The Berlin International Film Festival on Thursday announced 15 films that are part of this year's competition and will compete for the top Golden and Silver Bear awards. The festival is taking place in a sized-down, more virtual form due to the pandemic.

A 15-title competition lineup including ‘A Ballad for the White Cow’ codirected by Behtash Sanaeeha and Maryam Moghaddam has been unveiled for the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival.

Sanaeeha’s second feature film, made in two languages of Persian and French, will be running in the main competition section of the 71st Berlin International Film Festival.

Produced by Qolamreza Mousavi, ‘A Ballad for the White Cow’ features Moghaddam and Sanaeeha as well as Pouriya Rahimi-Sam in the lead roles. 

Exploring themes of guilt and atonement, the film follows a woman whose husband has been unjustly executed in contemporary Iran.

Actor Daniel Bruhl’s directorial debut and new titles from Radu Jude, Celine Sciamma, Hong Sangsoo and Xavier Beauvois are among the 15 competition titles in the Berlin Film Festival, all of which were revealed Thursday.

Five of the titles are from female filmmakers (some of whom are co-directors on titles), on par with last year’s competition, when six of the 18 competition titles were helmed by women.

The festival also revealed the 11 titles in the Berlinale Special strand.

The festival’s 71st edition will take place in two stages. Industry platforms European Film Market, Berlinale Co-Production Market, Berlinale Talents and the World Cinema Fund will be online March 1-5. Meanwhile, June 9-20 will see a physical summer public event, pandemic permitting.