Lupita Nyong’o named jury president of Berlinale

Kenyan actor, filmmaker and bestselling author Lupita Nyong’o will head the jury at the 2024 Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), which begins on 15 February.

“We are excited to announce the president of the International Jury at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival: Lupita Nyong’o!” the Berlinale management announced on Monday.

“Lupita Nyong’o embodies what we appreciate in cinema: versatility in embracing different projects, addressing different audiences, and consistency to one idea that is quite recognizable in her characters, as diverse as they may look. We are happy and proud that she has accepted our invitation to be the jury president of the 74th Berlinale,” say Berlinale directors Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.

The 40-year-old actor, director, producer and New York Times bestselling author celebrated her breakthrough in 2014 when she received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “12 Years a Slave” by Steve McQueen.

In addition to her film career, Lupita Nyong’o is also active on the Broadway stage and wrote the children’s book “Sulwe” in 2020, which was on the New York Times Best Sellers list. She is currently preparing a podcast focusing on non-fictional storytelling from the African diaspora, and she is developing a series based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah.”

The Kenyan Hollywood superstar was recently the executive producer of the Sudanese film “Goodbye Julia,” which was selected by the Sudanese National Committee operating in exile to compete for the Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.

“I am deeply honoured to have been appointed President of the International Jury of the Berlin International Film Festival. I look forward to celebrating and recognising the outstanding work of filmmakers from around the world,” said Nyong’o.

The daughter of Kenyan parents, Lupita Nyong’o was born in Mexico City and grew up in Kenya. She studied film and theatre studies at Hampshire College (USA) and initially worked on various film productions in the USA. Back in Kenya, she produced her first film “In my Genes” in 2009, which she also directed and wrote.

After further studies at the Yale School of Drama, Lupita Nyong’o began her acting career and celebrated her breakthrough with “12 Years a Slave”. In addition to the Oscar, she received the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Critics’ Choice Award, the Independent Spirit Award and the NAACP Image Award.

In recent years, Lupita Nyong’o has appeared in the Marvel films “Black Panther”, “Wakanda Forever” and in the cinema hits “We”, “Little Monsters” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, among others.

The most important awards at the Berlinale are the Golden Bear and the Silver Bears. They are presented by the International Jury to films in the Competition and belong to the most renowned awards in the international film industry.

The Berlinale is one of the biggest international film festivals alongside the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. Up to 400 films are shown every year, mostly international or European premieres, and the festival, the world’s second largest audiovisual event, sells more than 300,000 tickets and hosts more than 20,000 professional visitors from 128 countries.

Vivian Asamoah

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