European Film Promotion (EFP) is delighted to announce the ten emerging European talents for the 27th edition of EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS. From 16 – 19 February 2024, seven actresses and three actors will be presented to the international press, industry, and public in an exclusive four-day programme during the 74th Berlinale (15 – 25 February 2024), with major support by Creative Europe – the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. One of the programme’s many highlights will be the European Shooting Stars Awards Ceremony on 19 February 2024 at the Berlinale Palast.
The 5-person international jury includes: Austrian director, screenwriter and producer Barbara Albert; Lithuanian producer Živilė Gallego; former Irish European Shooting Star Moe Dunford; British casting director Aisha Bywaters; and Greek Public Relations officer, senior writer and industry reporter at Cineuropa, Vassilis Economou. They have selected the ten exceptional talents, recognising their potential for an international career based on many factors, including their outstanding performance in the recent feature films and drama series which were submitted for their nomination (noted in bold in their bios below).
“We are thrilled to present such a diverse selection of talented up-and-coming actors and actresses hailing from diverse cultural backgrounds and professional experiences. Many thanks to the Jury for taking on the challenge to spot this year’s nominees, and for embracing their international potential. We would also like to thank the European national film promotion institutes and film centres – our members – for putting forth so many stellar nominees and giving us the opportunity to continue to discover Europe’s diverse array of emerging acting talent!”, says Tina Hajon, programme director of EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS.
Here are the European Shooting Stars 2024: Thibaud Dooms (Belgium), Margarita Stoykova (Bulgaria), Suzy Bemba (France), Salome Demuria (Georgia), Katharina Stark (Germany), Éanna Hardwicke (Ireland), Valentina Bellè (Italy), Džiugas Grinys (Lithuania), Kamila Urzędowska (Poland) and Asta Kamma August (Sweden). The quotes below are from the jury.
Thibaud Dooms from Belgium is a graduate of the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam and works in both theatre and film. The jury was impressed by his performance as Liam in Koen Motier’s feature filmSkunk: “His versatile and unique portrayal captures a character dealing with tragedy, blending sensitivity and intensity in a rare and captivating manner.”
Her first role in the feature film Dyad by Yana Titova earned the Bulgarian 18-year-old Margarita Stoykova accolades and awards, four alone at the Golden Rose Film Festival, including Best Film and the City of Varna Award for her performance. The jury lauds her nuanced work which “showcases her fearlessness as an actress.” The youngest talent in this year’s Shooting Stars line-up “portrays a multifaceted character exceptionally well. Initially appearing unsympathetic, her character gradually reveals layers of fragility.”
French actress Suzy Bemba initially studied to become a surgeon, but then discovered a deep passion for cinema. She has appeared in films and series such as L’Opera, created by Cécile Ducrocq and Benjamin Adam, Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos and Drift by Anthony Chen. Her performance in the nominated film Homecoming by Catherine Corsini, which premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival deeply touched the jury. “Bemba’s subtle acting style draws viewers into her character’s journey. She navigates the delicate nuances of her struggles, leaving a lasting impact with her stunning performance.”
Solome Demuria is a well-known actress in her home country of Georgia. She made her debut in 2012 with the Spanish-Georgian co-production Seagull. Solome was honoured as best actress at the Shanghai International Film Festival, the Almaty Independent Film Festival and the Minsk International Film Festival for her role in Dito Tsintsadze’s Inhale-Exhale. In the nominated film The Antique by Rusudan Glurjidze she won over the jury “with her subtle yet powerful portrayal. Solome expertly navigates the character’s emotional journey with a genuinely heartbreaking performance.”
German actress Katharina Stark is a graduate of the renowned Otto Falckenberg School in Munich. Throughout her studies, she appeared in numerous television shows, films (such as Anna Roller’s feature film Dead Girls Dancing) and plays, often on stage at the award-winning Theatre Münchner Kammerspiele. Katharina is currently starring as the Polish interpreter Eva Bruhns in the German Disney+ original mini-series The Interpreter of Silence, based on the novel by Annette Hess, directed by Isabel Prahl and Randa Chahoud. The jury is full of praise: “… Katharina executes an emotionally charged and demanding role with ease. Her character’s depth is conveyed through a performance that is both understated and compelling.”
