World Premieres and Debut Features for LFS at the Berlinale

The Berlinale International Film Festival is one of the most important dates for the international film industry, set in the exciting, cosmopolitan cultural hub that is Berlin. The source of inspiration for many in the global film community and the destination for MA International Film Business course students such as Leonie Steeger, the forms of cooperation and the possibilities for creative interaction at the Berlinale are countless. A strong contingent of London Film School graduates, staff and students showcased their many talents at this year’s festival, held between the 9th and 19th February, with varied and distinct projects.


Photo Credit: Nick Cooke

BUTTERFLY KISSES, first screened on the 11th February, was directed by LFS Tutor Rafael Kapelinksi and follows Jake and his two best friends through a world distorted by sex and porn. Each struggles with their own demons, but Jake’s secret is one that he can’t even divulge to anyone. "The question of paedophilia is hidden away in a dark corner, a dirty spot on an otherwise polished floor, hidden under carpets of superficial righteousness. The line between freedom of speech and ideals of objective truth are quickly drawn,” states Rafael Kapelinski on the Film London website.  “BUTTERFLY KISSES is not about this line, it holds no stance except to portray the very real feelings of a teenage boy. The catch? He cannot under any circumstances reveal his feelings to anybody, not parent, doctor or friend.”

BUTTERFLY KISSES was made through Film London’s Microwave project and produced by Merlin Merton, who established Blue Shadows Films in 2013. “BUTTERFLY KISSES is a deliberately provocative subject which most filmmakers would not wish to address,” states Merton in the producer’s statement. “But testament to its success is both Greer (writer) - writing a raw, heartfelt story; and Rafael’s subtle and beautiful handling as director. He made it very personal to him, which was important for this type of story.”

Click here to watch the trailer for BUTTERFLY KISSES, which will be screening on the 11th, 13th and 16th February at various locations around Berlin.

Screendaily review: 'it’s a mark of the film’s class that it does it with a visual elegance that is well above par for low-budget UK estate realism. A striking feature debut for director Rafael Kapelinski, Butterfly Kisses, made through Film London’s Microwave project, features a strong young cast headed by Theo Stevenson, plus striking black-and-white camerawork from Nick Cooke.'

Guardian review: 'Kaplinski tells a fluent story; his film looks and sounds good, and he gets very good performances from his cast.'

Production company: Blue Shadows Films, Grump Films, Rocha World Films, Solopan

International sales: m-appeal/Raspberry & Cream,

Producers: Merlin Merton, Jacek Szumlas

Screenplay: Greer Taylor Ellison

Cinematography: Nick Cooke

Production design: Fleur Whitlock

Editor: Andrew Walton

Music: Nathan Klein

Main cast Theo Stevenson, Liam Whiting, Byron Lyons, Rosie Day, Thomas Turgoose



Photo Credit: Santiago Racaj

Accompanying BUTTERFLY KISSES at the Berlinale will be SUMMER 1993 (ESTIU 1993), another debut feature film, this time directed by 2014 graduate Carla Simón.  Screening in the festival’s Generation Kplus section, SUMMER 1993 follows six-year-old Frida after the death of her mother means the beginning of a whole new life. In the loving care of her uncle and his family far away from her home in Barcelona, she first has to get used to her new life in the countryside. Moments of childish mischievousness turn into thoughtful detachment. Despite the summery atmosphere, serious undertones underlie this precocious coming-of-age drama. 

Produced by Inicia Films and Avalon, the project was aided by fellow LFS alumni Mireia Grael (Line Producer) and Alvaro Gago (Editing Assistant) picked for the Berlinale Script Station where Simón also participated in the Talent Campus. It also won the SGAE screenwriting fund, as well as being part of the Low Budget Film Forum in Les Arcs (France), Erkan program in Poland, Sources 2 in Barcelona, Premiers Plans Atelier in France and winning the first prize in Holland Film Meetings.

You can still catch SUMMER 1993 until this Sunday 19th February 2017 at the Festival:



Directed by Jacqueline Lentzou, HIWA had its world premiere at the 67th Berlinale International Film Festival.  HIWA is a short film in which Jay wakes up from a nightmare in Manila, yet he dreamed of Athens, a place to which he has never been. In his dream, the topsy turvy world has the sun in Athens being so weak, you can look straight into it without getting blind and the meat market has become the local hospital.  

You can still watch the film in Berlin until this Saturday 18 February 2017:

Click here to watch the official trailer.

Moving forward, Lentzou has a lot of work ahead of her. "I am picked for Torino Film Lab with my feature debut project, so what's next is heavy, focused work. And a bit of travelling with my shorts, HIWA and FOX." 



Current LFS Screenwriting student Gonzalo Maza has joined the Berlinale for the second time in a row. This time with a screenplay for UNA MUJER FANTASTICA, Directed by Sebastián Lelio (2005 La Sagrada Familia 2009 Navidad 2011 El año del Tigre2012 Gloria 2017 Una mujer fantástica). 
The film portrays Marina and Orlando who are in love and plan to spend their lives together. She is working as a waitress and adores singing. Her lover, twenty years her senior, has left his family for her. One night, when they return home after having exuberantly celebrated Marina’s birthday at a restaurant, Orlando suddenly turns deathly pale and stops responding.
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Screenplay: Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza
Director of Photography: Benjamín Echazarreta
Editor: Soledad Salfate
Producers: Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín
Executive Producers: Rocío Jadue, Mariane Hartard, Ben von Dobeneck
Hollywood Reporter review: 'Shocking and enraging, funny and surreal, rapturous and restorative, this is a film of startling intensity and sinuous mood shifts wrapped in a rock-solid coherence of vision.':
Watch the trailer:


The Berlinale Talents, partnered with The British Council, is a networking platform for 250 outstanding from the field of film and drama series. The six-day programme (Feb 11-16) will include more than 100 events, with this year's theme being Courage: Against All Odds. Joining the ranks of the talented 250 creatives will be The London Film School’s Fateme Ahmadi, director of CHANDRA, selected from over 2700 applicants from 127 countries.