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Tale of Chechen refugees in Austria with amateur cast screens in Berlin film fest competition

Actor Ramasan Minkailov attends a news conference for the film Macondo during the International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

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Actor Ramasan Minkailov attends a news conference for the film Macondo during the International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN - A movie with an amateur cast about a Chechen boy growing up between two cultures in a tough Vienna neighbourhood is screening at the Berlin International Film Festival as the jury prepares to choose this year's winner.

Director Subadeh Mortezai's "Macondo" screened Friday. It stars 11-year-old Ramasan Minkailov as a boy whose family is seeking asylum in Austria after his father was killed in Chechnya, while his mother struggles to make ends meet in an unfamiliar society.

Mortezai said she wanted to approach immigration and integration from a different perspective and show Austrian society from the point of view of outsiders — in which "the fringe is the centre."

"Macondo" is one of 20 contenders for Berlin's top Golden Bear award. An eight-member jury will announce the winner Saturday.

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