Berlin Film Festival's Talent Campus celebrated its first Awards Night on Wednesday in the Kulturbrauerei, a popular venue for cultural events and a former brewery.

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Myrna Maakaron in "BerlinBeirut"

More than 1,200 participants thronged the Kesselhaus, which once served as a boiler room, as Michael Verhoeven announced the winner of the first Berlin Today Award: Myrna Maakaron. In her film essay "BerlinBeirut", the Lebanese filmmaker shows the common and contrasting features of the two cities.

As director and author, Maakaron uses parallel montage techniques to make the locations of her film appear to melt together. As she embarks by bicycle on her voyage of discovery, Berlin and Beirut -- two six-letter words, two cities with a common past -- blend into one city. Both were destroyed in wars, divided into east and west, and rebuilt. This is a thought-provoking, but humorous homage to two cities and to Myrna Maakaron's old and new home countries.

This year's jury, producer Maria Köpf and directors Hans-Christian Schmid and Michael Verhoeven, are also hosts for next year's candidates. After taking part in the Berlinale Talent Campus, the promising young film talents have until April 2004 to hand in a concept for a short film relating to Berlin.

A jury will select three projects from among the applications. The Berlin-Brandenburg film industry, a Berlin production firm and up to €70,000 in funding will help the young filmmakers realize their projects in the course of the year. The second Berlin Today Award will be conferred in February 2005.

DW-TV is a media partner of the Berlin Today Award.

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