Each year it is a pleasure to introduce the ten actors who make up the European Film Promotion‘s Shooting Stars, and this year is no different. The initiative, to celebrate and promote the best in European acting talent, is dear to the heart of HeyUGuys, and we’ll be continuing our partnership this year with in-depth interviews with each of the 2021 cohort.
This year will, as expected, be slightly different from previous years. The ten emerging actors will be presented as part of a three-day online programme, a week before the 71st Berlinale commences. The digital event, held on the 23rd to the 25th of February, will be an online experience where we’ll be able to sit down and learn a little more about what makes these ten people the ones to watch.
Each of the actors were chosen by a carefully selected jury from a list of nominations and selected for their compelling work so far in their careers. Previous Shooting Stars include Alicia Vikander, Maisie Williams, Carey Mulligan, George MacKay, Michaela Coel, Ella Rumpf, Alba August and many more. It’s a genuine privilege to be able to speak with these actors at the start of their careers, and it will be exciting to see where the 2021 initiates will go.
Join us back here on HeyUGuys in February for our exclusive interviews with the 2021 Shooting Stars. In the meantime, here are the ten actors from whom we all expect great things.
Seidi Haarla / Finland
Seidi Haarla was born in Kirkkonummi, Finlandand now lives in Turku on the country’s southwest coast. Her acting career started in 2004 with performances on stage at the Helsinki Student Theater. Herformal trainingin acting begun in 2005 with one semester at the Russian State Theater Academy in Saint Petersburg. She completed a Master of Arts (Theatre and Drama) in 2015at the Art University of Helsinki.In 2018, she starred in LOVE&ORDER, which won Finland’s Best TV Series Award. She played the leading role in the omnibus film, FORCE OF HABIT (2019), which was nominated for the Finnish Academy Awards (Jussi Awards) as Best Finnish Film. Most recently, she was cast as the lead in COMPARTMENT NO 6 by Juho Kuosmanen, whose previous film, THE HAPPIEST DAY IN THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI premiered at and won the selection’s main awardin Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.COMPARTEMENT NO 6 is in post-production and will premiere in 2021. Seidi has also co-written and acted in the critically acclaimed autofictive theater plays THE TRAUMA BODY (2014) and NEW CHILDHOOD (2020).
Nicolas Maury / France
Born and raised in a small town in Limousin, Nicolas Maury trained at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art in Paris. Since then, he has successfully built his acting career with extensive roles on both stage and screen. In the theater, he has worked with renowned directors such as Daniel Mesguich, Robert Cantarella, Florence Giorgetti and Catherine Hiegel. On the film side, he is a devotee of auteur cinemaand has been cast in roles by acclaimed directors such as Patrice Chéreau (THOSE WHO LOVE ME WILL TAKE THE TRAIN), Philippe Garrel (EVERYDAY LOVERS and A BURNING HOT SUMMER), Olivier Assayas (PARIS JE T’AIME), Rebecca Zlotowski (DEAR PRUDENCE and PLANETARIUM), Valéria Bruni Tedeschi (A CASTLE IN ITALY), Riad Sattouf (THE FRENCH KISSERS and JACKY AU ROYAUME DES FILLES). His leading role in Mikael Buch’s burlesque comedy, LET MY PEOPLE GO!,earned him a César nomination as Most Promising Actor in 2011. His audience breakthough came with his role in Hervé André-Jezak’s series CALL MY AGENT in 2015. He was cast in two films by Yann Gonzalez – YOU AND THE NIGHT (2013) and KNIFE+HEART (2018) – both of which were subsequently selected to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, and in Pascal Bonitzer’s LES AMIS DE AMIS in 2019. In 2020, he directed his first feature film, MY BEST PART. He also takes on acting duties in a leading role in the film, alongside Nathalie Baye, Jean-Marc Barr and Laurent Capelluto.
Albrecht Schuch / Germany
Albrecht Schuch, born in Jena, Germany, attended the University of Music and Theatre ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’ from 2006 to 2010. From this point on, his career took off as he was quickly cast inthe lead role as Alexander von Humboldt in the film adaptation of the bestseller, MEASURING THE WORLD. Soon after, he landed an enviable role in the first part of the NSU trilogy, DIE TÄTER – HEUTE IST NICHT ALLE TAGE, for which he received the prestigious Grimme Award. He was soon cast as the lead in the adapted mini-series, GLADBECK by Kilian Riedhoff, for which he received the German Television Award as Best Actor.In 2018, Albrechtcould be seen in Christian Schwochow’s highly acclaimed mini-series, BAD BANKS, with his performance garnering the Best Supporting Actor award handed out by the German Academy of Television. His next lead role- in the film adaptation of KRUSO- won him both the German Television Award as Best Actor and the Golden Camera as Best German Actor. His standout leading performance in Nora Fingscheidt’s SYSTEM CRASHER (Berlinale Silver Bear 2019) and in a supporting role in Burhan Qurbani’s BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ won him German Film Awards in the two main acting categories in the same year – a first time feat for a German actor. His upcoming projects include FABIANdirected by Dominik Graf, LIEBER THOMAS (AT)by Andreas Kleinert and SCHACHNOVELLE by Philipp Stölz. He is currently in production on the SKY TV series, PARADISO, by David Dietl and Barbara Albert.
