We're all Africans, says Berlin film jury head Meryl Streep

She made the comment at a press conference when she was asked if she was familiar with world cinema.

US actress and Jury President Meryl Streep. Picture: EPA/KAY NIERTFELD.

BERLIN - Meryl Streep said on Thursday that she relished the opportunity to head up her first international film jury in Berlin because it is a festival of world cinema and because all of humanity originated in Africa.

Streep, serving for the first time on a film jury, made the comment at a press conference when she was asked if she was familiar with world cinema, and particularly films from Africa and the Middle East.

She said she had recently seen the Jordanian film Theeb about a Bedouin boy on a hazardous mission in the desert, and also the film Timbuktu about Islamist militants taking over the fabled Malian city.

"The thing that I notice is that there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture and after all we're all from Africa originally, you know we're all Berliners, we're all Africans, really," she said.

Noting that her seven-member, majority female jury included a film critic and a photographer as well as actors and actresses, she said the panel would have diverse viewpoints.

"We will be looking at different things in these films but we're human beings and film is an emotional experience so ... we're going to make these decisions based on what our heads want to say.

"But we're first attacked by the heart, so that's an interesting process. I'm so looking forward to it."

She also said it was a credit to the Berlinale that the majority of the competition jury is women.

"There should be inclusion and this jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury and that's an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions," she said.

"So I think that the Berlinale is ahead of the game," she added.