Immediately after graduating from the The Lír Academy in Dublin, Irish actor Éanna Hardwicke plunged into the film world and starred alongside Jesse Eisenberg in the feature film Vivarium; with Seána Kerslake and Ayoola Smart in the TV series Smother; and with Isabel Huppert in Laurent Lariviere’s feature film Joan Verra.For his role as a Gaelic footballer in the nominated film Lakelands directed by Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney, the jury recognises Éanna’s “star quality” and lauds his performance which is “nothing short of gripping, skilfully revealing layers of sensitivity beneath a seemingly tough exterior.”
The Italian actress Valentina Bellè starred in two competition films at the Venice Festival this year: Michael Mann’s Ferrari and Lubo by Giorgio Diritti. She plays the leading role in the award-winning and highly acclaimed Disney + series The Good Mother, for which she won the Italian Nastro D’Argento award for supporting actress in 2023. The jury is impressed with her performance in which she “steals the spotlight as the audience follows her journey and roots for her throughout this tense drama.”
With his Theatre Art degree in hand, Lithuanian born Džiugas Grinys embarked on a wide-ranging stage career over a five-year period. He also proved his on-screen skills in supporting roles in films by Robertas Kuliūnas (As Gyvas, 2023), Algimantas Puipa (Cinephilia, 2021) and Kristijonas Vildžiūnas (Songs for a Fox, 2021). Džiugas successfully made the leap to the big screen with his first leading role in Southern Chronicles. As the jury declares: “In this heartfelt performance Džiugas showcases a promising future in the world of cinema.”
Polish actress Kamila Urzędowska played her first leading role in the Canal + series Zmijowisko by Lukasz Palkowski. For her performance in the Polish Academy Award entry as Best International Feature Film, The Peasants by DK Welchmann and Hugh Welchmann, she was honoured with the Crystal Star Elle and the Chopard Loves Cinema Acting Debut Award at the 48th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. The jury is deeply impressed by her performance “that is nothing short of revelatory. Kamila is a versatile talent, bringing this character to life with her innocence and tenacity.”
Graduating from The Danish National School of Performing Arts in 2017, Swedish actress Asta Kamma August swiftly gained recognition for her performances in a variety of cinematic and television productions. Her recent projects include leading roles in Kalak helmed by Isabella Eklöf which premiered and won two awards at San Sebastian Film Festival and The Hypnosis, directed by Ernst de Geer which premiered at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2023. In this nominated film the jury is thrilled by “her enigmatic portrayal of a woman on the verge of a crisis which makes for a thrilling journey. You never know what she will do next.”
With a four-day intensive bespoke programme, Actors Industry Network, EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS provides an international networking platform for the selected talent to meet journalists, casting directors, producers and filmmakers in Berlin. It offers a unique opportunity to create the professional network needed for the actors to embark on an international career. The programme culminates in a glamourous awards ceremony at the Berlinale Palast on Monday 19 February, where each actress and actor will be honored with the European Shooting Stars Award.
Throughout its 27 years, EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS has been an important stepping-stone for the selected talent’s international careers – notable Shooting Stars over the years include: Matilda de Angelis (Across the River and Into the Trees, Atlas, The Undoing), Bill Skarsgård (Boy Kills World, It, It Chapter 2), Carey Mulligan (Maestro, She Said, The Dig, Promising Young Woman, The Great Gatsby), Alba Rohrwacher (La chimera, Happy as Lazzaro), Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander (Firebrand, Beckett, Tomb Raider), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Riz Ahmed (Fingernails, Encounter, Sound of Metal, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Mogul Mowgli), George MacKay (The Beast, Munich – The Edge of War, 1917), Daniel Brühl (All Quiet on the Western Front), Louis Hofmann (The Forger) and Leonie Benesch (The Teachers‘ Lounge).
EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS is made possible thanks to the support of Creative Europe – the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media, the Berlin International Film Festival, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and Spotlight, as well as the national film promotion institutes and film centres from the Shooting Stars’ home countries (EFP’s member organisations): With special thanks to German Films, Bulgarian National Film Center, Cinecittà (Italy), Flanders Image, Georgian National Film Center, Lithuanian Film Centre, Polish Film Institute, Unifrance, Screen Ireland / Fís Éireann and Swedish Film Institute. The programme’s industry partner is the International Casting Directors Association (ICDA). EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS’ main media partner is Variety, with additional media partners: Screen International, Cineuropa, Blickpunkt:Film, HeyUGuys and Festival Scope.
For more information on the EUROPEAN SHOOTING STARS 2024 please click here