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BERLIN: The top prizes at the 68 Berlin International Film Festival’s Main Competition went to female directors from Romania and Poland with Adina Pintilie’s Touch Me Not winning the Golden Bear for Best Film and Małgorzata Szumowska’s Mug winning the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize. Touch Me Not is a Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France coproduction, so champagne was being opened all over the region on the night of the awards ceremony. Pintilie’s Touch Me Not also scored numerous other awards and prizes. The festival held 15-25 February 2018 held its main awards ceremony on 24 February.

BERLIN: Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik, who spent 12 successful years at the Polish Film Institute as head of the International and Production Departments, has launched a new sales and promotion company IKH Pictures Promotion to promote and sell Polish films worldwide. The new venture is the first sales agent devoted to Polish films only. In addition she will also work as a PR consultant and publicist for Polish films.

BERLIN: The film centres of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have signed an agreement with Locarno International Film Festival that will see six Baltic producers participate in the festival’s international Match Me! programme.

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Keep on Making and Watching Film in 2018!

TBILISI: The main prize of the International Competition of the 18th Tbilisi Film Festival went to the Swedish film Ravens directed by Jens Assur. The top prize in the National competition went to the Georgian/Estonian coproduction Scary Mother directed by Ana Urushadze.

VENICE: Director Paul Schrader joins a group of films in this year’s Venice Main Competition that are concerned with the destruction of our planet’s environment via greed and over-exploitation with his latest film First Reformed. Maybe they are trying to tell us something.

VENICE: Director Darren Aronofsky returns to the Lido with mother! in the main competition a film which he describes as having “poured out of him as a fevered dream.” The description is indeed apt and his vision has left both critics and Venice audiences a bit baffled as to what it all means, that is if it means anything at all.

VENICE: Actor Matt Damon might be in danger of over-exposure if such a thing were possible in today’s Hollywood.  The very much “in demand” actor appears as a leading character in two films screening in the main competition in Venice this year Alexander Payne’s Downsizing and George Clooney’s Suburbicom.

VENICE: The honourary Italian from Lake Como George Clooney is back on the Lido with a quirky film called Suburbicon with a script by the Coen brothers that he has amended to make it his own.

VENICE: Director Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a much needed antidote to cynicism in an increasingly cynical world.  This may just be Del Toro’s best film in a decade with nothing compares to it since his 2006 Pan’s Labyrinth.