Berlin Film Fest To Open With New Movie From Lone Scherfig

BERLIN (AP) — The first of the year's major European film festivals got underway in Berlin on Thursday with a strong contingent of movies from female directors, which jury president Juliette Binoche greeted as "a good step forward."

The 69th Berlin International Film Festival was starting with Danish director Lone Scherfig's "The Kindness of Strangers," which follows an ensemble of characters through a New York City winter. It is the first of 17 contenders for the event's top Golden Bear award, whose winner will be announced Feb. 16.

The honors will be awarded by a six-member jury under French actress Binoche, who noted that there are seven films by women directors this year.

"I think that's a good step forward, and 10 years ago it was not like that," Binoche told reporters. "So I think we're opening hearts, minds and eventually bodies."

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