Aisling Franciosi named as European Shooting Star

Irish-Italian actress branded 'one to watch'

by Amber Wilkinson

Aisling Franciosi
Aisling Franciosi Photo: Barry McCall
Irish-Italian actress Aisling Franciosi has been named as one of the 10 European Shooting Stars who will be celebrated at Berlin Film Festival next February. The award, which is in its 22nd year, aims to give a platform to the most talented, up-and-coming stars from across the continent.

Franciosi, 25, has appeared in a number of television series, including playing Leanna Stark in Game Of Thrones and Kate Crawford in Legends. She took on her first major film role this year in Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale, which saw the Shooting Stars jury praise her for her “great acting range and superb instincts”.

Previous UK and Irish recipients of the award include Michaela Coel, Carey Mulligan, Domhnall Gleeson, Kate Dickie and Daniel Craig, along with international stars including Alicia Vikander and Matthias Schoenaerts.

The members of the 2019 jury are: US casting director Avy Kaufman, Serbian film critic Tara Karajica, Macedonian director Teona Strugar Mitevska, producer Macdara Kelleher, from Ireland, and Icelandic Shooting Star from 1999, Ingvar Sigurdsson.

The other shooting stars this year are below, along with the jury comment:

Elliott Crossett Hove (Denmark)

Selected films
Winter Brothers by Hlynur Pálmason
Wildland by Jeanette Nordahl
The Purity of Vengeance by Christoffer Boe

Jury's comment: "Elliott Crossett Hove possesses incredible charisma, understands the natural rhythm of a scene and becomes one not only with his character but also his co-stars. The jury was blown away by his strong presence, deep intuition, effortlessness, responsiveness and raw ability to shift from transparent vulnerability to intimidation, but most importantly, by his clear sense of what it means to be in the moment."

Rea Lest-Liik (Estonia)

Selected films
November by Rainer Sarnet
The Manslayer/The Virgin/The Shadow by Sulev Keedus
Mother by Kadri Kõusaar

Jury's comment: "Who said you cannot act with your toe? Rea Lest-Liik can most certainly do that! She possesses the incredible skill to control her body in every sense: her movements draw you in, while her face becomes the playground for every imaginable expression. Rea Lest-Liik's beguiling ability to fill the frame with sheer fierceness, forcefulness and passion impressed the jury."

Emma Drogunova (Germany)

Selected films
The Tobacconist by Nikolaus Leytner
Blind Spot by Stephan Lacant
A Jar Full of Life by Florian Ross

Jury's comment: "With an impulsive and fiery screen personality, Emma Drogunova owns each one of her acting choices and is able to show seduction, cruelty, provocation and danger all at once in her multi-layered performances. She is an energetic, captivating, multifaceted and vibrant discovery with an impressive acting range, that also conveys a wonderful warmth and love for life last seen in The Tobacconist."

Kristín Thora Haraldsdóttir (Iceland)

Selected films
And Breathe Normally by Ísold Uggadóttir
Let Me Fall by Baldvin Z
Prisoners by Ragnar Bragason

Jury's comment: "Kristín Thora Haraldsdóttir shows a very deep insight and understanding of her roles. Invariably compelling and always portraying challenging characters, she possesses the subtle and keen aptitude to push the boundaries of viewers' experience therefore earning our utmost trust and attention. This is truly a remarkable quality not to be missed in an actress."

Aisling Franciosi (Ireland)

Selected films and TV-Series
The Nightingale by Jennifer Kent
Jimmy's Hall by Ken Loach
The Fall by Allan Cubitt, Jakob Verbruggen

Jury's comment: "Aisling Franciosi forms a powerful symbiosis with her character in Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale, thus revealing great acting range and superb instincts, as well as profound sensitivity and intelligence in the way she interprets a scene. Her physical transformation is exceptional, morphing spectacularly into Joan of Arc from a young and fragile woman, all the while masterfully and carefully controlling her performance."

Blagoj Veselinov (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

Selected films
Secret Ingredient by Gjorce Stavreski
Shoes by Branko Kosteski
The Liberation of Skopje by Rade and Danilo Sherbedzija

Jury's comment: "Blagoj Veselinov has utterly impressed the jury with his performance in Gjorce Stavreski's Secret Ingredient, which is imbued with deep and unexpected sensitivity. Veselinov's turn here is cleverly and commandingly toned down and subtle, showing his heartfelt bond with his character. We look forward to seeing what he does next!"

Ine Marie Wilmann (Norway)

Selected films
Sonja - The White Swan by Anne Sewitsky
Homesick by Anne Sewitsky

Jury's comment: "Ine Maria Wilman blew the jury away with the physicality of her performance as iconic ice-skater Sonja Henie in Anne Sewitsky's Sonja: The White Swan, where she skilfully combines (inner) strength, subtlety and profundity. Wilmann is a magnetic leading lady."

Dawid Ogrodnik (Poland)

Selected films Silent Night by Piotr Domalewski
The Last Family by Jan P. Matuszynski
Life Feels Good by Maciej Pieprzyca

Jury's comment: "An extremely versatile and dedicated actor, Dawid Ogrodnik has won the jury over with his sensitive face that records many a deep emotion in each one of his performances. A fresh talent, who we feel lives and breathes his characters to get into a role, he is a young acting force to be reckoned with. His raw talent is enthralling to watch."

Milan Marić (Serbia)

Selected films
Dovlatov by Alexei German Jr
Humidity by Nikola Ljuca
A Good Wife by Mirjana Karanovic

Jury's comment: "Authenticity, dedication and a clear attitude towards the role he is playing not only define Milan Marić as an actor but also mark his performances. In Alexei German Jr's Dovlatov, he is gloomily charismatic, brooding and affecting. His highly nuanced acting sensibility in which he carefully chooses the means through which he will convey the film's subject makes him a talent to watch."

Ardalan Esmaili (Sweden)

Selected films
The Charmer by Milad Alami
The Girl, the Mother And The Demons by Suzanne Osten
Beck - The Last Day by Jörgen Bergmark

Jury's comment: "With a leading man quality showing tremendous honesty in all his performances, Ardalan Esmaili climbs out of the expected and surprises us. In Milad Alami's The Charmer, Esmaili instills his character with a tormented fragility and delivers a quietly twitchy, brilliant code-switching performance that retains the audience's sympathy."

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