THE MFA Planet Europe short film festival drew to a spectacular close in Palma last night, but not after budding actors and actresses had attended a workshop given by one of the world's leading acting coaches.

Fresh from Hollywood, Bernie Hiller, whose “students” include Cameron Diaz, Dustin Hoffman and Richard Dreyfuss, said yesterday that the secret to developing a good actor or actress is to “find their talent and dig it out. “We've all got talent, but it's like oil, you've got to find it and dig it out,” he said. “The more you dig, the more you find and then you have to have courage. Lots of courage to want to see just how far you can go as an actor. “The question is not how much talent people have, it's how far they are prepared to go - that's what makes the difference between good and bad actors,” Hiller said.

However, he also said that one of the big differences between European and US actors is that in the US they take it more seriously and are constantly learning. “Hoffman still has an acting coach, so does De Niro, all the top actors and actresses are still taking classes, in Europe this philosophy is only now catching on. I've been working in Paris, London and Rome with the likes of Binoche, Day Lewis, Rush and they are taking it seriously. Bardem has an acting coach and, in the States, to us that shows they take their work seriously. On the whole, British actors are always well trained, but the rest of Europe has to change its approach,” he said. “For me, the best actors and actresses around now are the likes of Depp, Pacino, de Niro and Streep and everywhere you go in the world, they are famous, people love these actors across the globe, why? Because they're great actors who take what they do extremely seriously and have the courage to see just how far they can go,” he added. “Charlize Theron takes her acting classes so seriously that even when she's on set, she uses her lunch breaks to prepare for her next class,” Hiller said.

Hiller was responsible for judging the best actor/actress at this year's film festival. “The director of the event (Philip Rogan) invited me to come and, as I love impossible challenges, I gladly accepted in order to try and give Philip as much help in his mission impossible as possible. “I've seen the five shorts in the final and I've been very impressed by the quality of the productions and the acting.” Hiller presented Antonio Naharro (Invulnerable) with the Best Actor prize last night.
British award-winning documentary and reality tv maker Simon Davis also held a workshop at the Auditorium yesterday.
Davis was the judge responsible for the documentary shorts and has given a number of workshops during the five-day festival which started last Tuesday.

The Director General for Tourism Promotion, Eduardo Gamero presented Ken Wardrop (Ireland) with the award for Best Documentary.
The Balearic Minister for Education and Culture, Francesc Fiol handed over the award for Best Fiction short to Alvaro Pastor (Spain) for Invulnerable while the Best Animation award was handed to Jan Turing (Germany) for Das Floss. This year's second edition, with Irish actor Colm Meaney the special guest, of the festival has been a huge success with all the screenings and workshops completely full and attended by budding film makers, actors and actresses of all nationalities.


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