Art and Experience: Chilean coming-of-age movie ‘The Plants’ takes the runner-up grand prize of Berlin’s Generation sidebar, which focuses on children and youth films.

A pair of international directors to watch got a career boost at the Berlin Film Festival Feb. 19 when Latvia’s Renars Vimba and Chilean helmer Roberto Doveris got the nod at the Crystal Bear awards, which honors films in Berlin’s children and youth film section Generation.

Vimba’s directorial debut, Mellow Mud, a coming-of-age drama focusing on the sexual awakenings of teenage girl, won the Crystal Bear for best film in the Generation 14plus sidebar. Roberto Doveris’ The Plants, a darker tale of teen sexuality, set in modern-day Chile, received the runner-up Grand Jury prize.

Both films have been critical hits in Berlin, with reviewers highlighting the delicate balance Vimba and Doveris achieved between sensitivity and shock.

Yet another coming-of-age drama, the Bulgarian-language Zhaleika, from Berlin-based filmmaker Eliza Petkova, received a special mention from the Crystal Bear jury.

The main prizes at the Berlin festival will be handed out Feb. 20.