Natasa Stork / Hungary
Natasa Stork, born in Budapest,has spent her acting career with one foot firmly placed inthe theater world and one in film. After completing her studies at the University of Theatre and Film in 2008, she joined the Hungarian National Theatre Company. During her two years with the classical theater company, she continued to act in independent, experimental work both on stage and screen. In 2010, Natasa was granted a one-year EU Scholarship to study dance in Amsterdam, anotherof her passions. She followed this up with performances on stage for innovativecompanies such as Krétakör led by Árpád Schilling and Kornél Mundruczó’s Proton Theater as well as in international theater projects including ONE LAND MANY FACES (Carreau Du Tample, Paris, 2015), THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS (Hamburg, 2017), and DIE UNSCHEINBAREN (Luzerner Theater, Luzern, 2019). Parrallel to her on-going theatre work,Natasa was cast in HEAVENLY SHIFT (by Márk Bodzsár, 2013) which was awardedBest Film at the International Film Festival Portoand in 2014, in WHITE GOD (by Kornél Mundruczó) which won the main prize in Un Certain Regard that same year. In 2020, she was cast in her first leading role in a feature film, Lili Horvát’s PREPARATIONS TO BE TOGETHER FOR AN UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME. The film has won top awards at several international film festivals and her performance received Best Actress awards at the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, the Les Arcs Film Festival and the Valladolid International Film Festival.
Fionn O’Shea / Ireland
Born in Dublin, Fionn O’Shea first captured the industry’s attention at 11 years old when he starred in Steph Green’s 2009 short New Boy, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Fionn, one of Screen Internationals ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ 2017 has carefully chosen roles in critically acclaimed projects and continues to position himself as one of the industry’s most exciting young actors. In 2016, Fionn took on his first leading role in a feature, opposite Andrew Scott in John Butler’s highly commended Handsome Devil, for which his performance received two Irish Film & Television Award nominations; ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Rising Star.’ Most recently he has starred in the lead role of ‘Eddie’ in critically acclaimed Dating Amber, written and directed by David Freyne, as well as ‘Jamie’ in Lenny Abrahamson’s adaptation of Normal People for BBC/HULU. Fionn has just wrapped on Nathalie Biancheri’s Wolf with George MacKay and Lily-Rose Depp, and will next appear in Cherry, directed by The Russo Brothers and starring Tom Holland, which is slated for release early 2021. He has also appeared in films such as The Siege of Jadotville alongside Jamie Dornan, and The Aftermath, starring Keira Knightley.
Žygimantė Elena Jakštaitė/ Lithuania
Žygimantė Elena Jakštaitė, born in Kaunas, Lithuania, has captured the attention of the industry and public as an exciting, emerging acting talent on the stage and screen in Lithuania. She studied acting at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and is a skilled musician on the violinas well as a trained singer (mezzo-soprano). On stage, Žygimantė’s theatre credits are noteable, exceedingmore than 20 roles, including DURYS (Jo Strogmen, Norway) at the National Theatre of Lithuania and VESTUVĖS (OskarasKoršunovas, Lithuania) at the Vilnius City Theatre. After firmly establishing her credentials in the theater world, Žygimantė leaped enthusiastically into a parallel career in film in 2017, which was launched with supporting roles in both short and feature films. She recently won her first leading role in the upcoming Lithuanian – Czech featureco-production, RUNNER by Andrius Blaževičius. Blaževičius’previous film, The Saint,was nominated in eleven categories for the Lithuanian Film Awards, winning in six, and has won jury awards at various prestigious film festivals around the globe. RUNNER will be released in 2021.
