'Moja Vesna'.

Sara Kern’s debut feature Moja Vesna will make its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, screening in the youth-focused Generation program.

The Slovenian-Australian co-production follows follows ten-year-old Mona living in suburban Melbourne. After the sudden death of her mother, she becomes the unexpected grown-up of her immigrant family, seeking to reconcile her troubled, pregnant older sister, Vesna, and disconsolate father, Milos.

Written and directed by Kern, Moja Vesna is produced by Gal Greenspan and Sharlene George of Sweetshop & Green and Rok Biček of Cvinger Film.

Loti Kovacic, a non-professional actor cast via a grassroots call out, plays Mona, starring alongside Mackenzie Mazur as Vesna and Slovenian actor Gregor Baković as Milos, in addition to Flora Feldman and Claudia Karvan.

According to the festival, Kern’s film “tells of a childlike process of grief and closure which does not shut its eyes to the cracks in the world, but also admires the light that shimmers through them.”

Moja Vesna received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with the Slovenian Film Centre, with further financial support from Film Victoria and the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund, Radio Television Slovenia (RTV SLO) and The Government’s Office for Slovenians Abroad. 

Kern said: “I’m so happy that our film has been selected for Berlinale. I am incredibly thankful to the talented cast and crew who worked on the project. Thank you to Berlinale for inviting the film to have its world premiere with the festival.”

Adding to the Australian presence at Berlin this year is Tig Terera’sTinashé, which will screen as part of Generation 14Plus Shorts.

Tinashé Trailer from Tig Terera on Vimeo.

Starring Negassa Sarka, Raji Olana and Trinna Talasaia and produced by Lilah Benetti, Tinashé follows a sweet but lost teenager who gets kicked out of home and moves in with his best friend, all while attempting to navigate love and adulthood.

The festival marks the short’s international debut, having previously screened at Sydney Film Festival.

“The team and I are shocked and thrilled to be a part of Berlinale… such a brilliant festival,” Terera tells IF.

“It’s truly beautiful that our film has got this recognition and will play a part of enriching black culture.” 

Director Sophie Hyde’s Jimpa, produced via her company Closer Productions, has also been selected for the Berlinale Co-Production Market, which which seeks to link projects with international partners. This year, the market will hold meetings, talks and networking events online.

In addition to Moja Vesna, Sweetshop and Green’s New Zealand short film Datsun has also been selected for Generation Kplus Shorts.

Directed by Mark Albiston, and produced Sharlene George, Gal Greenspan and Andy Mauger, the film tells the story of 14-year-old Matt as he takes his dad’s yellow Datsun for one last wild joyride with his best buddy and kid brother in tow.

Albiston said: “I’m very honoured, I love the Berlinale generation competition; this will be my third film to have shown there now. I love the audiences and film culture in Berlin and couldn’t think of a better way to internationally premiere Datsun. This is the biggest thanks we could give our amazing team.”

Films will be presented at the Berlin International Film Festival February 10 – 16, followed by the “Publikumstag”, or repeat screenings, until February 20. The European Film Market (EFM), Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and World Cinema Fund are to be held digitally this year due to COVID-19.

Feature-length films

Generation Kplus

Moja Vesna
Slovenia / Australia
by Sara Kern
with Loti Kovačič, Mackenzie Mazur, Gregor Bakovič, Claudia Karvan
World premiere / debut film

While the older sister throws out her feelings in poetry slams, the 10-year-old Moja attempts in her own way to hold things together and repair the hole that her mother’s death has torn in her family. Sara Kern tells of a childlike process of grief and closure which does not shut its eyes to the cracks in the world, but also admires the light that shimmers through them.

Short Films

Generation Kplus

Datsun
New Zealand
by Mark Albiston
with Mickey Reddish, Billy R. McCarthy, Tate Harrow, Ashley Harnett
International premiere

One last tour with his late father’s Datsun – the car is due to be sold tomorrow. With a friend and little brother in the back seat, 14-year-old Matt goes to a party. The sudden appearance of the police, however, acts like an incendiary device to his charged mood. Mark Albiston, already a guest at Generation several times, is once again a master of youthful escalation.

Generation 14plus

Tinashé
Australia
by Tig Terera
with Negassa Sarka, Raji Olana, Trinna Talasaia
International Premiere

Thrown out of his home by his own mother, the smart title hero moves in with his best friend. With a captivating soundtrack and stylish images, Tinashé tells the universal story of the transition to adult life, the search for identity and escapades, first love and real friendship – and it is also a respectful portrait of a young Australian from an ancient culture.

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