Berlin International Film Festival: Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir joins international jury

The 'Wajib' filmmaker will join jury president Jeremy Irons at the festival, which kicks off later this month

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Film director Anne Marie Jacir at Sorbonne University, Reem Island on December 10, 2018. Khushnum Bhandari for The National
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Ahead of its launch later this month, the Berlin International Film Festival has lifted the screen on the stars making up its international jury this year.

For the annual Berlinale, now in its 70th year, Palestinian filmmaker and writer Annemarie Jacir will serve on the judging panel for the festival's competition line-up.

Heading up the international jury is Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons, who will be joined at the German event by The Artist actress Berenice Bejo, Italy's Don't be Bad actor Luca Marinelli and Brazilian film critic and director Kleber Mendonca Filho. German producer Bettina Brokemper and American playwright and director Kenneth Lonergan, who has worked on films including Manchester by the Sea and Gangs of New York, round out the jury.

Jacir, who is behind 2017's highly ­acclaimed comedy Wajib, will form part of the panel that will award prizes such as the prestigious Golden and the Silver Bears. A total of 18 films will run in competition at the Berlinale, including The Roads Not Taken by Sally Potter, starring Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning and Salma Hayek, all of whom are expected to be in the German city for the festival.

Jacir, who won a armful of awards for her father-and-son road trip film Wajib, including Best Film and Best Screenplay at the now-defunct Dubai International Film Festival, is no stranger to festival panels. The Bethlehem-born filmmaker also served on the Un Certain Regard jury committee at Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

Egyptian director and producer Hala Lotfy, meanwhile, will sit on the jury for the Best First Feature Award, alongside Serbia's Ognjen Glavonic and Spain's Gonzalo de Pedro Amatria, while Turkish curator Fatma Colakoglu will help award the International Short Film prize, together with Hungarian filmmaker Reka Bucsi and Lesotho-born filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese.

Additionally, Chilean filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor, German director Eva Trobisch and Japanese producer Shizo Ichiyama will award three prizes as part of the Encounters competition: Best Film, Best Director and a Special Jury Award.

The Berlinale will run from Thursday, February 20 to Sunday, March 1, and this year marks the first festival under the leadership of artistic director Carlo Chatrian and executive director Mariette Rissenbeek.

As part of the 2020 programme,the event will host the world premiere of Pixar's Onward, an animated film that tells the story of two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary journey to discover if there is still magic in the world.

One of the biggest films coming out of Germany is acclaimed director Burhan Qurbani's Berlin Alexanderplatz, an adaptation of the classic 1929 novel by Alfred Doblin. Siberia by Abel Ferrara, which stars Oscar-nominated actor Willem Dafoe, is an exploration into the language of dreams. Another anticipated film is There is No Evil by award-winning Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof. Rasoulof's credits include the 2017 Cannes Un Certain Regard winner A Man of Integrity.