Berlin film fest announces jury, Piaf biopic as opener

Actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Willem Dafoe, and director Paul Schrader have been named to this year's jury for the Berlin International Film Festival.

Actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Willem Dafoe, and director Paul Schrader have been named to this year's jury for the Berlin International Film Festival.

Schrader — the U.S. filmmaker known for American Gigolo and for collaborating with Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ — will lead the jury as its president, organizers announced Thursday.

Bernal, the young Mexican star of films such as Babel, Bad Education and The Motorcycle Diaries, is among the actors on the jury, joined by film and stage actor Dafoe, Palestinaian actress, screen writer and director Hiam Abbass (Munich, Paradise Now) and German star Mario Adorf (The Tin Drum, Lola).

Rounding out the seven-member panel are Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi, part of the team behind prize-winning crime thriller Infernal Affairs, and Danish film editor Molly Malene Stensgaard, known for her frequent collaborations with director Lars von Trier.

The jury will decide the winner of the festival's highest trophy, the Golden Bear.

"I wouldn't like to be in their shoes," festival director Dieter Kosslick said. "But if anyone can master this difficult task, then these seven [can]."

The festival previously revealed a partial list of the films in competition this year.

The six films announced to date are: The Good Shepherd, The Good German, Irina Palm, Goodbye Bafana, Yella and I Am A Cyborg But That's OK. Further titles are expected to be announced later this month.

Organizers alsointroduced on Thursday more than half of its Panorama program, which highlights more arthouse typefilms. This year will feature productions hailing from across Asia, Europe, Africa, and North and South America.

Movies directed by actors Antonio Banderas, Steve Buscemi, Julie Delphy and Mitchell Lichtenstein will join the latest from filmmakers such as Hal Hartley, E J-Yong, Hong Sangsoo and Thomas Arslan.

Festival officials have also announced that La Vie en Rose, a biopic about iconic French chanteuse Edith Piaf, will open this year's 57th annual event from Feb. 8-18.