Martijn Lakemeier has the distinction of being the youngest winner of a Golden Calf Award for Best Actor. He received the prestigious Dutch film award for his acting debut in WINTER IN WARTIME (Shortlist Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film, 2010). For the same role, he also won the Dutch audience award (Rembrandt Award). Since then, Martijn has landed roles in several successful Dutch films and TV series, such as the multiple award-winning THE MARATHON (2012), THE SECRETS OF BARSLET (2012), IT’S ALL SO QUIET (2013), VENTOUX (2015), YES I DO (2015), ADIOS AMIGOS (2016) and SKÓGAFOSS (2017). In the Netherlands, he is well-known for his role in the most critically acclaimed Dutch TV series in years, DUTCH HOPE, which won the Golden Calf for Best TV Series and was the Dutch entry for the International Emmy Awards in 2015. He played in the French film TOUT LÀ-HAUT opposite French star Kev Adams and had a guest role on the web-series BLACKPILLS, produced by Bryan Singer and Luc Besson, and directed by Mateo Guez. Next up is DOODSTIL, directed by Willem Gerritsen and THE EAST directed by Jim Taihuttu, in which he is cast in the lead opposite Marwan Kenzari.
Sara Klimoska / North Macedonia
Born in North Macedonia, Sara Klimoska trained at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje and has successfully straddled the worlds of theatre and film on a national and international level. Her most recent role is in the film, YOU WON’T BE ALONE, directed by Goran Stolevski, produced by Causeway Films, co-produced and to be distributed by Focus Features in 2021. In the film, she plays the leading role alongside Anamaria Marinca, Noomi Repace, Felix Maritaud, Alice Englert and Carloto Cotta. Prior to that, and working with the same director, Sara played the lead in WOULDYOU LOOK AT HER which won the Jury Prize for Best International Short at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. In 2019, she was cast in the lead role in WILLOW by Academy Award nominated director, Milcho Manchevski. Among other honors, WILLOW was inFeature Film Selectionat the European Film Awards. Sara’s recent roles inlcude a supporting role in the German feature film NICO directed by Eline Gehring, and the leading roles in two upcoming productions: SABATIER EFFECT by Eleonora Veninova and the feature debut by director igor Aleksov, LENA AND VLADIMIR. Both films are scheduled for a 2021 release. In 2020, Sara was honored with the Best Film Actress Award in North Macedonia, handed out by the Macedonian Society of Filmmakers – an award near and dear to her heart.
Alba Baptista / Portugal
Alba Baptista, born in Lisbon, Portual, is a Portuguese-Brazilian actress. She began her career at the tender age of 16, as the main character in Simão Cayatte’s short film MIAMI. For her performance in the film, she received the Best Actress Award at the Festival Ibérico de Ciné. She followed this up with roles in three Portuguese TV series as well as with a noteable cinema career. She has been cast in films such as Caminhos Magnétykos by Edgar Pêra; Equinócio by Ivo Ferreira; Marco Pontecorvo’s Fatima opposite Harvey Keitel, Sônia Braga and Joanna Ribeiro;and in Gonçalo Waddington’s feature directorial debut, Patrick, which premiered In Competition at the San Sebastián Film Festival. In2020, Alba was cast as the lead in the Netflix series, “Warrior Nun”, her first fully English speaking role. Her performance has garnered international acclaim, and the series has recently been renewed for a second season. On the feature film front, Alba is currently filming a leading role opposite Isabelle Huppert and Lesley Manville in the adapation of the much-loved novel by Paul Gallico, MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS directed Anthony Fabian. To round out her exciting year, Alba made the list of IMDb’s Top 10 Breakout Stars of 2020.
Gustav Lindh / Sweden
Gustav Lindh, born in Västerås, Sweden, is one of the brightest stars of the Nordic feature film and TV world. Despite his young age, Gustav has an impressive resume and has managed to work with some of the most renowned creators in Scandinavia. During his training at the Dramatic School of Arts in Lund, Gustav took part in internationally acclaimed productions such as THE CIRCLE (Levan Akin, 2015), the TV series JORDSKOTTand SPRINGFLODEN andthe miniseries, DE DAGAR SOM BLOMMORNA BLOMMAR. In 2019, hedrew attention for his raw and heart-breaking portrayal of the troubled teenager in QUEEN OF HEARTS. The film, directed by May el-Toukhy, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 and took the cinematic world by storm. For this role, Lindh was awarded Winner of the Young Competition at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the prestigious Bodil award, the Danish Golden Globe. Being one of the most prolific actors of his generation, Gustav can currently be seen in two seasons of the Viaplay TV series LOVE ME and in the feature films ORCA, directed by Josephine Bornebusch and RIDERS OF JUSTICE, directed by Anders Thomas Jensen. He is currently in Belfast, shooting Robert Eggers’ THE NORTHMEN, starring opposite Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård.